Green Corps & Ripe from Downtown™ Salsa


The Green Corps is a group of almost 40 youths aged 14-18 who, among other things, produce the Ripe from Downtown™ salsa. The Green Corps is a job/training program for these youths.

In this program the youths learn about entrepreneurial gardening. They are responsible for growing many different types of vegetables and herbs. The Green Corps youths work in one of two inner-city gardens.  They also help in the production of the Ripe from Downtown™ salsa. The vegetables and herbs used to produce this salsa are grown by the Green Corps and local family farms. In the fall the youths help produce and bottle the salsa. They are also active in the marketing and selling of the salsa. Last year over 13,000 jars of salsa were bottled.

                      John Zitzner teaching a class



The Green Corps have opportunities to sell their salsa and vegetables at local farmer’s markets. One place to meet these youths is at the North Union Farmer’s Market located at Shaker Square. This market runs 8 am to noon on Saturdays from mid-April to mid-December.

In July of 2002 the Cleveland Botanical Garden hosted the national Ripe from Downtown™ symposium. The focus of this symposium was to bring together some of the best youth entrepreneur gardening programs to share their knowledge with others. John Zitzner, President and Founder of E City, was one of the keynote speakers for the symposium. He also taught a half-day pre-symposium workshop.