Fresh Cube is the new innovative way to bring food to places in Baton Rouge.
The CEO Mind Foundation starts initiatives that allows mobile vehicles like the Fresh Cube to bring fresh produce to local neighborhoods.
Founder of the CEO Mind Foundation and LSU alumnus, Jasiri Basel, began to develop his business skills at a young age and has spent the last five to 10 years of his life using those skills to help others. The non-profit organization has many initiatives, like Grow Baton Rouge, which works to serve local communities.
“The Fresh Cube is actually a part of a much bigger initiative that we created called Grow Baton Rouge which is aimed and targeted at curing or combating food deserts and nutrition,” Basel said.
Grow Baton Rouge focuses on places like North Baton Rouge where health and wellness should be worked on more and fresh food is needed. This is where the Fresh Cube comes into play.
The organization has multiple community gardens where they grow produce. These gardens are where fresh produce is grown for food swamps, areas with an abundance of unhealthy food, and food deserts, areas where it takes more than one mile to get healthy fresh produce. The Fresh Cube is extremely valuable to the youth and senior citizens who are either immobile are live in senior citizens homes.
“We’re a USDA-certified farmers’ market and we’re also a part of the Louisiana Grown Program, which means a great deal of what we grow and a percentage of what we carry is Louisiana grown,” Basel said. “That means a lot of what we carry is seasonal.”
The Fresh Cube has a schedule that’s put up every week, but it is possible to request for it to come to your neighborhood. Basel shares how they’re always looking to expand to places in need, and if people want to reach out to help or donate that helps it grow faster and put things in places to where they don’t have them.
Basel hopes to expand to multiple vehicles throughout the city and eventually on campuses like Southern and LSU, with students helping to promote and work with the initiative.
“The Fresh Cube is the third vehicle we’ve released and it’s an accumulation of hands on experience to what the community needed and a solution to be able to get fresh produce directly to those areas that needed them the most and had the hardest access to them,” Basel said.
The Fresh Cube is only one of the initiatives the CEO Mind Foundation has created to help the people of Baton Rouge. There are more than 10 different vehicles in the works that serve the community in some form or fashion. These include mobile cooking kitchens and The Transformer which Basel described as a “gigantic stem lab.”
They also have programs that teach students how to contribute to the community in their Youth Empowerment Zone.
“That’s one of the most innovative and creative spaces you can imagine,” Basel said. “You actually have to visit it to really understand.”
This summer, the company will be working on a program that focuses on things like welding and small engine repair. The CEO Mind Foundation makes and customizes its vehicles in-house, so it’ll work on showing kids skills they can use to help the foundation make some of the things it puts out in the
community of Baton Rouge.
Basel has worked with some of the biggest companies in the world on engineering and business, but these initiatives have allowed him to shift gears.
“My background is coming from a place where people hire me to make concepts reality,” Basel said. “So coming in and doing that for the community is where the change came in.”
Since the CEO Mind Foundation is a non-profit organization, some volunteers are needed to help with all of their projects.
“It takes resources to do all the things we’re doing in the community and the majority of our work is not grant funded or anything of that nature,” Basel said. “So if somebody wants to chip in resources to contribute to the
good that we’re doing for the people in the community, those things are always helpful. Or just be a voice. You can be a voice and say here’s some good things happening and spread that throughout the community and whatever network that you have.”