Nightly News   |  August 20, 2009

Teen gardeners sow seeds of hope

Aug. 20: Making a Difference: A group of enterprising teens have started a business that feeds their own community—and their entrepreneurial spirit. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

ANN CURRY, anchor: If you worry about America 's young people , you need to see our next story. It's about teenagers sowing the seeds of hope for people in need . And NBC 's Kerry Sanders reports from Palm Beach County , Florida , they are making a difference.

KERRY SANDERS reporting: This is a garden of lemongrass, rosemary, hot peppers and basil, where seeds planted this summer by a group of unlikely teenage farmers sprouted something more than vegetables and herbs. There's a bumper crop of confidence.

Ms. TAYLOR AMBROSE (Rise Shine Member): It's fun, and now I seeing anything is possible.

SANDERS: Did you think that you would be this successful?

Ms. CLYNISHA CLARK (Rise Shine Member): Not at all. And especially not at 15 years old.

SANDERS: On a small plot of land , in a neighborhood where 86 percent of the residents live at or below the poverty line , some of the older kids at the Boys Girls Club in Palm Beach County wanted to earn money .

Ms. BRIANNA HOLLINS (Rise Shine Member): And we sent out a parent survey. Most parents said they struggle putting food on the table.

Unidentified Woman #1: A radish?

Unidentified Woman #2: Yes. I'll take the mangoes.

Ms. HOLLINS: So we decided to build our business on giving healthy and nutritious food at very low cost .

SANDERS: And, boy, did it take off.

Unidentified Woman #3: And here's another cabbage.

Unidentified Woman #4: Now this is the kind of shopping I like. You just tell them what you want, they put it in there.

SANDERS: For $30...

Unidentified Child: Lettuce, cabbage, string beans .

SANDERS: ...shoppers at the Rise Shine co-op leave with at least double what they'd get at the grocery.

Unidentified Man #1: That's 96 cents, 12 times eight.

Unidentified Man #2: Ninety-six.

SANDERS: To meet demand, the kids supplement their garden buying wholesale.

Mr. AL McWHORTER (Mentor): They're seeing the whole cycle. And, I mean, that just broadens their horizon.

SANDERS: It's a real business with real dollars , but the Excel spreadsheet does not reveal the whole story.

Ms. RAVEN PIERCE (Rise Shine Member): It's not all about making money . It's helping others that really don't have it.

Unidentified Woman #5: Tomatoes, yes. Oh, cucumber.

Ms. GINNY LYNN (Rise Shine Customer): My budget is very tight, and this makes it a lot easier for me.

Ms. LOTTIE GATEWOOD (Mentor): Good morning!

SANDERS: Quietly guiding the kids, there are mentors.

Ms. GATEWOOD: They will tell you, every one of them, that they're going to be successful.

SANDERS: And you say?

Ms. GATEWOOD: And I say they're going to be successful. And I 'm going to say I knew them when.

SANDERS: A business growing profits beyond any balance sheet .

Unidentified Woman #6: Onions?

Unidentified Woman #7: Yeah.

SANDERS: Kerry Sanders, NBC News, Palm Beach County, Florida.