Waterloo kids choosing crops over crime - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo kids choosing crops over crime

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(KWWL) -

Crops over crime.

It's a simple idea to make the streets safer in Waterloo this summer.

Kids need to stay busy during the summer months. 

The program Waterloo Greens To Go does just that.

It serves as a summer job, but also gives them a good education about the real world.

The farm stand set up on Thursdays in front of the Dollar General on 5th street in Waterloo, isn't just any farm stand.

It's because the people harvesting these vegetables are not farmers.

They're kids right here in Waterloo.

"Yesterday we went out to pick peas and the other one we went to pick radishes," said Waterloo 14-year-old Tavious Jankins."I wasn't expecting it, but I'm for new experiences, and trying new stuff."

More than 30 different varieties of vegetables, all harvested by kids like Jankins who otherwise wouldn't know what to do with his summer.

"I just wanted something fun to do besides playing basketball," said Jankins.

 Bryan Helleso has been organizing the Greens To Go program for the past year. 

"There's a bunch of educational pieces to this stand," said Helleso. 

That's exactly what they're doing, trying to solve problems in the community.

"You can have all the opinions you want, but if you're not doing anything to solve it or be active on the issues," said Helleso. 

Fresh produce can be hard to find in certain parts of town. This helps solve that and keeps kids off the streets.

"Waterloo is a very passionate community," said Helleso. "I mean it's time, I think people are starting to realize, we have the power to put on a program like this and do it."

Teaching them the value of hard work.

"It was exhausting but kind of fun at the same time," said Jankins.

These kids raise money through grants and fundraisers to buy the crops. They do all the harvesting and selling themselves, and then get paid for all their hard work all summer. 

The group is always looking for kids to volunteer. 

If you're interested in volunteering or want to know more about where Greens To Go sells, visit their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/WaterlooGreensToGo/?fref=ts

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