ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis non-profit that focuses on leadership development received a helping hand in their community garden from Project 5 and STL Windows Direct on Wednesday.
Produce was plucked, grass was cut and mulch was spread in the Bustani Ya Upenda, which translates to Garden of Love in Swahili. Good Journey, the non-profit that has helped youth develop leadership and real-world experiences for the past two decades, started the garden in 2020.
"We have seen growth in our young people as far as their leadership skills, ability to get things done, to take lead on certain things," Good Journey founder Dionne Ferguson said. "We've seen the growth on healthier eating and taking items from the garden. To see young people as assets and experts in our community. To make sure they have the space and opportunity to work on issues in community that are important to them, like this garden."
Each seed that's planted is another lesson. Heaven Uhuru is an aspiring chef.
"So this is our herb section," Uhuru said. "Over there we have okra, cantaloupe."
She said learning about new foods and the hard work it takes to grow them is so important. She was there when the garden opened and the land had to be cleared of rubble.
"The ground was terrible, unworkable. We cleaned it up, got all the brick and trash out. Now we have a garden."
Her friend and fellow Good Journey product, Bisa Adero, is indulging in the healthy food options.
"I live around the corner so if I ever wanted to come around the corner grab a tomato or two and make fried green tomatoes," she said. "If you want to promote your kids creativity and sense of community, come to Good Journey."
There's more than just good food at the Fountain Park garden. There are also lots of good people who take care of the space. There's a fire pit for those crucial community conversations. There are even many stories from the past.
The History Maker Marker's project is a series of QR codes around the garden. Once scanned, a video of a story told by longtime residents will pop up on your device. This way, stories of this longtime St. Louis community will live forever in this green oasis.
Good Journey said they are looking to hire new staff and would like to find a permanent home in a brick-and-mortar building.
The Tegna Foundation is donating $10,000 to help further this mission.