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Future of Food in Harlem Event

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See our photo blog post with highlights on the Future of Food Event in Harlem in May 2015.



Event Description and Highlights


Harlem residents and community based organizations gathered for a three- day event to explore solutions and problems with Harlem’s local food system.


The Future of Food conference hosted last week by Connect, Harlem Grown and Connect brought together community leaders, affordable housing and social service advocates, health service professionals, city agencies, research students and community chefs.

In the shadows of Harlem’s a bustling food economy, are thousands of low income families with children that barely earn enough to prepare healthy meals daily. Members of working age in these households lack access to quality education, training or resources to participate as investors or skilled laborers in Harlem’s bustling tourism and hospitality industry -a local industry  expected to continue to grow exponentially over the next few years.


The organizations coordinating this event sought to highlight problems and solutions in tackling healthy food access for low income families that struggle to find food that is both fresh and affordable in their community.


Event highlights include a keynote panel presentation and a series of demonstrations lead by local community organizations.


During the panel presentation on Thursday May 14, 2015, Dennis Derryck New School University Public Policy Professor and founder of Corbin Hill Food Project presented a powerful presentation on their flexible affordable community supported agriculture (CSA)  model, whereby members receive “shares” or baskets of produce harvested from local farms. Professor Derryck urged the audience to “work towards an alternative narrative about our community, that highlights community assets” that can be strategically marshaled towards effective food systems change that ensures broader access to healthy affordable food to low income families.


Last year Corbin Hill Food Project distributed 1,100 Farm Shares through their Community Support Agriculture program, linking farmers upstate New York to downstate markets in underserved communities like Harlem.  Corbin Hill Food Project also distributed close to 4,200 shares through their Community Health Partners program to Head Start daycare centers and food pantries in collaboration with local Community Based Organizations.


Youth leaders from Brotherhood Sistersol showed a film on their work and announced a recent award of $46,000 through a Harlem youth-led participatory budgeting process through Council Member Mark Levine’s office for a youth-designed hydroponic greenhouse project on city land.


Harlem Grown shared their recent achievements in growing over 1,000 lbs of fruits and vegetables throughout their youth gardens in Harlem, which supplies fresh produce to families in need and sells a third to local restaurants.


Representatives from Hot Bread Kitchen provided an overview of their innovative programs that empower immigrant and minority women to become leaders in the culinary industry and support entrepreneurial growth in Harlem's food industry.


Hot Bread Kitchen trainee, Harlem resident Shaddaya Jackson, guided participants through the step-by-step process of making Morrocan M'smen, a buttery-flaky, irresistible flatbread that's made customers all over the city seek out Hot Bread Kitchen.


The event also featured other Harlem-based community chefs.  Localtarian, a new start up that allows members of their dining club to use their web platform to purchase meals cooked by community chefs. Two of Localtarian chefs Valentina and  Armondo prepared delicious veggie snacks.


Nanny’s Kitchen, founded by residents of the Polo Grounds, New York Housing Authority prepared low fat, low calorie juices and desserts in conjunction with the Northern Manhattan Steppers and Stop Diabetes campaign.


No event on food would be complete with out exploring environmental impacts of food.  Representatives from NYC Department of Environmental Protection were on hand announcing the Cease the Grease campaign, that seeks to educate New Yorkers on the negative impacts of discarding cooking grease down the kitchen sinks and the toll it’s taking on our home plumbing New York’s water and sewer infrastructure.

DEP’s youth intern Ashley White shared her journey into environmentalism and lessons learned on community  composting and gardening as a member of Green City Force.


Documentary screening of  Obesity: Killer at Large sponsored by Maysels Documentary Center. A film clip by Anne Dunnequois of Parsons School of Design Strategy was featured, entitled Fresh Kulcha Food Project


WHGA Food Hub and Harlem Grown’s gardens were the sites of a pre-launch event on Wednesday May 13, 2015.


Next event June 13, 2015. All are welcomed to join Harlem Grown, WeACT for Environmental Justice, Brotherhood SisterSol on Saturday June 13, 2015  from 1PM -5pM on West 142nd Street and Hamilton Place for a Healthy Living themed Weekend Walks sponsored by the NYC Department of Transportation, coordinated by the Harlem Community Preservation Organization.