Helping to bring equity in the world!

Using Plants To Grow Teens

Urban farming and local produce are high in demand for their environmental footprint, freshness of produce, and disseminating of food deserts. Because of this, several organizations around Central Florida approach urban farming as a means of sustainability. Some farms are even used as a platform for health education and healthy food production in the process. At Grow Orlando, we’ve decided to use urban farming to harvest healthy and wealthy people.

When we piloted our program at the Tangelo Park YMCA, we gave each student a healthy plant. Their job was to bring it back in two weeks alive and healthy for $2. If, however, they were to tell us about the health properties of the plants (and add some marketing value to them) we would negotiate the rate. Two weeks later, only one student brought their plant and we Shark Tank’ed the transaction in front of the others. When he received $3.25 that week, the next week everyone had a plant – some of which we’ve never seen before! But, believe it or not, every student knew about the healthy qualities of the plant – and some of them added some unique pots and added stories to increase the value. We thought, ‘Wow! All we needed to do was add incentive and the students were able to educate themselves about health. Imagine if we attached this learning process to a sustainable business model?’

To unlock the potential of the future, you have to focus on the development of our youth. What better way to teach the students the skills life demands than through some good hard work? What better way to raise a community than to provide jobs? What better way to instill a healthy wealthy mindset than to hire youth to farm fresh produce, teaching life skills along the way? What’s more, the money raised can be used to educate and address issues revolving around food insecurity.

With Grow Orlando, access to nutritious food comes from our farm, affordability is increased with financial stimulus and literacy, and the community gets to enjoy the harvest of student growth and produce!

As a teacher, I found that my students were missing some of the core courses that the FCAT does not require for testing. Subjects like soft skills for interviewing, financial literacy, work maturity, and mindfulness were slipping through the cracks, and I could only do so much within my parameters as a teacher. So, with my visionary skills intact, I decided to create an organization that covers these lessons in a unique way. I knew that the more tangible the platform, the deeper the retention and value for most students so I looked for platforms that would provide all of these needs. Enter farming.

They saw these newcomers as people who want free farm labor for the extraction of created product for the benefit of a cause that’s not their own. We asked our students several times if they wanted to join the urban farming practices of Growing Orlando, and they refused because they did not want to farm for someone else’s benefit for free.

When I saw the demand for local produce and the environmental footprint urban farms develop, I found an arena that I could work with. I thought, ‘’ Besides, that’s what I did. As a matter of fact, almost every successful person I talked with started their careers mowing lawns, shoveling snow, picking crops, etc. The use of urban farming as an means for the development of a healthy and wealthy mindset in the community reaches far more solutions within that community than farming solely for the purpose of generating local produce and teaching health.

The Team

About Frank

Founder and President of Grow Orlando Inc.

Frank M Bailey, Jr is the Executive Director and founder of Grow Orlando, Inc., an organization dedicated to teaching life, work, and financial literacy skills through plant cultivation. An Orlando-native, Frank grew up in Holden Heights and Metro West for the first half of his life, with the second half of his life residing in places like Gotha, Winter Park, and Winter Garden. Living and understanding the lives that live on ‘both sides of the tracks’, Frank has dedicated his life to using his ideas as a visionary to develop education and empowerment, creating activities and programs that fill the gap of opportunity and experience in places that need it.  He is also currently sitting as the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Winter Garden Community Garden, is currently a CRAVE leader, and speaks at seminars, churches, conferences, support groups, clubs, and one on one with You!


About Holly

Founder and President of Grow Orlando Inc.

After working for the Department of Defense for over 12 years while stationed in Germany and Italy. Holly continues with HelmsBriscoe providing personalized one of a kind client events, meetings and conferences owns Strout Industries which manufactures LED Panels for use in touring or fixed installations. Holly currently serves on the Board of Directors for Grow Orlando, MBA Orlando and Come out with Pride, as an outspoken advocate and ally for the LGBT+ community and students learning the economics of building a business through farming. Holly additionally volunteers with the BSA Transatlantic Council which provides the BSA program to military families while stationed overseas. Rescue dogs and supporting the US military and their families through programs like the USO and Homes for our Troops are Holly’s passions. Selfless Service is the motto that Holly follows in providing support to the community and she encourages others to treat every human being with equality and respect. Holly believes everyone can make a difference.

About John

Board Member.

John M. Houston, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Rollins College and a Graduate Faculty Scholar in the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Central Florida. Professor Houston teaches courses in organizational behavior, social psychology, organization development, team building, and statistics and research methods. His research interests include organizational change, competitiveness, and the experience of meaningful work. His most recent book is Organization Development: Challenges for Changing Environment (2016) published by Routledge. Dr. Houston received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University in industrial/organizational psychology. He now lives in Orlando, Florida.

About Karen

Founder and President of Grow Orlando Inc.

Recently retired as Finance Manager for Central Florida Presbytery, where she worked for 32 years.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from Knoxville college and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida.  A native Floridian, her hobbies include playing tennis and reading all kinds of non-fiction.

Contact Us

Special Thanks To:

Grow Orlando


Grow Orlando Inc.
Suite #90
449 Westpoint Garden Circle
Winter garden FL 34787
(407) 283-1208


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