Columbia Heights, Minnesota
By Gabe Hewitt, iLander Student Editor
Columbia Heights youth are learning what it’s like to own a small business before they even get a college degree.
Third through sixth graders in Adventure Club have recently been growing crops in Blooming Heights garden and selling them at a farmers market held at Crestview every Monday.
Ty Nagamatsu is coordinating this project. She’s a member of Minnesota Green Corps, a program through AmeriCorps and whose main goal is to preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of people concerned about the environment.
Outside of this project, Nagamatsu is the overall manager of Blooming Heights and designs the growing beds and works with teachers during the school year to help incorporate the garden into curriculum.
“I wanted to get involved with something environmental,” she said. “It’s the best job ever.”
This project has kids developing a business plan of what they want to grow in the garden and how much they want to sell it for at the farmers market. Crops grown include carrots, turnips, beets and onions. When the crops are grown, the kids harvest them, put them into a wagon and walk over to Crestview on Mondays to sell them.
Any profit made from selling the crops goes directly back to managing Blooming Heights. In the process, kids learn entrepreneurial and business skills.
“They learn the essential things needed for starting a small business,” Nagamatsu said.
The project will be going on for the rest of the summer until Adventure Club is finished. Any crops left over will be donated to Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) in Columbia Heights.
(File Photo: Blooming Heights on a summer day. Photo by Adam Saputra.)