Sylvester Brown, Jr. to speak at Congregation Shaare Emeth

Congregation Shaare Emeth will welcome journalist and community activist Sylvester Brown, Jr. as guest speaker during a Social Action and Advocacy Shabbat on Friday, July 10. 

Brown will discuss The Sweet Potato Project, which uses urban agriculture, marketing and sales training to give young people in North St. Louis an opportunity to earn money and gain job training — and help North St. Louis neighborhoods become more self-sustainable communities. A pre-service nosh begins at 5:15 p.m. before the 6 p.m. service. 

“The Sweet Potato Project provides the 10 to 20 participating youth both immediate benefits and long-term skills,” said Emily Cohen, program specialist at Shaare Emeth. “The program provides them with a legal and safe means of earning summer income while teaching them entrepreneurial, marketing, sales and agricultural skills they can use for the rest of their lives.”

Through weekly classes and hands-on learning in agriculture, culinary arts, accounting, sales and distribution planning, the teens learn to plant sweet potatoes on vacant lots, turn the harvested crop into products such as sweet potato cookies, and market their products to area churches and small businesses and through door-to-door sales. To learn more about the project and to watch Brown’s TEDx Gateway Arch talk, visit

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Shaare Emeth is located at 11645 Ladue Road in Creve Coeur.