Erik Oberholtzer & Kristen Irving

Tender Greens Sustainable Life Project (TGSLP) is a program being developed by the founders of Tender Greens restaurants. After connecting with the Los Angeles based nonprofit Standup For Kids, Tender Greens began hiring homeless teens to work in their restaurants and saw first-hand how food can bring healing and opportunity to young lives. The restaurant owners decided they could still do more to empower young people in their local community.

Beginning in the fall of 2011, TGSLP partnered with local nonprofits to recruit young adults transitioning out of the foster care system to participate in a farming program. Young adults will live and work within a secure “family” structure, being taught and trained by experts in fields ranging from agriculture to culinary arts. Convening around the family table, being invested in and contributing to a safe community, being held to high disciplinary standards and our hope is that, as they cultivate the land so they will nurture themselves and one another.

After completing the program, TGSLP graduates will be ideal candidates for scholarships to attend school, university and internships across various disciplines. We will continue to be an ongoing resources for all graduating members of our program, helping them take their next steps and encouraging them to remain active by mentoring and supporting future TGSLP participants.

Transitioning foster youth are often overlooked and forced to navigate a broken system which fails to consider promise and potential. TGSLP will provide select individuals with a strong “family” structure, career opportunities, and instill in them the values for creating relationships through land, food and community. On and beyond the farm, we will help shape young adults who are prepared to confidently and successfully pursue their personal and professional goals.


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