Harlem Grown is giving out-of-work, single moms a chance to earn some green while growing greens at their neighborhood urban farm. Four mothers whose children attend P.S. 175 Henry H. Garnet School of Success will serve as trainees for the program, which is located at a hothouse right across the street on 134th Street in Harlem. There, they’ll earn a living wage while harvesting locally grown lettuce for both the school and neighboring restaurants. The new program is only weeks away from becoming a reality and a resource for both the unemployed moms and the neighborhood.
Harlem Grown is an independent, non-profit organization that partners with the NYC Parks Department and Department of Education and a variety of food advocacy and community agriculture organizations to connect local public schools to community through the use of common garden spaces and mutually engaging activities. The organization, which also runs an agricultural plot on 131st Street, has partnered with local hotspot Corner Social, which will purchase lettuce to use in salads, on burgers and as garnish
“Hopefully, it will work as a job-training program for parents at the school and local residents,” said Kelly Gillen to DNA Info. Gillen serves as a program coordinator for Harlem Grown and hopes that the paid job-training program will commence in the next few weeks. “We want to be harvesting every week, so the mothers will be doing it on a rotation basis and eventually it’s what they will harvest.”
Starting with 3,000 baby lettuce plants, the farm plans to sell two-thirds of its lettuce—grown in the hydroponic greenhouse—to restaurants in the city, and provide the remainder of its harvest to the local community. To keep heating costs down, Harlem Grown founder Tony Hillary plans to install solar panels before winter. Their plan is to produce one ton of mixed greens year-round.
Via DNA Info