“We started composting here eight years ago with one little girl who brought me a half an eggshell,” Hillery says. “Last year, we did 22,000 pounds of food scraps here, and that all comes from the children going home in the community, teaching their parents about healthy habits and sustainability.”
Personal Finance Reporter
May 12, 2019
On a sunny spring day, a group of volunteers, educators, and students feed chickens, water and tend to gardens, plant eggplants, and chop up compost. This isn’t taking place on a farm or some rural setting – it’s actually in New York City, on a stretch of “urban farm” called Harlem Grown.
The non-profit, founded by executive director Tony Hillery in 2011, operates 10 facilities across the city, including a hydroponic farm. They provide 680 pounds of fresh produce to their community, work within the public school system, and offer community education on urban farming, sustainability, and healthy eating.
Hillery says before starting Harlem Grown, he volunteered in the public school system and started realizing the scope of challenges within the community.
“We have 14 homeless shelters in a four-block radius and there’s 110,000 homeless youth in this city that go to these public schools,” Hillery told Yahoo Finance. “98% of our families are on food stamps. How do you eat healthy? That’s what prompted this project.”
Access to fresh and healthy food choices is a challenge, says Chris Dotson, an intern with Harlem Grown.