On Sunday, March 5th, Democratic House Leader, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY 8), Congressman James McGovern (MA 2) and First Deputy Mayor of New York Sheena Wright met with members of Green City Force (GCF) at the Bayview Houses, 5955 Shore Parkway, for a tour of their urban gardens and eco lab.
Twenty-three-year-old Hakim Jeffrey, a Senior Coordinator at GCF and former Bayview Housing resident, led the tour and explained the composting and planting process. He said that GCF members plant just enough to accommodate about 30 to 40 families, thereby reducing potential waste. “There’s not too much waste coming out from our farmstand. If it comes to a point where we have a little too much produce, we make it a standard to knock on all those residents’ doors and we make sure that the produce is not wasted,” he stated.
Local elected officials including State Senator Roxanne Persaud, Assemblywoman Jaime Williams and Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse were part of the entourage.
Congressman McGovern, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, stated, “What you are doing here, to me, is cutting edge. It is a model and should be a model not just for all of New York City but a model for the country.”
Congressman Jeffries also commended GCF for taking the initiative to ensure that their community has access to healthy foods. “I commend Green City Force for the work that you are doing to combat hunger, to lift up nutrition and in doing so to elevate the health outcome of the people who live here in the Bayview public housing development and in public housing developments all across the city where you are partnering,” he said, before presenting GCF with a check for $750,000.
Tonya Gayle, Executive Director of GCF, expressed her gratitude to the congressmen. “The food in this community is like second to none. It’s amazing. And for you to lift it up at a national level like this is huge for us and we are so, so thankful.” She also thanked community partners including NYCHA and the Bayview Board, as well as community members. “It takes a village. We have a really good idea and to have it work, we need partners. And you need people investing in what this future is going to be, which is phenomenal.”