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student scholarship fund. “They decided $600 wasn’t going to get them into college,” says Assistant Director Haydee Vicedo, referring to the 36 students that began the program. “So, they thought of a new product.”
In 1996, the teens were able to generate gross revenues of $280,000. The concept — and success — earned Los Angeles-based Food From the Hood the 1996 black enterprise Kidpreneurs Award.
Today, Food From the Hood continues to produce a bountiful harvest. “We sold $220,000 worth of salad dressing last year, and we just came up with a new salad dressing,” says Aleyne Larner, the program’s executive director.
Just like when the program started, students still till the soil in the backyard of Crenshaw High School, planting seeds and growing vegetables and flowers. Today, those items are donated to the local homeless shelters and AIDS hospices in Los Angeles.
In addition, the organization has now set up satellite programs in Ithaca, New York, and Chicago. With no product yet, the programs are setting up the business and eventually will create a product.
Since 1995, Vicedo and Larner have replaced Bird and McMullen, and the original 36 students have moved on to allow a new group of students to continue the legacy. In 2000, 22 of those who started Food From the Hood graduated college and one, Kaber Gbajabiamila, was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
Food From the Hood is staying true to the philosophy of being fruitful, and its success is multiplying.