In the News

Contact:Sylvester Brown, Jr.
Phone: 314.341-4071
sylvesterbj@gmail.com

The Steward Family Foundation and the World Wide Technology Foundation donate $50,000 to the Sweet Potato Project
wwtlogo-color-low

ST. LOUIS-Thanks to a combine $50,000 donation from the Steward Family Foundation and World Wide Technology Foundation, the Sweet Potato Project will start its summer youth program as scheduled.

World Wide Technology (WWT), founded by David Steward, is a global technology solution provider, with more than $9 billion in annual revenues, according to Fortune Magazine.

The Sweet Potato Project was co-founded by local journalist, Sylvester Brown, Jr. and the North Area Community Development Corporation in 2012. Each year, the program recruits at-risk youth (ages 16-21) to plant sweet potatoes on vacant and community lots. Students receive a 10-week summer job, where they learn horticulture, financial literacy, marketing, branding, sales, product development and distribution. At the end of the summer program, students earn commissions on sales of their product (at this time sweet potato cookies).

Brown, director of the Sweet Potato Project, said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Funding from our traditional sources have decreased significantly during the past two year. Last year we had to cut back on the number of students we serve and the services we offer. Thanks to the donation from the Steward Family and World Wide Technical Foundations, we have real chance of employing at least 25 young people and expanding our economic enhancement initiatives.”

This year, SPP has stepped up its outreach by inviting residents, churches, and community organizations to grow produce that it will buy in the fall.  The long-term mission of the program is to create a food-based economic engine in North St. Louis that includes growing, packaging and distributing fresh food and food-based products from disadvantaged areas in the region.

“Educating and inspiring a generation of young, urban farmers is our main goal but creating food-based jobs and small businesses in North St. Louis is our greater mission,” Brown added. “The donation from World Wide Technology and the Steward Family Foundation will help make our dreams a reality.”

For more information about the Sweet Potato Project visit our website at: sweetpotatoprojectstl.org or call 314-341-4071

***************************************************************

Sweet Potato Project by the Village Celebration

Nov. 19, 2013

banks video clip

 

 

 

Video created by Sheila Banks with the Village Celebration, an online magazine dedicated to reporting stories that highlight the rich tradition of triumph, perseverance, and faith of African-Americans.

***************************************************************
Nov. 4, 2013
PRESS RELEASE

Amvets Donate $1,000 to the Sweet Potato Project

(l-to-r) Herman Noah, NACDC board member, James McKay, Commander Amvets Post #67, James Whitfield, 1st vice commander Amvets Post #67

(l-to-r) Herman Noah, NACDC board member, James McKay, Commander Amvets Post #67, James Whitfield, 1st vice commander Amvets Post #67

ST. LOUIS-The members of Amvets (or Amer¬i¬can Vet¬er¬ans) Post #67 at 5022 San Francisco Ave in North St. Louis, voted to donate $1,000 to the Sweet Potato Project. Post member, Jay Hudson is also on the board of the North Area Community Development Corporation (NACDC)-the agency that operates the Sweet Potato Project. Hudson brought the project to the attention of fellow Amvets members.

***************************************************************

October 7, 2013

Sweet Potato Project to Partner with Saint Louis University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics

SLU Logo

ST. LOUIS – Thanks to a unique partnership with Saint Louis University’s nationally recognized department of nutrition and dietetics, disadvantaged students with the Sweet Potato Project will have an opportunity to receive entrepreneurial tutoring while meeting their goal of producing and distributing a food-based product (sweet potato cookies) made from the sweet potatoes they’ve planted in the summer.

Chef Steve Jenkins greets Sweet Potato Project youth

Chef Steve Jenkins greets Sweet Potato Project youth

Youth in the Salus Center kitchen preparing batches of sweet potato cookies

Youth in the Salus Center kitchen preparing batches of sweet potato cookies

in the kitchen #6

 

 

 

 

“This partnership is a God-send,” said Brown. “It presents a wonderful opportunity for our young people to learn the business side of preparing, packaging and distributing their products. Because Chef Steve is already teaching culinary business skills, product development, packaging and distribution in public schools, we can in essence jump two or three years ahead of our education and production goals.

For more information on SLU’s nutrition and dietetics curriculum, as well as its community programs, visit the department’s Web site at nd.slu.edu, or call 314. 977.8523. 

 

************************************************

Aug. 30th NPR Interview by Erin Williams

Aug. 30, 2013 NPR Interview by Erin Williams
photo by Erin Williams

photo by Erin Williams

Sweet Potato Project Seeks To Create Community In St. Louis From The Ground Up

NPR photo #4Being an entrepreneur takes more than just having what you think is a “good product.” It takes marketing, development, being social, and most importantly, mentorship. And, you have to be willing to build it from the ground up. But where do you start? For Sylvester Brown, you go with something that’s plain and simple: sweet potatoes.

“Sweet potatoes, I’ve eaten them all my life. Once I found out that the sweet potato is related to the yam, which comes from Africa, I thought ‘Oh, here’s a nice cultural tidbit that I can help the kids also – I can drop in some history. Where they came from, their legacy, what they’re about,” he says.

Partnering, planting and cookies

photo by Erin Williams

Follow Erin Williams on Twitter: @STLPR_Erin

***************************************

Sylvester Brown changing lives with the Sweet Potato Project

Jul 16, 2013

Click here to watch video

KSDK News reporter Art Holliday on the Sweet POtato Project

KSDK News reporter Art Holliday on the Sweet POtato Project

 

By Art Holliday

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Sylvester Brown grew up on mean streets of north St. Louis, neighborhoods where drug dealing is often the definition of being an entrepreneur. 

Click here for KSDK Sweet Potato Project photo gallery

KSDK photo #2

********************

Spuds, a way to keep kids off the streets

By Dale Hart, Beacon intern / June 24, 2013

spp kids -Athlone lotA slightly more unconventional role for the sweet potato these days is keeping kids off the streets.

The Sweet Potato Project, an entrepreneurial effort at community reform headed by Sylvester Brown and the North Area Community Development Corporation aims to do just that.

READ MORE/CLICK HERE

****************************************************************************************************

A Plea to My People

St. Louis American (Commentary)
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 8:53 pm

Cookie Day #2St. Louis’ violent crime rate is 332 percent higher than the national average. Homicides in the city have seen a 36.4 percent increase in one year. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 out of 10 homicides involve black youth. Of those killed, half are black males under the age of 30.

Every year, more than 300,000 school-age children across the nation, mostly black and brown, are introduced to the criminal justice system by way of “zero tolerance” policies. In Missouri, almost 50,000 youth are retained every year in some sort of correctional setting.

READ MORE/CLICK HERE