I come from food service with a 12 year background. I used to work on a navy base and I was a supervisor for 4 years at a food service company far out of Chicago. Management changed up, they changed a lot of things. So I came back and actually my cousin had a hot dog stand. I did it almost until earlier this year. I was doing Uber too. Chicago all the way to Gurnee Mills, Indiana…it’s a lot of driving. I got tired of driving, the coronavirus came – so all that was on the plate for me to come to Growing Home.
I do a lot of helping my grandmother garden in her backyard – greens, tomatoes, plants, hot peppers – so I felt like Growing Home would be a good program for me to get into.
I learned various things, about food and how to plant organic plants. Now I know, when my grandma does her garden next year, to do the organic soil. I’ll plant the seed myself instead of going somewhere to buy the plants – I can save money like that. She’s got some collard greens on the side of the lot but I want to make them rows, rows more for her.
Growing Home is definitely an uplifting program – they help you out a lot in every area. I got back into the groove of doing work, out of a lackadaisical state and to more urgency. It’s like work boot camp, starting at 8:30 in the morning so you have to get up at like 6am and get started with my day. I’m now more motivated, instead of sitting around like a job gonna drop in my lap. I’m putting in several applications everyday, to where I wasn’t before.
It’s a great program, I believe everyone can learn something from it as well as pursue a job and get hired. Each and every crew leader I would be with, they would show you the right way. And they let you know, “do it like this.” I liked that part. I see the leadership from them that I see in myself.
Eventually I might want to make it back to food service or want to invest in some real estate, abandoned buildings to fix them up. I want to advance as far to take a chef class, maybe try to invest in a food truck down the line. I might even do a garden big enough to sell some organic vegetables or use some of the organic vegetables to cook with the food.
– Michael, 2020 Graduate, Growing Home Employment Training Program