Capitol Hill leaders tour Canarsie produce farm that combats food insecurity, promotes healthy eating

Leaders from Capitol Hill toured a first-of-its kind eco-hub in Canarsie on Sunday.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Massachusetts Rep. James McGovern checked out the two-acre community farm at the New York City Housing Authority's Bay View Houses.
"Being in Canarsie, at Bay View, we don't have a lot of access to organic produce. We have McDonald's across the street, but there's not exactly a certified place where we're getting our organic produce that is grown in, directly in and for our community," said Green City Force senior coordinator of program and partnerships Hakim Jeffrey.
But the community garden has changed that.
The produce farm is operated by Americorp members to combat food insecurity and promote healthy eating in lower income, Black and brown communities.
"There's a lack of access to healthy food, and as a result to that lack of access to healthy food, they pursue other alternatives that result in exposure to things like higher and disproportionate rates of diabetes or heart disease. And this urban farm, the access to health food that is being provided here, is going to make a big difference in the health care outcomes in this community," Jeffries said.
By growing fresh produce and composting, the farm provides a direct line to healthy food and a platform for the youth to learn farming skills and leadership development.
"A lot of us were introduced to Swiss chard, which I never had before. I learned how to cook it and there are a lot of things we don't have to go to the store to purchase," said President of Bay View Houses Community Association Sheryl Boyce.
To get involved, all that residents have to do is bring in their food scraps for composting, and in return, they are handed back organic produce to enjoy.