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On Valley Edition: Jobs for Vets; Community Gardens

May 22, 2012

This week on Valley Edition we talk about programs that aim to give Valley veterans who are returning from combat a leg up in the job market. We talk with a group from Fresno that is trying to turn around troubled neighborhoods, in part through community gardens. And we'll also talk with the CEO of the new Downtown Fresno Partnership, which is encouraging Fresno residents to jump off the city's tallest landmark, for a good cause. 

Valley Edition for May 22, 2012:

Segment 1: Jobs for Vets
As troops come home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more are looking to move forward with their lives, and are seeking jobs. But with unemployment rates in the Valley in excess of 15%, do veterans really stand a chance in the job market? On this segment of Valley Edition, we look at programs that are helping returning veterans find work in the Valley. Jerry Sinift, CEO of the International Agri-Center in Tulare joins us to talk about the Ag Warriors program, which seeks to connect veterans with jobs in the local agriculture industry. Also joining our conversation is Gaytha Melone, from the local non-profit group Central Valley Veterans, who joins us to talk about how her group and leaders in Kings County are working to provide services to veterans including job placement.

Segment 2: Community Gardens & Urban Gardening
In world's richest agricultural region, far too many people go hungry and struggle with poverty, including a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Community gardens are one solution that some community groups are turning to, not only to provide nutritious food, but also to teach children about the environment and instill a sense of community and neighborhood pride. Tom Matott, who coordinates the community garden program for Fresno Metro Ministry joins us to talk about the three gardens that he help manage, including the newest one in Fresno's historic Lowell neighborhood. And urban gardener Kiel Famellos-Schmidt joins the conversation to offer tips on starting your own urban garden.

Segment 3: Downtown Fresno
Kate Borders, the CEO of the new group Downtown Fresno Partnership joins us to talk about some of the new activities happening in downtown, including "Over the Edge" a fundraiser that will allow participants to rappel off the top of Fresno's 15 story Pacific Southwest Building. Proceeds from the event will go to fund a planned wintertime ice skating rink downtown.