North Side Teens Dream Big With Sweet Green Garden Expansion

By Neal St. Anthony
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The “Green Garden Bakery” grows vegetables in its community garden and bakes them into healthy vegetable-based desserts for every diet. Student workers sell products at farmers markets, community festivals and online, and donate proceeds back into the community.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

When life gives Leensa Ahmed lemons, she knows just what to do:

“Make lemon zucchini muffins!”

Or beet brownies, carrot pumpkin bread or jalapeño chocolate chip cookies — all delicious desserts that, Ahmed noted, also can be made gluten- and dairy-free.

Ahmed, 17, is CEO of Green Garden Bakery. This summer, the youth-run business raised $200,000-plus for a new commercial kitchen and expanded education-and-demonstration space in the community room of their home base, the Heritage Park residential community on Minneapolis’ Near North Side.

Most of the money was put up by an anonymous donor who was impressed with their creative, vegetable-and-fruit-laced baked goods, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the teen leaders.

Now Ahmed and her Green Garden team are on a roll.

“With our expanded kitchen and wholesale license, I think we can be a $100,000-sales business next year,” said Ahmed, a busy high school senior who will be taking college classes this semester at St. Catherine University.

“It looks pretty awesome,” Ahmed said. “It will be our baking center, wholesale operation, and we have room to hold classes and teach the younger children who are learning about growing vegetables, cooking and baking.”

Green Garden grows vegetables in its community garden, bakes them into healthy vegetable-based desserts for every diet (including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free), and markets them using sustainable practices. Student workers sell products at farmers markets, community festivals and online, and donate proceeds back into the community.
The business also feeds off a growing network of community gardens and environmentalism. The student-managers are the stewards, from composting and planting to harvesting and cooking.

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