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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

An Urban Garden Entrepreneurial Journey: Sweet Peas

Microgreens grown by Sweet Peas Urban Gardens

Microgreens grown by Sweet Peas Urban Gardens

When Tami Purdue signed up to attend AHA’s Dig In! last March, she was looking to change the direction of her career, with 25 years as a certified legal and project manager behind her. Little did she know that Sweet Peas Urban Gardens would emerge as a result.

Purdue also volunteering at Enloe High School’s Food Bank, a collaborative effort with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) and the school, which is near her home and located in one of the most food insecure pockets of Raleigh.  She was looking for ways to help kids get involved in learning about and growing healthy local food.

She took away some ideas and network connections from Dig In!, including the work of Community Food Lab and the proposed Raleigh Food Corridor, where food insecurity could be addressed with community-based support. She started attending Second Saturday events and learning more.

Tami Purdue

Tami Purdue

“Dig In had inspired me to jump into this important movement, and I was trying to figure out how exactly,” Purdue said.

She had noticed microgreens in several large U.S. city restaurants over the past few years and had not been able to find them in the Triangle. Her love of gardening, cooking and eating inspired her to investigate.

On March 7, Purdue returns to Dig In! to share her entrepreneurial journey and how she and partners Yvette Ruffin and Julie Gauthier founded Sweet Peas Urban Gardens,  a Certified Naturally Grown, women-owned and operated urban garden.  This business now provides microgreens to local chefs, farmers’ markets, CSAs and produce delivery services in the Triangle. The group also teaches children and adults about “micro” farming.

Together with new partner Katie Murray, who has a background in sustainable farming with a day job serving as the IFFS Raleigh Food Security Coordinator, the women have developed a vision based on community involvement and a business plan to craft a way for urban food production to sustain them.

Register for Dig In! to hear more from Purdue about how this young business came to life with healthy food and community as the start. Kevin Brice of the City of Oaks Foundation will moderate “The Roots of Entrepreneurship” session at Dig In! with Purdue and Matt Spitzer of Endless Sun Produce sharing their experiences and insights.

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