The I-CAN Project
INTEGRATING WORKFORCE TRAINING FOR FOSTER YOUTH WITH A COMMUNITY FOOD WEB: CULINARY ARTS, AGRICULTURE, AND NUTRITION
The I-CAN Project is a joint effort by Monkey Business Café
, the U-ACRE
Project, and the Fullerton Arboretum
. I-CAN provides workforce development for young people who have recently been emancipated from the foster care system, who face considerable challenges in housing, food security, and educational opportunities. Monkey Business Café is a unique farm-to-table enterprise that integrates the Fullerton Arboretum’s urban farm with a neighborhood restaurant. Coupled with applied research activities conducted by U-ACRE, this unique program prepares former foster youth for career pathways through a complete farm-to-table training program.
Participants from Monkey Business Café grow produce in the Fullerton Arboretum farm, in a collaborative mentorship with Arboretum staff and U-ACRE faculty and students, as well as service-learning students from several Cal State Fullerton classes. The participants then use the produce at Monkey Business Café, where they receive training in culinary arts including recipe development and food preparation. The participants also work with U-ACRE faculty and students to conduct nutritional analysis of Monkey Business Café menu items and product line using professional software at Cal State Fullerton.