Growing Green Works
Growing Green Works (GGW) is a locally owned & operated venture that is managed and run by urban youth as part of the Growing Green Program. GGW began in 2006 as an economic education program for youth, giving them hands-on business and leadership training by operating their own social enterprise.
In Growing Green Works, youth develop and market organic value added products as a way to understand and connect to the food system and the local economy. As part of their training, youth learn how decision-making happens in a business management setting, meet with local farmers, and retail business owners. They also learn business planning, marketing, sales and accounting. This makes the enterprise work and generate income to support Growing Green’s youth employment fund.
Reasons We are the Best Thing in Town!
Our mission is to educate people about the importance of buying healthy, fresh, pesticide-free foods & to support our local economy by buying locally produced and processed foods. Our products are made with high-quality, home-grown chemical-free produce from local Western New York Farms & we are in the business of making sure our community food system supports local people in our mother earth. Additionally, all of our profits go to support youth development & urban agriculture in Buffalo, NY. Lastly, our labels all have educational Food Facts to feed your mind as well as your stomach.
How We Make our Products
Preparing our products is hard work, with a number steps. This is how we developed our Raspberry Apple Salad Dressing:
First we created our prototype recipe. Then we conducted surveys. We made 3 different versions of the product and asked three hundred people which one they liked the best and why. When the results were in, we chose the winner. We worked out the costs to make and sell the dressing by comparing prices of similar dressings. We decided to buy the Apple Cider, Honey, Raspberry Fruit Spread, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar as well as other ingredients from local farms and vendors. Then we performed the Scheduled Process. This checks that the dressing is made in a safe and sanitary way as well as assures that our ingredients and production method will pass governmental inspections required for sale to the public. Then we send a sample of our products and our Scheduled Process Form to the Food Analysis Lab at NYS Small Food Ventures Center in Geneva, NY. Thus is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension. If we get the thumbs up, we are cleared to start production. Once we get the results, we design our product label. The graphic design and outreach team help us with this. We must follow FDA product label requirements, by including a UPC code and Nutrition Facts Panel so it can be sent off to be printed.
Next, we go to our co-packing facility where we scale up the recipe, mix our ingredients, do crucial final taste testing and bottle our product.
Now they are ready to be put into cases for storage. Once we bring it back to MAP, we label our products, take inventory, organize and shelf products by type and production date. This keeps it organized. Finally our products are ready for sale and delivery. We contact our retail vendors, make presentations and sometimes have product launch events. It is a long yet important process.