These days, new urban farms are big news. As people work to lead healthier, greener, and complementary-to-the-earth lives, urban farming is becoming more popular than ever. It’s all over the country, too. In Seattle, the Beacon Food Forest will soon be the nation’s largest open-to-the-public food forest—complete with fruit trees, shrubs, community gardening plots, teaching space and more.
Seattle is known for its incredible green spaces and forest-like parks within city limits. And New York City is an important part of the urban farming movement as well. Rooftop gardening, growing produce in small spaces, and community gardening are all popular activities in the bustling city of 8 million.
And now the garden scene is growing even more in the Big Apple—with NYCHA’s first-ever large-scale urban farm. Last week the housing authority launched the farm at Red Hook, one of NYCHA’s housing developments. Besides offering healthy organic food to residents, the farm will also create jobs for youth, educate the community about nutrition and food, and create revenue from produce sold at farmer’s markets.
The Red Hook West Urban Farm was made possible through a partnership with the Green City Force Clean Energy Corps, the Center for Economic Opportunity’s Work Progress Program, the Department of Sanitation, and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
“Low-income communities tend to have limited access to the healthy food choices and nutrition education which can help their residents lead healthier lives,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “Our partnership with the Mayor’s office, Added Value, and Green City Force is a Key example of how we can work together to provide NYCHA residents with the benefit of fresh produce grown right in their community as well as information about healthy eating habits.”
NYCHA Board Member Margarita Lopez added, “NYCHA has a long-standing greening tradition that supports our residents in creating and maintaining more than 600 community garden plots throughout the five boroughs. This is an opportunity for us to build upon this great tradition to develop a sustainable environment that will contribute to our residents’ health and the green collar economy.”
There are five other NYCHA urban farms planned, and the housing authority is now soliciting bids for them. The installation of the urban farms is a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force.