Healthy Neighborhoods Fund
Building Healthy Communities
December 19, 2017
Although Brownsville, a Healthy Neighborhoods Fund site, faces daunting health statistics and negative portrayals, there are many committed residents who work tirelessly to improve their neighborhood’s health and wellbeing.
Active Citizen Project (ACP) creates opportunities for people to live healthy lives and thrive in their communities, one of which is its flagship program, Project EATS. The program collaborates with residents, schools, community-based organizations, and businesses to transform underused spaces (low-utility public and private land) in working-class and low-income neighborhoods into sustainable, productive urban farms. It also oversees the GrowNYC Youthmarket (a network of urban farm stands operated by neighborhood youth and supplied by local farmers) and provides nutrition education and skills-training programs to residents of the neighborhoods in which it operates. To support Project EATS’ sustainability in Brownsville, NYSHealth awarded ACP a grant in January 2017. In December 2017, NYSHealth awarded ACP a second grant to continue its work to increase resident access to and affordability and consumption of healthy foods.
Under this grant, ACP built upon its efforts to support the health and wellness of Brownsville residents. ACP increased access to healthy food by expanding locations for Project EATS farms and mobile farm stands, as well as opening a café that operated several days a week. It also made food more affordable by offering a wider range of payment and pricing incentives and expanded choices by offering prepared food options. ACP strengthened the long-term sustainability of Project EATS farms by (1) establishing standard farm practices that maximized farmers’ ability to sustainably grow high yields of nutritious, quality crops and (2) training and employing residents for careers as farmers and managers on Project EATS farms.