Green Star Enterprise

Message from GreenStar Project Coordinator – Shelly Sawyers

This summer I had the opportunity to work in a community Garden with a group of outstanding youth. We all had remarkable experiences learning about the environment and realizing the amazing potential within ourselves.  I know that the program will continue growing each year and I am confident that GreenStar Enterprise will make a positive impact on our community for years to come.

Congratulations to all the team members, volunteers and Jaku Konbit staff for a job well done!

GSE Team Summer 2010.

What is Green Star Enterprise?
Green Star Enterprise is a youth led initiative designed to encourage and engage new immigrant and      at-risk youth, from low-income areas to participate in self-employment opportunities around health and fitness matters, community gardening and the environment

Executive Summary: 
This pilot program reached out to youth ages 15-21 in low income areas in Ottawa. They are offered an opportunity to learn and develop entrepreneurial business skills, and become advocates for environmental and health issues amongst their peers and within their community. The Green Star Enterprise program presents youth from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn and experience 
(Left-Right: Shelly, Asha, Josh, Toaling, Rubin, James, Shynise, Will)

gardening-from planting seeds to cooking to distributing the produce. Participants grow fresh produce on an urban agricultural site and develop business/marketing skills. Furthermore, this program promotes healthy eating habits, increases awareness around environmental issues and encourages physical activity.

To eradicate health issues through wholesome food and physical activities for children and youth everywhere.


  • Encourage entrepreneurship among youth of African-descent, new immigrant and at-risk-youth  to participate in self-employment activities centered on environmental themes and community gardening
  • Promote healthy lifestyle through nutrition and fitness
  • Facilitate the development of leadership, social skills, self-esteem, teamwork, and a positive attitude for success
  • Build a youth advocacy group – to be a voice among their peers in promoting Canada, its values for equality, inclusion, justice,  and multiculturalism


How the program came about:

In 2009 the staff at Jaku Konbit noticed a lack of programming dedicated to empowering minority youth from the African and Caribbean community in regards to healthy food and nutrition. In addition, studies revealed that childhood obesity rates in Canada have tripled in the past 25 years. Through the Green Star Community Garden Program, youth will learn the benefits of eating healthy and staying fit, which will help to reduce the high obesity rates among our youth in Canada They concluded that a community gardening  Green Star would provide youth with positive tools that could change their lives and that of their families forever. By providing mentorship and workshops geared to enhancing their prowess, youth gain hands on experience working in a rural environment while developing leadership, personal management and entrepreneurial skills. They are also given freedom to think outside the box and use their own personal talents to find their niche within a professional environment.

Summer 2010
Number of plots: 6 plots that are 20ft x 50ft. Employees: 8 youth between 15 and 18 and 2 supervisors 
Working 35 hours a week for 7 weeks (July-August)

Garden Details
Kilborn Allotment Gardens, Elmvale, Ottawa (East end). Main office: Dempsey Community Centre at 1895Russell road 

Amazing successes summer 2010

The GreenStar youth have so much to be proud of being the first team to engage in this dynamic program. From July 5th – Aug 31st 2010 GSE accomplished the following:

Jaku Konbit’s Statistics
Only four years ago Jaku Konbit had 1 employee during the summer months and 6 campers in their “Greatness is within me!” summer camp.  This year because of various summer job programs Jaku Konbit has been able to hire 16 youth, 10 of which where actively involved in the GreenStar Project. The number of campers enrolled in the facility sky rocketed to over 50 children every week. Further more GSE has received a substantial amount of interest from community groups generating great partnerships and enthusiastic individuals wanting to volunteer.  The vast amount of children provided the perfect environment for buzz marketing and ample opportunity for the GSE youth to be roll models.

  • Community Outreach

 Reaching out to the community is a great way for green star to give back. By doing presentation, attending community events and donating free food baskets to local businesses, individuals and charities, GreenStar Enterprise has created a platform for youth to speak up about environmental, fitness and dietary issues.

Type of Vegetable





Green onions, red onions








2 Harvest
From planting to reaping and everything in between the GreenStar team has managed to produce a healthy bountiful crop. 

  • Youth Participation

They presented to the MBNA Business Professionals, the “Greatness is within me!” summer camp, Michelle heights summer camp, and Jaku Konbit’s closing ceremony.
Food baskets where distributed to popular African/Caribbean businesses in the nation’s capital in order to spread the word and establish GreenStars presence within the community. Some of those business include; Island Jerk, Savana, tropical cuisine cafe, Groovies Roti Hut, Le Lambi Carribean food, Trapical Garden, Tropics and Island Flava. Food baskets where also donated to elders and families within the community.

  • Projects

With the help of guest speakers and workshops the youth were able to produce a Radio commercial, website, theme song, music video, 3 radio interviews on the BRL Show  and 4 market days at the greatness is within me summer camp.

Vision for the future

  • To create a  training /work program, geared to exposing youth to entrepreneurship, green jobs and technology
  • To establish more partnerships with agricultural and green companies
  • To give back to the community by providing ample employment opportunity for all youth
  • To contribute to the next generation of innovators in green industries


Bibi has a true passion for gardening, she has 20 plots of her own and she still found the time to help GreenStar plant and take care of their vegetables. Without her knowledge and advice the program would not have been a success.

MBNA’s Black Professionals have been very supportive of the GreenStar Program. Through out the summer they have provided mentorship to our team which has intern inspired the youth to think positively about their future.

Alvaro also known as DJ Alive not only helped GreenStar in the Shamba he also played a roll in developing the entrepreneurial aspect of the program. He provided workshops, guidance and many interviews on the award winning BRL show (CHUO 89.1FM).


Nabina is an extremely intelligent insightful woman who worked hard to ensure everyone one on the team lived up to their full potential. She always had new effective ways to improve the efficiency of the team.


Tristann volunteered at camp this year and is always very dependable. 
This year she helped out the Green Star community Garden as well as the camp field trip to Mont Cascades.

Arturo is an engineer, he recorded the GreenStar Anthem and the Greatness is within me theme song. Even though it was the teams first time in a studio environment, he made everyone feel comfortable and confident.

The YMCA’s Youth Eco Internship Program is a national program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, offering 3 to 12 month funded internship placements. This program places people aged 15 to 30 from diverse backgrounds into paid internship opportunities within the non-profit and community services sector in Canada with a focus on the environment and community services.


Youth Services Bureau (YSB) Summer Job for youth. 

This program places people aged 15 to 30 from diverse backgrounds into paid internship opportunities within the non-profit and community services sector in Canada with a focus on the environment and community services 

Youth aged 15 to 18 who live in identified priority communities and who are considered disadvantaged according to established criteria. The program operates for eight weeks in July and August, including pre-employment training and post-employment support. Job placements are up to six weeks.

The Community Garden Network of Ottawa

The Community Garden Network of Ottawa is an information and resource-sharing network that supports the sustainable development of community gardens within the city.

See testimony from the youth