jwades Meet Justin | ScottsMiracle-Gro Careers

From farm to table

Justin and a colleague teamed up to help students plant gardens in an urban food desert.

“It was extremely rewarding to go to their graduation. It was a show-and-tell of everything they had learned.”

Helping underserved teens

Sales Manager Justin has always been involved with community service. When one of his retail customers reached out with an opportunity in the Atlanta area, he knew he could help.

The opportunity centered on a partnership the retail customer had with a local, K-12 private school. The school offered a summer program that reaches out to underserved students in the nearby communities. It’s not just another summer school, though. Students in the program are able to enhance their academic skills and learn new skills such as creative writing, glass blowing, gardening and farm-to-table cooking.

Justin and Market Manager Brian visited the students over the summer, bringing Miracle-Gro soil, Bonnie Plants and gardening tools. They also showed the students how to plant seeds and maintain their gardens in a raised bed. Through a combination of product donations and the knowledge of our associates, the students were able to harvest fresh vegetables—their own version of farm to table.

Learning to garden in a food desert

Many of the students live in areas of Atlanta where it is difficult to find or buy quality fresh food and produce. Areas like this are known as food deserts and are often found in impoverished, urban communities. People who live in food deserts may only have access to a corner store or convenience store rather than a grocery store.

Justin says, “Some of the students didn’t know that a tomato comes from a seed or where food comes from. And they’ve never seen vegetables grow.”

Garden to graduation

At the end of the summer program, the school holds a graduation for all the students who participated. Students experienced the satisfaction that comes from serving a dinner made with the vegetables they grew and the recipes they learned.

“It was extremely rewarding to go to their graduation,” Justin says. “It was a show-and-tell of everything they had learned. We are definitely committed to helping out next year, and hopefully, for years to come.”