Crenshaw Youths' Venture Yields a Green Thumbs Up

In an extensive profile in its June 15 edition, the New York Times reported on the 39 young entrepreneurs from Crenshaw High School who run Food From the 'Hood, a company that sells vegetables and herbs produced in a garden near the school's football field and last month introduced Straight Out 'the Garden, a creamy Italian salad dressing.

The article detailed the company's production and marketing techniques, the motivation for forming the company and the positive reception it has received from the salad dressing industry. Several of the young entrepreneurs and their mentors were profiled, including Mark Sarria, 18, the company's chief executive; Tammy Bird, the biology teacher who created and supervises the garden, and Melinda McMullen, a public relations executive who left her job to do volunteer consulting for the group.

The story was summed up with a quote from Jaynell Grayson, 16, a partner in the business who two years ago became an "O.G."

" 'That means Original Gangster on the streets, but here it means Original Gardener,' " she said.

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