urban farming

#BoysGrow teaches urban youth entrepreneurship through farming


BoysGrow, a mentoring program that teaches urban Kansas City boys entrepreneurship through hands-on agriculture, isn’t successful based on what the teens harvest, John Gordon Jr. said.

It’s all about the soft skills they learn on the South Kansas City farm.

“These boys are young,” said Gordon, founder of BoysGrow, noting the two-year program accepts students when they’re 14. “Our main job is to create a better work ethic before they leave. We’re a nonprofit and we run a functional farm. But working on the farm and getting stuff done here isn’t the main thing we’re trying to accomplish.”

BoysGrow strives to teach such skills as communication, courtesy, flexibility, integrity, positive attitude, professionalism, responsibility and teamwork through two classes of 15 to 20 teens each.

Teens who are accepted into the program are bussed to the 10-acre plot from downtown, which is about a 25-minute trip, Gordon said.

“The young guys come out here and work, and get paid,” he said. “They learn about entrepreneurism through selling produce and creating products for local restaurants.”

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