Growing healthy vegetables in New York City

Harlem Grown founder Tony Hillery talks about how his urban farming initiative is helping to fight the growing food insecurity crisis.
3:24 | 11/23/20

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Transcript for Growing healthy vegetables in New York City
We're back now with a visit to a magic patch of soil and sunshine right in the middle of New York City, where a wide variety of vegetables and young gardeners are growing healthy and strong. Harlem grown is a youth development organization that inspires local youth to lead more healthy, ambitious lives through hands-on education. In urban farming. The last nationais nine years ago was the ial crisis and it hit me and my business hard like everyone else. I was sitting at home reading about schools and underserved communities. One day I came down to start volunteering and I walked in and I started working with these children and the rest is as they say history. Some of the programs that we have here are as a result of something that we faced here on the ground. So, it's all through the lens of food justice and food access. We found that it very troubling that children in the community couldn't even identify simple vegetables, no less eat them. Once they start growing those vegetables, they started eating them off the vine. When we kind of put it together, it's a simple formula here, if a child plants it they'll eat it. 90% of time if they eat it this has been an evolution over the last nine years and we're going into our tenth year of existence. I truly believe that to not learn during covid and not understand that just feeding communities and not empowering those same communities with advocacy, social and racial justice, civics, health care, all of thoer elements lacking in these communities, it would be tone-deaf for the communities that we serve. I'm not a farmer, I never grew anything before here, but I do grow children, so remember, we plant fruits and vegetables but we grow healthy children and sustainable communities. We have some sunflowers in here. Eggplants, melons, tomatoes, we have a very tight crop rotation. I took a lot for granted my entire life. I had a veryleged life. I was very lucky in life. To be here and see the struggles of people every day, was kind of foreign to me in the beginning. You know, this kind of work is very challenging, especially with this climate, and you're greeted with smiles and hugs and affirmation every step of the way from your first step off the train, ten blocks away, to this site. The same thing on the way back. He invited her to help. So proud of her, she's a freshman in high school, star in her class, but more importantly she's a star in this community and here. When you live in communities like this, everyone is living like you. There's no examples of others here. We bring that here and that's what differentiates us. I'm very proud of that. Wow, what an example. I love what he said. We're not just feeding people we're empowering them. A good trick for kids. If they let them grow it, they'll eat it. If they eat it, they'll like it. Just ahead here -- Dr. Jen

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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