Hi everyone! This is Leensa, the 17 year old CFO of Green Garden Bakery. I take pride in being a young woman of color in finance and this is a really exciting time for our bakery! We are raising money to make our dreams a reality – creating our own commercial kitchen space in our community!
We’ve currently secured $150,000 for the commercial kitchen and are looking to raise an additional $50,000. Since we are a community-based social enterprise, we feel it is critical to invest in a production space in our community. Currently, we bake out of a shared commercial kitchen that is a 45-minute bus ride from our neighborhood. However, we have access to a kitchen in our community that can be renovated to become commercial-grade. This will allow us to have a consistent and accessible production space within walking distance to our homes. Also, when the kitchen is not being used by youth, we will invite adults in our neighborhood who are inspired by our business to use the space so they can sell their own products as a part of the business.
Green Garden Bakery is an award-winning youth-run vegetable based dessert business in the Heritage Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. We grow vegetables in our community garden, bake them into healthy vegetable-based desserts for every diet (vegan, gluten free, sugar free), and market them using sustainable practices. We sell the desserts for “pay-what-you-want” to create accessibility and donate 1/3 of our proceeds back into our community.
Typically, teens in North Minneapolis and youth of color in general have limited opportunities to be exposed to these types of entrepreneurship experiences. Without Green Garden Bakery, my team and I would not have the opportunity to have a resume filled with business and specialized skills. Green Garden Bakery continues to give back to our community by making donations. For example, we have purchased medical equipment for a peer injured in a car accident, sponsored adult exercise classes, and provided meals for families in need. Additionally, Green Garden Bakery promotes healthy food habits in creative ways and allows customers to consume a product that has much more value. As a business that cares about the environment, we have an obligation to spread environmental awareness to help save our planet. You can even plant our business cards when you are done with them to grow your own tomatoes! Green Garden Bakery is more than a business; it is an act of social change.
2017 was a powerful year for Green Garden Bakery. In addition to winning the Youth Division of the MN Cup (the largest state-wide startup competition in the country) and drastically increasing our revenue, we created a youth leadership structure which helped us secure ownership of our business and further our leadership skills. Now over 150 youth in our neighborhood are engaged in some aspect of the business. We have big dreams so the success of business scalability will be key.
GGB is seeking funding for key components for the kitchen renovation that will make the biggest impact on our business and our community. The money will go towards energy efficient commercial kitchen appliances, two mobile carts for our sales, and a ventilation hood.
We are so humbled as our dreams become a reality. A donation of any amount will make a HUGE different. Thank you for choosing to support Green Garden Bakery! We promise that we will pay the kindness forward. #bakeitforward