Urban farms have been popping up on NYC rooftops, corner lots, and schools, and now they’ll be finding new homes on the grounds of select New York housing projects. City officials recently unveiled a one-acre urban farm growing amidst the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn. The first large-scale community farm of its kind, the Red Hook garden is one of six other urban farms planned for New York City Housing Authority properties.
“We have taken a clear look at where obesity strikes hardest, and food access has emerged as one of the indispensable planks in our strategies to fight poverty and improve outcomes for young black and Latino Men,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs. “The Red Hook Urban Farm will provide residents with access to a healthy source of produce while also providing young people with a pathway to education and employment.”
The newly established farm will serve two primary missions: to lay a foundation for quality and healthy food access; and to provide a green jobs training program for NYCHA youth currently out of school and unemployed. The six-month work readiness program, managed by nonprofit organization Green City Force and supported by Added Value (who will oversee it for three years), will provide hands-on job skills training in urban agriculture, as well as educational support and life skills development.
Produce will also be sold at farmers markets operated by Added Value or donated to families in need. Revenue from produce sales will fund stipends for members of the Green City Force Clean Energy Corps who will assist in maintaining the project.
The Red Hook Urban Farm was made possible with the assistance of funding from the Center for Economic Opportunity and in-kind donations from the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation. NYCHA is currently seeking to replicate the Red Hook Urban Farm model at five additional housing developments in the city.