Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

Camden Children’s Garden Taps LAEDA to Teach its Gardeners Business Skills

Posted on 11/18/2013 by Ray Lamboy in LAEDA News
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Camden, NJ – The Camden Children’s Garden, a fixture on the Camden Waterfront for more than 14 years, is partnering with The Latin American Economic Development Association, Inc. (LAEDA) another long standing Camden organization, to contribute business education classes to the Garden’s “Camden Grows” urban agri-business program.

 “Camden Grows goes beyond just teaching best practices in gardening and food handling techniques, the goal is to teach urban gardeners how to maximize their gardening efforts by turning them into modest income generating agri-businesses,” explained Michael Devlin, the Founder & Executive Director of the Garden.  As the worst Food Desert in New Jersey, Camden struggles to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables through grocery stores and food markets.  “These gardens will produce more fresh fruits and vegetables and act as learning centers to new gardeners thus widening the access to fresh local food to more families in City of Camden,” he explained.

A key component of the program is the introduction of business concepts through entrepreneurial training provided by LAEDA.  “It’s one thing to grow produce in your garden to cook at home and share with your neighbors, but it’s a whole different proposition to bring that produce to market”, said Valerie Frick, Treasurer of the Garden Club and its Director of Education.  “We are so excited to have LAEDA working with us to teach our gardener’s the basics of business development so they can translate their efforts into some income for themselves and their families,” she concluded.

“When we were approached by the Garden to provide this training, it was a no brainer,” said Raymond L. Lamboy, President & CEO of LAEDA.  “The Garden Club has been an institution in Camden for almost 30 years it’s really a privilege to work with Mike, Valerie and their team.”  LAEDA will be conducting six business workshops; ABC’s of Starting a Small Business, Business Planning, Marketing Your Business, Credit Management and the Basics of Accounting & Recordkeeping.  The final workshop is a trip to the Collingswood Farmer’s Market in the Spring of 2014, where participants will take their business education on the road and analyze how farmers merchandise, price and sell their products.  “I believe this combination of business workshops is ideal to give new entrepreneurs a good foundation on which to build their businesses,“ said Gabriela Sanchez, LAEDA’s Technical Assistance Coordinator and lead instructor for the Garden business education sessions.  “Whether you are selling books or broccoli, the fundamentals of business are the same.”

The Camden Grows Program is a comprehensive initiative designed to produce and distribute food in accessible ways to the residents of Camden. Camden Grows will train 10 adults per year over a three year period and provide 21 young adult residents of Camden with a one year paid internship that is combined with training and exposure to various careers in food related industries. The program is hosted from November to August each year and consists of 16 classes representing 70 hours of training.  Interested individuals can request an application at info@camdenchildrensgarden.org.

About the Camden Children’s Garden (CCG)/Camden City Garden Club, Inc.

The Camden City Garden Club, Inc. was established in 1985 and is the operator of the Camden Children’s Garden. The Club is a non-profit (501) (c) (3) environmental and educational organization, with a mission of inspiring and educating people of all ages by providing opportunities to improve their quality of life, health and community through horticulture. 

In July 1999 the Club opened the Camden Children’s Garden as a four-acre “horticultural playground” and waterfront tourism attraction, joining the then New Jersey State Aquarium on Camden’s Waterfront.   Today, the Garden continues as a waterfront attraction and now is the base of operations for the Garden’s various programs both on the waterfront and in Camden’s neighborhoods and schools.

Through its various programs, the Garden has assisted in the creation of 120+ community gardens throughout the City of Camden resulting in the production of approximately $2.3 Million worth of produce.  Over the past 19 years, more than 350 at-risk youth have been exposed to careers in the food industry and have been trained to promote gardening to their friends and family.

Camden Children's Garden is designed for children and families. It is a special place to explore and discover the natural world. The four-acre garden provides horticultural experiences for creative and imaginative play.

For more information please call 856-365-8733 or e-mail us at info@camdenchildrensgarden.org. Thank you for your interest in visiting the Camden Children's Garden.