Since 2016, a Trust grant of $750,000 has helped Green City Force support five urban farms within public housing developments that cultivate young workers as they learn green business skills. These open-air classrooms teach young men and women about agriculture, energy conservation, and life skills—all while composting community food waste and providing residents with free, healthy foods.
The program has graduated more than 500 young adults living in the city’s public housing—80 percent of whom go on to college or employment in related fields, from community organizing to landscaping.
The first farm, visited by The Trust’s board, was created amid the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn in 2013. That pilot’s success led Green City Force to build five more farms at other developments. The farms were planned with community input and residents get food for free in exchange for volunteering or bringing food scraps for composting.
To date, Green City Force’s urban farms have distributed more than 90,000 pounds of organic vegetables to NYCHA residents, diverted more than 19,500 pounds of food scraps and leaves from landfills, and engaged 2,490 students in farm-based learning.