Community gardens do more than create extra sources of income. They can help strengthen senses of community, teach and empower neighborhoods, and provide healthy and affordable produce when no other sources are available.
So, when Daniel Fitzgerald, a real estate developer in the Bronx, decided that he was going to start selling hot sauce, he knew his product had to do more than raise temperatures – it had to raise community gardens’ chances of success.
His company, Small Axe Peppers, practices a business model that maps to reinvestment in community gardens. The company donates seedlings to local gardens, buys them back as ripe peppers to make hot sauce, then sells the sauce to the community gardens at a discount. The gardens then sell the hot sauce to the public for profit, effectively turning the peppers into a reliable cash crop.
The model has garnered much attention, excitement and support from customers, and since inception, has grown to fund more than 75 partner gardens in 15 cities.