BoysGrow gives young people agricultural and entrepreneurial experience

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) — A local nonprofit farm helps kids build relationships while teaching them how to be entrepreneurs on a farm in southern Kansas City.

The organization, BoysGrow, pays teenagers to work with their hands as a team to help the farm and themselves grow.

Program director Tariq Nash said: “If they want to make the world a better place, they have to start with themselves first and then work their way up in their community.”

They farm, cook, explore and work as a team on the 10 acre land. It expanded to three acres when the organization started over 10 years ago.

Executive Director John Gordon Jr. said, “The agricultural side is very important, the construction side is very important, and the culinary side is very important, but at the end of the day, they’re just vehicles for building relationships.”

Nash is the program director now years after being one of the boys hired in 2012. He said he was exposed to new skills and friendships when he started working then.

“I was an inner child, so it brought me out of my inner shell. It kind of forced me to become one with nature,” he said.

BoysGrow picks up teens in downtown Kansas City and heads about 30 minutes south to the farm on East 147th Street.

They harvest, package and present their creations to buyers. So far, six BoysGrow products are on the shelves of KC-area grocery stores.

“Success is definitely hard to measure in the nonprofit world. There are metrics and metrics that everyone uses, but at the end of the day I think it’s more about relationships,” said Gordon Jr.

Nash wants everyone to feel welcome like he did years ago.

“Most of the time that’s all they need is just a conversation,” he said. “Someone who can relate to them, someone who can understand them.”

They want the organization to keep growing – just like the seeds do every summer.

β€œIn five or six years, the goal is for all the kids who have gone through the program to be the program director, the executive director, the chef and the farmer. So make sure that this program is literally handed over to the generation who helped create it, really,” Gordon said.

They recruit charter students and public schools and individuals seen at community centers.

We have a link available HERE if you would like to learn more about the farm and its application process.