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Growing Entrepreneurs


The Growing Entrepreneurs Program is a powerful, two-year program designed by youth, for youth. Through the program, Gather New Haven works with high school students in the New Haven community to develop their own small-business ventures to solve problems they identify in their community, developing their professional and entrepreneurial skills, training them in farming and carpentry, expanding their understanding of environmental issues, and building their sense of character. 

 All of this is accomplished by having students actively participate as employees of Gather New Haven– developing skills in agriculture and carpentry by working on small projects at community gardens and farms sites and participating in business ventures such as the Saturday Farm Stand and assisting with produce wholesale to local restaurants. They are then encouraged to develop an idea for a business venture that would positively impact the environment and the New Haven community.

The students develop their ventures, creating mission statements, establishing financial details, and creating business plans and presentations for their unique business ventures. Students simultaneously gain carpentry and gardening experience while also working on projects for Gather New Haven as well as several existing program business ventures.

 The Growing Entrepreneurs build raised garden beds, fences, and pergolas at community gardens around the city. They also build raised beds and compost systems for private homeowners. The students grow vegetables to sell at the Ferry Street Farm Stand, the CitySeed Fair Haven Farmers Market, and for New Haven restaurants. As of Spring 2020, the Growing Entrepreneurs have sold and installed over 50 raised garden beds to private customers and hundreds of pounds of produce to local restaurants.

 The program is designed to strengthen the students in five key areas: professional skills, entrepreneurship, understanding of environmental issues, gardening and carpentry skills, and character skills. The experiences and skills gained from the program help prepare students for secondary education, future careers, and potential future ventures as well as helping them to become better stewards of their own health and of our environment. In turn, the students strengthen the organization as critical employees who bring new ideas, a fresh perspective, and hard work to our farms, gardens, and organization.

This video was created by New Haven Land Trust prior to the merger, but contains insightful information about our Growing Entrepreneurs program.




Sharric James is a senior theater student at Co-Op High School. He will be attending Western Connecticut State University in the fall for Computer Science and Theater. Sharric started working with New Haven Farms in 2017 and became a Growing Entrepreneur in 2018. He was promoted to Growing Entrepreneur Team Leader in 2019. Sharric is working with Juan to run the Raised Garden Bed and Compost System installation business this season.


Devonte McElveen is a freshman at Common Ground High School. He is  to follow his dream and go onto college at Oregon State. He wants to go out and try new things, continue on owning his own business which deals with carpentry, outdoor activities, and skills, and to just be able to enjoy his dream and passion. He loves working outdoors and other harvesting skills all around.


My name is Gerando Torres. I go to Wilbur Cross High School, and I like playing video games.


Laysha Lopez is a Junior at Hill Regional Career High School. She is in a program called HOSA. Laysha did her community service hours at New Haven Farms in the summer of 2018. She plays soccer and softball for Career High School, and she wants to study to be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Southern Connecticut State University or attend school in the Army and become a pediatrician.


Hey! My name is Larry Williams, and I go to Career High School in New Haven. I’m 14 years old, and I love to play basketball and soccer. I also love acting.


Juan is a Sophomore at a High School in the community. He runs the Raised Garden Bed and Compost System Installation Business, and is an excellent carpenter. Juan is also a musician and plays guitar. He is interested in going into criminal justice and is currently taking a college-level criminal justice course.


Hey! My name is Yisel Contreras. I’m a student at Career High School. My favorite things/activities which I adore are playing my ultimate favorite sports which are soccer and volleyball. I’m also very excited to start Growing Entrepreneurs and can’t wait for the great memories to come.


Hey! My name is Aziya and I am a sophomore at HSC. I am 15, and I live in New Haven. Family, friends, and community are very important to me. Together, I believe we expand our minds beyond the city around us, and really change the world. I’d like to start with Gather New Haven!


My name is Lisette Chamba, and I go to Hill Regional Career. My favorite color is red, and I love helping kids when they are stuck.


Josephine Jacques is a junior student at James Hillhouse High School.  In working with Growing Entrepreneurs she hopes to learn more about Gather New Haven and learn more about businesses skills as well as other types of skills. Before moving here, Josephine worked in farming, planting, nourishing, and harvesting, cassava, beans, corn, and eggplants.


Hi! I’m Isaiah, and I go to Common Ground. I love to play basketball and video games. I also love to go outside and be active.


My name is Jayleah Gawin, and I’m a freshman at Hill Regional Career. My favorite things to don on my off time are riding my bike and playing squash. I am interested in this job because I want to help the environment.


My name is Javari Brown and I go to Wilbur Cross High School. My hobbies are playing non-competitive sports and video games. My favorite colors are green and purple. I love gardening because you can grow so much stuff.


Hello – my name is Diana, and I’m in the 9th grade at Common Ground High School. My hobbies are helping my mom clean and babysitting my nephews and niece. I also have a parrot named Rio, and he’s similar to a Sun Conure.


My name is Giselle Cando Sibre. I attend Wilbur Cross High School, and I am a freshman. I play soccer and softball. I plan to become a doctor or go to medical school. I’m working with Gather New Haven so I know I will always have other opportunities to become more in life.


Anajja is a 17 year old Junior who goes to Sound School and likes to watch vampire TV shows and play games related to Call of Duty. During the fall he likes to fish on the sound and by the Quinnipiac River for Bluefish and Striped Bass. His favorite movie is the Notebook and his Favorite TV show is Vikings along with Star Crossed.


My name is Giana Palafox, and I’m 15! I’m a really good communicator, I’m also super nice and funny.


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