Urgent Evoke

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I'm still thinking about those sack gardens - and how they could transform poverty, or at least the quality of life, in any community. There is a church that provides meals to the homeless in a very down and out part of the area I live in. Every time I am in that kitchen, I think about how it could be transformed to a wh*** new level. I envision the kitchen becoming a cafe - with very limited hours and specific functions.

First off, I would modernize the kitchen to meet health department approval and add commercial refrigeration and equipment (on a small scale). I would then enroll volunteers to get it off the ground. The target audience would be the corporate buildings that are in close proximity to the area. The little non-profit kitchen would cater to business meetings by providing healthy soups, sandwiches and salads. The funds would go to maintain the kitchen, build credibility and lauch into the second phase.

Meanwhile, the cafe would also be supporting a second function - a "mothers lunch" with supervised play-care. This would occur on a single day of the week. The target audience would be the disadvantaged & poor mothers, many of them immigrants, who live in the area. This outreach would provide a healthy meal and support and the opportunity to connect with services in a non threatening way. The community has programs like "English as a second language" - but the women are often chained to the home because of the lack of childcare & social mores. The church setting (there are hispanic services there on Sunday nights) would encourage participation.

So what does this have to do with those sacks? The second part of the plan has always been to grow sufficient to a point where the cafe could hire women from the community on a part time basis. This would provide additional income to the family and playcare would be provided on site. Contracting women in the neighborhood to provide seasonal produce grown in a sack garden along side one for their own family would benefit both the cafe and the people we would seek to serve.

Our corporate customers would know that they were spending their lunch money on fabulous food that was grown and produced locally and contributing to the greater welfare of the community. The cafe would also serve the needs of the church members and encourage volunteerism.

I already make soaps and candles and have sold them local shops. I have also provided these things for fundraising. A third opportunity in this micro-enterprise would be to expand and add these products as well. At this point in development, additional funds would be needed to purchase supplies and set up the additional space (which is available).

Ultimately, my vision is a vibrant micro-enterprise that allows disadvantaged women and the homeless to work as day labor as needed. This will take away the stress of commitment that neither segment can maintain and yet open the possibilty for deeper involvement in the company. The sack gardens could be a ongoing outreach and provided at little to no cost. (corporate support?)

I have been kicking parts of this around for a while now. . . Urgent Evoke has shaken it awake again!

Views: 37

Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 10, 2010 at 2:39am
This is a very exciting idea, Linda. Have you done any research to see if there are projects like this already in existence?
Comment by Linda Holt on March 10, 2010 at 3:05am
Thanks, Ayala and yes, I've researched many of the facets and even have elements of the opportunity on paper. My soap company is named "Chrysalis Market" because I want to make a difference in helping to transform peoples lives into what they're meant to be. To empower them to have choices. I've been hesitating to do the 2020 Imagine part of the first mission, but I guess this is it, isn't it?
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 10, 2010 at 3:08am
yes it is! and i have to say -- nothing you've outlined so far seems outside the realm of the truly possible. i have a couple of possible links in mind for you. I'll be in touch soon...
Comment by Paul Holze on March 13, 2010 at 3:44pm
Great initiative
Comment by PJE on March 22, 2010 at 1:34pm
This is great stuff, I remember reading about a café somewhere in Scotland that does something like this. It provides fabulous organic food and most of the people who work there have learning disabilities and have great difficulty finding work elsewhere. They are trained there and provide a great service and great food.
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on March 22, 2010 at 2:08pm
+1 Entreprenureship Agent Holt. I am happy to help with put together a business plan if you like?
Comment by Linda Holt on March 22, 2010 at 3:55pm
Thank you, PJE & Shakwei! I am meeting with the community center and the pastor of the church tomorrow! I will blog about the results. . . I am going equipped with the excellent information I have found researching for Evoke and from my fellow Evoke agents.
Comment by PJE on March 23, 2010 at 9:49pm
I hope it went well
Comment by Linda Holt on March 24, 2010 at 12:14am
The meeting went VERY well, thank you! I'll make a short post about it.
Comment by The Garden Earth Project on March 24, 2010 at 4:55pm
I love your ideas! They are very inspiring!

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