Phoenix program trains community on sustainable food

In partnership with the City of Phoenix, Thrive Consultancy is offering its 10-week Sustainable Cooperative Food Business Training Program, free of charge.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 9:23 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Sustainable Cooperative Food Business Training Program teaches people how to start their own garden, providing help and advice on how to successfully grow native plants that thrive in a desert environment. In partnership with the City of Phoenix, Thrive Consultancy is offering its 10-week Sustainable Cooperative Food Business Training Program, free of charge to city residents this summer.

Spaces of Opportunity takes up 19 acres of land in south Phoenix, and it’s where Kendra Branham comes to harvest some of the crops she’s been helping grow. “Right now we’re focusing on some cover crops growing, so really what that entails is that we are doing things to generate the soil health to create it or prolong it so we can have a good growing season,” Branham said.

Her interest in growing her own food sprouted long ago, but everything she knows she’s learned through the program the City of Phoenix, Thrive Consultancy and ASU’s School of Sustainability have put together. “We just found out that we got some seed money towards our business, so we’re really looking forward to the future,” Branham said.

The program is designed to help participants build the necessary business skills needed to start a sustainable, cooperative business. Throughout the 10-week program, participants will work with their program peers to create comprehensive business plans, budgets and pitches for a sustainable food business. In the program, participants will have access to a range of business development tools and mentors to prepare them for business success.

Hanna Layton with Thrive Consultancy is one of the people who teach others who otherwise may not have an opportunity to farm. “The need has really been exacerbated over the past couple of years now that we’re really seeing the effects of climate, our people and the community, not having access to resources, like food like water, poor quality of air,” she said.

The uncertainty would be enough to deter most, but Layton says it’s more important now than ever. “We want to grow things that are native here, that have shown they have built drought tolerance and resiliency. We can do things like implementing drip water irrigation,” she said.

And this is all part of a larger project to help Arizona become a leader in food sustainability. The program will begin on Tuesday, June 14 and end on Thursday, August 18. Classes will be held twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) between 5-7 p.m. in sowntown Phoenix. Applications are now open and you can reach out to Thrive at thriveconsultancyinc@gmail.com or visit the website to apply.