Urban farming is on the rise across the globe; people all over are bringing their food source closer to their doorstep by farming in abandoned lots and on empty rooftops. Ian Marvy, the Executive Director of Added Value, sees urban farming as more than a local food source. He sees the cultivation of plants on urban land as a way to foster sustainable development for cities across the globe. Added Value has two farms in New York City and through their youth programs they are bringing up a new generation of conscious, thoughtful, sustainably oriented citizens.

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Added Value was created 10 years ago and is still operating out of Red Hook, Brooklyn. They started on a small plot of land and have since moved to two different spaces — one in Red Hook and one on Governors Island — which total 6 acres of farm space. Their Youth Empowerment Program offers high school students in the neighborhood paid positions to work on the farm. The program is focused around providing the participants with life skills through urban farming. They plant and harvest crops, they run a farmer’s market and they are in charge of some of the volunteer operations on the farm.

Added Value sells the produce raised on their farm at a weekly farmers market that is run by the Youth Leaders each Saturday. Through their efforts they are nourishing the health of the community, the health of their local environment and the minds of the next generation. By teaching the young people in the Red Hook neighborhood about responsibility through farming they are addressing worldwide issues like diabetes and obesity, sustainable development, environmental stewardship, responsible economic practices and are connecting a new generation of New Yorkers to the soil under their feet.

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This post is presented by Members Project® from American Express and TakePart. Members Project is an online initiative that gives anyone the tools, information, and inspiration to find causes and organizations they care about and give back on their own terms. Get involved at http://www.membersproject.com.


The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of American Express or its partners.