In 2020, the Sweet Potato Project was temporarily put on hold. We realize the program has grown beyond our meager capabilities and seek to partner with a larger institution to enact our vision of complete urban entrepreneurial training, land-ownership and providing the resources so people cam own, grow food and take their food and products to market. What follows are the components of vision:
The mission of the Sweet Potato Project is to restore economic activity in North St. Louis by creating alternative and progressive ways of producing and distributing locally grown products and to teach young men and women sustainable business and entrepreneurial skills that can change their lives.
For nine years, the Sweet Potato Project recruited young men and women from the North St. Louis community to be part of the year-long project with a strong focus on agriculture, marketing, sales, and self-sustainability. Students (ages 16-to-21) were charged with creating a business plan for turning the summer produce into a product that could be sold.
The Sweet Potato Project not only promoted healthy lifestyles through growing and selling locally raised produce it focused on revitalizing underserved neighborhoods. The Sweet Potato Project still serves as a template for expanded community-wide economic development in urban neighborhoods throughout the state. Read more about the future of the project.
In the summer of 2012, the North Area Community Development Corporation and When We Dream Together introduced the Sweet Potato Project. Journalist and community activist, Sylvester Brown, Jr. was the visionary behind the project that was founded to address two significant needs: 1: young men and women in North St. Louis need an opportunity to earn money and gain job training through legal work; and 2: The neighborhoods in North St. Louis need to become a more self-sustainable community. Read more about the history of the project.