With food insecurity reaching staggering heights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Teens For Food Justice (TFFJ), a nonprofit aimed at eradicating food insecurity in one generation, has provided city youth living in food deserts with the tools to grow their own fresh produce.
The organization, founded in 2013, sent nearly 450 students citywide home with hydroponic growing kits, allowing them to sprout microgreens and lettuce from the safety of their homes. “Everything about the COVID pandemic has underscored the relationship between poor health and food insecurity in our communities of color,” Katherine Soll, founder and CEO of TFFJ, told BK Reader.
Farming in school heads home
Prior to the pandemic, TFFJ had four indoor hydroponic farms capable of producing up to 12,000 pounds of fresh produce each year set up at title one schools across the city, including at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School and Urban Assembly Unison School in Bed-Stuy.
Students ages 12-18 were then given the opportunity to learn farming techniques as part of their curriculum. In turn, the fresh produce was served daily in the schools’ cafeterias. TFFJ also hosted weekly after school programs focused on health and nutrition, as well as analyzing the policies that have led to a broken food system.
When schools shut down due to COVID-19, TFFJ harvested and distributed over 1,000 pounds of food from their farms into neighboring communities. The organization continued to distribute food throughout the summer, but as the school year approached in the fall, a new plan was needed.
Read the complete article at BKReader.