On a beautiful October afternoon, six young children from the East Liberty neighborhood spent the afternoon outside harvesting a crop behind their homes. Although they live in the heart of the city, these youth learned a bit about farming and some uses for vegetable oil that day, as they joined with staff of GTECH Strategies, Sojourner MOMS House, and Negely Place Neighborhood Alliance (NPNA) to harvest a field of canola.
GTECH Strategies, with the help of many youth from the Student Conservation Association, turned a lot on Black Street from vacant to valuable, as they planted it with canola, a biofuel feedstock in the spring. [Biofuel feedstock means that we can farm it for its oil and turn it into biodiesel, a form of fuel that can power trucks and other diesel engines, but with less pollution.] GTECH’s mission is just that, to transform lots that are a detriment to the neighborhood into something that can add value, both through the product grown as well as the lesson taught.
The neighborhood kids were excited to harvest the seeds, as they ran from plant to plant with their bucket, challenging each other on who can get the most. After they had their fill of harvesting, they loaded up the seed press and cranked out oil from the seeds. All the kids, from the kindergartener to the seventh grader worked together to create the very first batch of East Liberty Biofuel!