UpPrize Finalist Spotlight Interview: The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op (BUGS)

The UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge engages the community in producing innovative solutions to meet the critical needs of our region’s nonprofits and people. In its second year, UpPrize is the most significantly capitalized social innovation competition focused on improving the quality of life for residents in Southwestern PA. The challenge is organized by The Forbes Funds in collaboration with BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Bridgeway Capital, Comcast Business and UPMC. After this cycle, approximately $1 million will have been invested in sustainable solutions proposed by local entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

During the final two weeks of this cycle, we are publishing short spotlight interviews with each of the finalist teams. First up is the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative, led by Raqueeb Bey. 

Raqueeb Bey_BUGS

Why did you apply to UpPrize? 

We applied to the UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge because of the work that we are doing surrounding healthy food in our communities. We have great ideas and we need help to implement them.

How did you devlop your idea? How will it impact the lives of vulnerable populations in Western PA?

When we started [BUGS] in June of 2015, we identified areas in our community that needed help with food sustainability, justice and sovereignty at our first meeting.

What have you learned as a result of the process?

[Our team has] learned that we work extremely well together to get the work done that we need to do. UpPrize really made us look more closely at the work we can do with our mission, goals, vision, and values.

What advice do you have for anyone considering applying to UpPrize?

This is an awesome way to not only earn funds for your project, but to get clear direction on where your venture can go.

Where can we learn more about your idea?

Visit us on Facebook!

Anything you'd like to add?This is a very exciting opportunity for [BUGS] and we are grateful for the chance to be able to participate in this challenge. 

To learn more about Raqueeb and BUGS, register for the UpPrize Community Showcase on March 30th! Click here to snag free tickets, or follow our countdown on Twitter @UpPrize.