The Farms at New York City Housing Authority
Building Healthy Communities
December 16, 2019
Green City Force (GCF) works with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to engage public housing residents ages 18–24 in the AmeriCorps national service program.
Through the Farms at NYCHA program, corps members build and maintain farms on public housing properties across New York City to serve their fellow residents and improve their communities. To date, Farms at NYCHA has brought six large-scale farms to City public housing properties, expanding healthy food access and offering youth workforce and leadership training. These farms provide residents with fresh vegetables, cooking demonstrations, and community events. In 2019, NYHealth awarded GCF a grant to expand the Farms at NYCHA program at developments in East Harlem and Brownsville and pilot a training program to more fully engage the local residents that these farms serve.
Under this grant, GCF supported two service coordinators at the urban farms in East Harlem and Brownsville. The service coordinators lead teams of 15 corps members at each farm, growing more than 2,000 pounds of food per site over the year. As part of the resident engagement pilot, 30 corps members were trained on techniques to increase resident participation; these included volunteering at the farms, bringing compostable food scraps in exchange for fresh produce, and attending cooking demonstrations and other community events at their complex’s farm. These activities built a strong cohort of residents and neighbors who are deeply invested in shaping the future of the neighborhoods, as well as positioned Brownsville and East Harlem as models that can be replicated at other Farms at NYCHA locations.