In our post on Monday, we mentioned one of the ways we can become a healthier nation by 2030 is by having healthier communities. We thought we would take the opportunity today to introduce you to an organization that really embodies the spirit of public health week. In a community with high poverty, unemployment, and obesity rates, Harlem Grown is an organization doing more good for public health than people may realize.

Harlem Grown is an independent, non-profit organization located in Harlem, NY. Founded in 2011, their mission is to inspire youth to live healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. They operate local urban farms; increase access and knowledge of healthy food for Harlem residents; and provide garden-based youth development programs to Harlem youth.

TonyHilleryPhotoHarlem grown founder Tony Hillery


They believe that healthy habits start young so our educational programs are focused on elementary-aged students in Harlem. Food justice in the neighborhood is more than just providing and distributing food, and their model delves deep within the community using mentorship, job training, and partnerships as tools to create a sustainable community.

Working to fulfill their mission, Harlem Grown raises support for the physical renovation of abandoned lots in Harlem, transforming them into thriving urban farms. They sell the produce locally, distribute to members of their community, and provide educational activities to promote better eating habits. Since 2011, it has expanded to serve more than 1,500 students and provided over 2,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.

They are always looking for volunteers, so if you're in the area, make sure to check them out!Of course, not everyone reading this lives close enough to volunteer with this particular organization. But there are plenty of groups just like this one right in your own community, or find out how you can start one yourself. It's just one way we can work to become the healthiest nation by 2030.