Green Garden Bakery is a youth-run business in Minneapolis. The bakery sells vegetable-based desserts with a pay-what-you-can business model. The youth garden and cooking classes provide accessible food for the residents within the community, and job training for teens. One-third of Green Garden Bakery’s profits are donated to community organizations, providing camp scholarships for local students, purchasing security systems and groceries for families in need.
Green Garden Bakery’s story is provided by CEO, D’Loveantae Allen. All images courtesy of Green Garden Bakery.
Green Garden Bakery is a youth-run business based out of North Minneapolis. We are majority… all minority! I really wanted to say that sentence, but technically we are all minorities.
Before Green Garden Bakery started, we were a cooking class called Active Chefs. This was a neighborhood program where young kids would bake and try new vegetable-based desserts. We had this really yummy recipe called the green tomato cake, and it was by far our most popular, but we only had maybe two or three desserts at the time. Keep in mind this is all in 2013-2014.
But later in the year, someone in our neighborhood named Amaya got into a tragic car accident that paralyzed her from the neck down. After finding this out and hearing she had trouble with her medical bills, we decided to sell our green tomato cake at the Midtown Global Market (she’s now in her last year of college with a 4.0). We were in the age range of 9-12 so you can imagine the nervousness. Going into it, we projected we’d get around $500. However, we made $1500! As kids, best believe, we thought we were rich.
After that, we decided we needed to make this for real. So in 2014 we were established as a business, Green Garden Bakery, to be exact. Now I, (D’Loveantae Allen – CEO) did not start the business, it was all a group effort. We actually never had the “CEO” title before. But recently this year we took a vote as the executive team to see if I would be CEO. And lucky for me, it was unanimous. I think it had to do with the amount of work I was doing, and other businesses want the one person they can conversate with, so it worked out great.
Our mission is to spread delicious AND healthy baked goods all over the country. As well as eliminating food deserts such as our very own neighborhood, Heritage Park. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. We also give jobs to youth to gain experience and a second family.
Some of our biggest accomplishments would be being invited to the Choice Means Choice 2020 Conference in New Orleans. It was amazing going on that trip! We also won the Minnesota Cup for best up and coming business in 2017.
And on a smaller scale, we’ve been on the news quite a few times, we just partnered with TEDx Minneapolis, and we are at the Midtown Farmers Market and Mill City Farmers Market every Saturday.
As CEO, I make it my goal to improve the business in small ways every single day. That means helping the new members, improving myself, and branching us out with new opportunities to gain more and more exposure. My immediate responsibilities as CEO are handling social media posts, emails and being a leader. Along with that, I am the lead seller at the markets every Saturday, I bake and I garden.
Surprisingly, I don’t find it hard to balance my time, I give myself enough time for work, free time, and school. However, now that school is out, I’ve been able to work more and have more freetime. The biggest challenge of running Green Garden Bakery would be trying to interest the younger teens. Mainly because, if you’re here for a check and don’t necessarily care for what you’re doing, it’ll be a low effort performance. And as a small business, everything needs to be at peak performance. Other than that, it’s been smooth sailing. I’m friends with everyone and I lead with empathy, sympathy, and firmness.
As a young entrepreneur, you need to really want it, and gain exposure. That’s really it. Know what you’re doing, put forth genuine effort, and get the word out there. Life is a snowball, it will start small and it’s up to you to keep pushing until it grows and rolls on its own.
In my free time, I hang out with my friends, do a little extra work, and workout. I find balance to be one of the most important things in life in every situation.
The future for Green Garden Bakery is bright as the sun. Within the next five years we will have our own commercial kitchen and a storefront. The kitchen is already in progress but halted due to the virus last year. We’re also getting our wholesale license so we can have our products in stores. I’m looking forward to leading Green Garden Bakery past our goals, and improving us every single day.