Urban Farming and Youth

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, is a unique nonprofit that operates out of East Oakland, California to engage inner-city youth in urban farming. They use GrantWatch.com to search for grants in order to continue their programming. If you are a similar nonprofit, check out some of the following categories at GrantWatch.com: Farming/AgricultureYouth/Out-of-School Youth and Quality of Life.

Kelly Carlisle, Founder and Executive Director, has been operating Acta Non Verba (ANV) since 2010. She told me that similar programs in other states can learn a thing or two from her. She advises them to emphasize community engagement. “I learned early on that there were not enough community members engaged in the work. In the past 5 years, we made huge strides to have an intentional effort to involve the community in our programs,” said Kelly.

The target community for the operations of ANV are folks living in what is known as “deep” Oakland, California; particularly, children ages 5 -13. The nonprofit’s mission is to enhance the understanding of nutrition, food production, and healthy living among children and strengthen their connection to the community.

Photo by Pete Rosos

ANV organizes camps, after-school programs, and monthly farm days to teach safe husbandry and harvesting. In this way, youth will learn how to eat healthy meals at home. With help from the children, all produce is sold to local restaurants and through their Community Supported Agriculture program. All proceeds go into an educational savings account for them.

ANV is a unique program that shows children the value of hard work and healthy eating. Kelly loves that the children take home these values. In fact, she says “While working with children, you have to work with families. The impact will then be greater.” By including parents, as volunteers for field and camping trips, Kelly involves the whole family in ANV.

Kelly says ANV doesn’t compare itself to any nonprofit, but itself. The bar is raised by the success of the previous day. “We are striving to be better, ourselves,” says Kelly. In addition to the camps, after-school programs, and monthly farm days, ANV hosts a food pantry and wellness event every year. For these programs, ANV requires funding.

ANV is a MemberPlus+ at GrantWatch.com and uses the website to search for grants. Kelly likes that the grants are sorted between states and by interest. She also finds the weekly reminder emails with lists of grants in her state very helpful. “It’s exciting to see the list of new grants that have been added,” says Kelly.

ANV first narrowed down 4-5 grants of interest from GrantWatch.com and under the advisement of a development consultant, applied to 2. They are in the process of waiting to hear back from the funding sources and we here at GrantWatch wish them good luck! 

Kelly went on to say that all of her programs could benefit from crowdfunding, a new online form of fundraising.

Remember, GrantWatch.com has a sister-site called UHelp.com where any nonprofit or small business can start a crowdfunding campaign. It requires dedicated time and hard work to have a successful campaign. Read about it in our previous article, Why Nonprofits are Perfect for UHelp.com

About the Author: Sabeen has a Masters in Public Health and currently writes for GrantWatch and its affiliated websites.