BoysGrow gives youth farm, entrepreneurial experience

By Joseph Hennessy

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) -- A non-profit farm is helping kids gain relationships while teaching them to be an entrepreneur on a farm in south Kansas City.

The organization, BoysGrow, pays teenagers to work with their hands as a team to help the farm, and themselves, grow.

Program Director Tariq Nash said, “If they want to make the world a better place, they first have to start with themselves and then gradually move up in their community.”

They farm, cook, explore, and work as a team on the 10-acre lot. It has expanded from three acres when the organization first began more than 10 years ago.

Executive Director John Gordon Jr. said, “Farming side of it is very important, the construction side is very important, and the culinary side is very important but at the end of the day they’re just vehicles to create relationships.”

Nash is the program director now years after being one of the boys hired in 2012. He said he was exposed to new skills and friendships when he started working back then.

“I was an inside kid so this brought me out of my inside shell. Kind of forced me to be one with nature,” he said.

BoysGrow picks the teenagers up in downtown Kansas City and heads around 30 minutes south to the farm on East 147th Street.

They harvest, package, and pitch their creations to buyers. So far six BoysGrow products are on shelves in KC area grocery stores.

“Success is definitely hard to measure in the non-profit world. There are metrics and measurables that everyone uses but at the end of the day I think it’s more about relationships,” said Gordon Jr.

Nash wants everyone to feel welcome just like he did years ago.

“A lot of the time, that’s all they need is really just a conversation,” he said. “Someone that can relate with them, someone that can understand them.”

They want the organization to continue growing – just like the seeds do every summer.

“Five, six years down the road the goal is for all of the kids that went through the program to be the program director, the executive director, the chef, and the farmer. So have this program literally be handed to the generation that helped create it, really,” said Gordon.

They recruit charter and public-school students and individuals seen at community centers.

We have a link available HERE if you want to learn more information about the farm and its application process.

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