New York City council member and vegan Helen Rosenthal and non-profit organization Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ)—which works to ensure universal access to healthy, affordable food—recently launched a student-built, high-capacity hydroponic farm at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus in New York City. The innovative vertical farm provides leafy greens and herbs for use in cafeteria lunches for more than 2,000 students from six co-located schools on campus. Excess produce will be sold in food boxes to neighboring communities. The program aims to give students the experience of building a meaningful, working solution to food security. TFFJ will bring in educators to teach students about urban agriculture, entrepreneurship (via the food boxes), and lead projects on food deserts. Council member Rosenthal—who is passionate about the project because of her commitment to food justice, veganism, and sustainable food production—provided much of the farm’s funding and helped solve some of the bureaucratic challenges that stood in the way of its existence. The project was also supported by New York City’s Hunter College, Whole Foods Market, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and United Way of New York City. Last month, the students harvested more than 700 pounds of fresh produce, putting them on track to grow more than 10,000 pounds of produce for their school and community this year.
Photo Credit: Teens for Food Justice/FB