Emily Staugaitis ’08
We will use the garden as a platform for people to connect with people and cultures they may be unfamiliar with.
Emily Staugaitis '08 and Minara Begum formed Bandhu Gardens as a way to connect and support families within their community. This neighborhood garden and project, located in Detroit, Michigan, creates a network for Bangladeshi women to directly sell produce to local restaurants.
Many Bangladeshi families garden as a way to feed their families, having held onto traditions and ways of gardening and cooking from their homeland. However, extra produce often expired before usage, becoming a consistent problem. In conversations with her Bangladeshi neighbors, Emily learned that many were in search of additional income to support their families. It was in this moment that she realized she could connect Bangladeshi women to area restaurants that are in search of local produce. Driven to empower Bangladeshi women by amplifying and expanding opportunities, Bandhu Gardens was created.
After a successful three years, Emily and Minara have been able to expand their neighborhood garden, allowing more families access to the garden space. Bandhu Gardens also continuously hosts community events such as traditional Bangladeshi dinners and cooking classes, as a positive way to support and bring together the entire community.