I GREW UP IN THE INNER CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS.
When I graduated from high school, I left Minneapolis for the first time to attend Georgetown University in Washington D.C. What a culture shock! The majority of the school was white, the coursework was hard, and my fellow students were wealthy.
The perception of my world back home began to change. I learned about marginalization, racial and educational disparities, food deserts, and the poor health outcomes found in the inner city – communities like the one in which I grew up.
GROWING UP, WE ATE FAST FOOD EVERYDAY BECAUSE IT WAS CONVENIENT; IT TASTED GOOD AND IT WAS CHEAP.
This stood in stark contrast to the eating habits of the students at Georgetown and I envied them. This motivated me to improve my own health through exercising and forming new, healthy habits.
Even as my own diet improved, I continued to think about the Minneapolis community I came from and the lack of access to fresh produce and the poor health rates found there.
SO I CAME UP WITH AN IDEA.
I would start a non-profit that would work to improve nutrition in underdeveloped communities in Minneapolis. To start, I began making popsicles - a fun and creative snack that I hoped would encourage kids to eat healthier.
Popsicles are typically associated with sugar and artificial ingredients. But the popsicles I made consisted of only coconut water, coconut sugar, blackberries, and mint. They were new to the community, but to my amazement, everyone loved them!
PARTNERING WITH URBAN VENTURES.
I knew I had a great idea, but as a young entrepreneur I wasn’t sure where to go or how to market my product. But I soon connected with Urban Ventures and they gave me the opportunity to sell my popsicles at their CityKid Mobile Farmers Market.
CITY KID'S MISSION IS TO BUILD A THRIVING AND HEALTHY COMMUNITY – SO THE PARTNERSHIP WAS A PERFECT FIT!
Their Mobile Farmers Market sells fresh produce at an affordable price in neighborhoods where it’s hard to find. I would accompany them and sell all flavors of popsicles – Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry Hibiscus, even Cinnabon!
URBAN VENTURES' SUPPORT HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE.
Partnering with Urban Ventures allowed me to grow my non-profit and leverage my impact in the community. Through selling popsicles on the Mobile Farmers Market, I’ve had the opportunity to tap into Urban Ventures’ expertise and established customer base of community members looking to improve their diet and health.
The partnership has made me realize we’re able to make a much greater impact when we work together.
DREAMING OF CHANGE.
As an entrepreneur, Urban Ventures support and encouragement has motivated me to become the best leader I can for my community. I’m excited to return to Minneapolis and continue this work after I graduate from Georgetown.
Though I grew up eating unhealthy, reflective of the poor health of my neighborhood as a whole, today I am different and empowered; I know I’m capable of making an impact
DESPITE THE CHALLENGES, I’M DREAMING OF A TRANSFORMED COMMUNITY FILLED WITH THRIVING, HEALTHY FAMILIES.
I can already see change taking place and I know this is just the beginning of a hopeful new chapter in my community’s story.