Green City Force is thrilled to be the recipient of the 2017 Project of the Year Award at The Corps Network annual conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, February 15, for our work on the Farms at NYCHA initiative. The award honors the work GCF has accomplished with partners to expand healthy food access, provide youth workforce and leadership development, and promote sustainable and connected public housing communities. The recognition celebrates a year of unprecedented growth, as GCF’s Urban Farm Corps Cohort 12 worked to construct new farms at three NYCHA developments in Brooklyn and Manhattan under the city-wide Building Healthy Communities initiative. Read the full announcement from The Corps Network on their website.
U.S. Congress Representative Nydia Velazquez, from the 7th District in NY that includes the farm at Red Hook Houses, presented the Award to Green City Force on behalf of The Corps Network. GCF Executive Director Lisbeth Shepherd, Director of Urban Agriculture and Land Improvement Jennifer Tirado, and Operations and Compliance Manager Christine Bang accepted the award on behalf of the Farms at NYCHA team. Congresswoman Velazquez’s remarks are reproduced in full below.
This award honors not just Green City Force, but the entire Farms at NYCHA initiative and the many partners and individuals who have worked to realize it. Farms at NYCHA partners include the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Fund for Public Health in NY and the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. Local community based partners at each farm site are Added Value Farms, Harlem Grown, East New York Farms and Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation.
Remarks by U.S. Congress Representative Nydia Velazquez, from the 7th District of NY Corps Originally presented at The Corps Network Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
February 15, 2017
Green City Force marries together two principles that have always been near and dear to my heart – environmental sustainability and economic empowerment for young people.
I have seen firsthand the benefits of this program – and how it has prepared our youth for promising careers, while infusing them with skills to succeed and grow.
Since Earth Week of 2010 — when Green City Force engaged its first class of young people – the organization has steadily grown helping young New Yorkers, while improving our communities.
Thanks to this program, this year alone, new farms opened at three public housing developments across New York City — and they have continued working on a fourth.
This has meant thousands of vegetables distributed to New York working families. And, it has resulted in a network of public housing residents becoming volunteers, helping cultivate these green spaces, making areas that were once blighted into local gems. This is community empowerment at its best!
But, it isn’t just about the ways local communities have improved – Green City Force is also about preparing young people to secure brighter futures. Almost 200 students have been educated in farm-based learning through the farms at NYCHA.
And, countless young people have gone on to promising careers in the growing “Green sector” thanks to the knowledge and skills they developed through Green City Force.
As our nation – and our planet – work to counteract and slow climate change, we need more young people pursuing jobs in renewable energy and environmental sustainability. I believe Green City Force provides a model for success – that can and should be replicated around the country.
In that regard, let me close by thanking and recognizing Lisbeth Shepherd, Founder & Executive Director. I also want to salute Jennifer Tirado, Director of the Urban Agriculture Initiative. Thank you both for all you have done for our City, our youth and our environment!
This is a reward befitting of your excellence and hard work. It is the Corps Network’s highest award – a testament to all Green City Force has accomplished.
So thank you, again, – and most of all, congratulations!