About Us

Our Long-Term Investment Strategy


Our Mission Statement To introduce youth and young adults to career pathways within industries that require skill sets in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.). We teach them how to apply transferable farm and market management skills to secure career opportunities as junior strategic planners, business development managers, special event coordinators, investigative researchers, community service organizers and environmental stewards. Our Programs The NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Youth Entrepreneur Program (NEXT Steps) has been successful in using our signature Community Involvement Growth Strategy (CIGS) Organizational Management Model, Holistic Food System Network design and Atwood Models to teach students and their supporters how to identify and make use of community resources that are available to them “within their own backyards”. We have learned to use the urban farm environment as an educational site for workshops, field trips and internships. Surprisingly, the farm has also been great for mentoring. Our deliverables have increasingly included on a small, local scale: increased food security, wetland and native plant restoration, landscaping, horticulture, workshops in leadership, violence prevention and health promotion. We’ve helped increase youth and young adults’ skills in production, marketing and business management.

——— Learn More About Our Operation! ———

NEXT Steps programs introduce youth and their families to six focus areas: civic leadership, health & wellness, urban agritourism, introduction to S.T.E.M. career pathways, social entrepreneurism, and environmental exploration.

Click on the links below to learn more about NEXT Steps YEP

logo - cigs model v2 logo - hfsn lwlpt logo 10.06.2012 Atwood sign
The Community Involvement Growth Strategy About The Holistic Food Systems Network About The Atwood Model

Our Impact Over the past 5 years, NEXT Steps has evolved from a basic youth education program to a driving force behind Atlanta’s young urban agriculture movement. We have created a niche in applying capacity building best practices while focusing on a 5 to 10 mile radius of our training farm sites. This strategy has allowed us to penetrate Atlanta’s urban agriculture market with stunning success. We have gained local and national recognition as one of the trendsetters for the urban agriculture movement by Emory University’s Sixteen City Survey publication (June 2011). We have also hosted Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed for our National Food Day Celebration (Oct 2012). We are currently working with Deloitte Consulting to strengthen our board and fundraising capabilities.

And If You Can Spare A Dollar Or A Dime . . .

Give the gift of S.T.E.M. Many times the kids that need our programs the most, their parents can’t afford them. Please consider gifting a scholarship to these kids so we may continue offering these outstanding programs and services to at-risk kids with amazingly high potential.

Make A Donation Purchase A Gift Certificate

Dana Jewel Harris, Founder NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program Photo Credit: xoxoatlanta ____________________________________________________________________________________

A Personal Note Of Thanks

Special thanks goes out to Rev. Jerry Fincher and the kids and coordinators from the Student Life Mission Project (2013). Their visit, prayers and donation to me came during what can officially be recognized as the absolute lowest point of my journey with Atwood. Their energy, hard work and desire to help get Atwood back together — especially after a series of tornadoes, torrential rains, flooding and series of unfortunate occurrences — gave me the will to continue on this epic journey. I have lived off the powerful flow of positive thinking they bestowed upon me ever since meeting them. And I just want them to know, from the bottom of my heart, that their investment in me and my vision for Atwood will never, ever, ever go to waste. Thank you Rev. Jerry Fincher, Melissa Nicholson, Tyler Golson, Mark Lefholz, Lloyd Blank, and Brandon Meadows! ~ Dana Jewel Harris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *