The Growing Experience
What do two SGAers do when they have time on their hands? They start a nonprofit using community-based social marketing (CBSM). Say hello to Appleseed!
Philip Kao, Adam Quinn and pediatrician Ruth Chiang Kao founded Appleseed, a nonprofit with SGA roots that aims to inspire the choices and actions that matter most for the future of our children and planet. They’re doing this through projects that improve nutrition and agricultural sustainability.
Their first project brought them to The Growing Experience farm in the Carmelitos housing development. Once an abandoned field of sod, The Growing Experience is now an urban farm operated by Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles. The farm was facing a particular problem: minimal participation in their fresh fruit and vegetable programs from the surrounding community.
Appleseed saw the potential of this farm, along with its untapped benefits for the community, and suggested a solution: CBSM! Using the tried-and-true methods of CBSM, Appleseed gained insights from residents of the housing development and quickly realized that residents felt that the garden wasn’t theirs. Not only that, but the concept of sustainable food felt foreign to them. Learning this, the Appleseed crew immediately set out to bridge these gaps by planning and organizing an event that would A) give residents a chance to connect with their local farm and its farmers, Jimmy and Holly and B) signify to residents in this community that this garden was open—for them!
The very first annual Community Cook-Off event was held at The Growing Experience and was a great success. Six residents participated in a cook-off competition, where they prepared delicious dishes using fresh vegetables from the garden. An amazing turnout of over 60 guests and kids came to visit the garden for the first time, where they tasted and voted for their personal favorites in the competition. An awesome community member, Purpose, volunteered to MC and DJ the entire event. Did we mention there was a talent show for the kids?
With stomachs full and new relationships formed, the event came to a close with an air of excitement for next year’s cook-off. And just recently, Appleseed received word from farmer Holly that a number of the cook-off guests had begun stopping by the garden to pick up their fruits and vegetables! If success was a picture, I think it would look something like this:
For an inside look into the event, check out:
Bravo, Appleseed! To follow Appleseed’s progress and hear about their upcoming project in Guatemala, subscribe to their monthly newsletter at www.appleseedimpact.org.