FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2018
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NYCHA CELEBRATES FALL HARVEST FESTIVALS AT PUBLIC HOUSING FARMS
Farms at NYCHA concludes successful harvest festival season, yielding over 20,000 pounds of produce for NYCHA residents and families, with celebration at Forest Houses.
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NEW YORK – On Thursday, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) concluded its 2018 Farms at NYCHA Harvest Festival season at the Authority’s farm at Forest Houses in the Bronx with a fall celebration. The Harvest Festivals included pumpkin carving, face painting, fall games, food, music, art and free giveaways for NYCHA residents.
Farms at NYCHA is part of the Building Healthy Communities initiative, a city-wide partnership designed to improve health outcomes and promote access to healthy food options in 12 neighborhoods in New York City. Through the initiative, local community partners and Green City Force, an AmeriCorps program that employs young public housing residents ages 18-24, build and maintain farms on public housing properties to serve residents and promote access to healthy food options.
Five Harvest Festivals have been held this year. Howard Houses’ Farms at NYCHA farm celebrated in September, and Harvest Festival celebrations were held last month at the Farms at NYCHA farms at Wagner Houses in East Harlem, Red Hook Houses West in Red Hook, and Bay View Houses in Canarsie. In late November, a Thanksgiving-themed celebration is planned for the Farms at NYCHA farm at Mariner’s Harbor Houses.
“We are happy to culminate a record Farms at NYCHA year – where more than 20,000 pounds of healthy, local produce was provided to our public housing families – with Harvest Festival celebrations at farms across New York City,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Community Engagement and Partnerships Sideya Sherman. “Through this successful city-wide partnership, including Green City Force and our other community partners, we will continue to promote employment, volunteer opportunities, healthy eating, and sustainability for residents and their families.”
“Farms at NYCHA is a perfect example of government and residents working together to create healthier, stronger communities. We are incredibly grateful to the residents who helped make this a record year for the program, and we look forward to celebrating their hard work and success,” said Tamara Greenfield, Program Director of Building Healthy Communities.
“The Building Healthy Communities initiative is a dynamic example of the power of partnership and we are proud to have worked with NYCHA, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Mayor’s Fund, Green City Force, local residents and our philanthropic partners to expand to six farms this year and to offer a record amount of fresh, healthy produce to residents while creating job opportunities for young New Yorkers,” said Darren Bloch, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.
“The Mayor’s Fund is thrilled to support the Farms at NYCHA program to improve access to healthy food” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. “We’re proud to stand with NYCHA, Green City Force, the City, and our local community partners in this important work.”
“Farms at NYCHA is a vital example of the potential, talent, and community building that exists in public housing communities across New York City. We are proud and honored to partner with NYCHA, the City and others, to provide a platform that showcases the leadership, skills and needed contributions of young adult NYCHA residents in sustainability and food access within NYCHA that also aligns with citywide sustainability priorities,” said Lisbeth Shepherd, Founder and Executive Director of Green City Force.
Through the end of September, Farms at NYCHA farms have produced 20,298 pounds of produce for residents, who in exchange dropped off 4,037 pounds of compostable organic waste and completed 412 volunteer shifts in 2018. This brings the initiative to a record yield for the year, surpassing the 19,920 pounds of produce distributed last year.
Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, Farms at NYCHA has distributed over 52,600 pounds of fresh produce, diverted 12,700 pounds of food scraps from landfills and incinerators through composting, and engaged NYCHA residents in 1,200 volunteer shifts.
There are currently six farms that expand healthy food access, provide youth workforce and leadership development, and promote sustainable and connected public housing communities. In June, the de Blasio administration unveiled a new farm at Mariner’s Harbor Houses in Staten Island. The second newest farm, at Forest Houses, was constructed last fall and began operating this spring.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Almost 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 325 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit http://www.nyc.gov/nycha and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via http://www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.