This year, Random Acts has committed to addressing food equity and food insecurity concerns through our Food Equity Program. The program focuses on supporting three initiatives: urban farming operations, community gardens, and food redistribution.

garden tools

While searching for programs that align with this initiative, Random Acts Assistant Events Manager Shelley Hall discovered the nonprofit Harlem Grown.

Located in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Harlem Grown aims to inspire community members, especially children of elementary school age, to live healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyles. They achieve this goal through hands-on garden-based development programs focused on nutrition, sustainability, and urban farming.

Currently, the nonprofit has transformed 12 abandoned lots in Harlem into urban farms. These farms range from hydroponic greenhouses to school gardens and soil-based farms.

Ahead of Earth Day, Shelley reached out to Harlem Grown’s interim development director, Shanice Smith Branch, to find out how Random Acts could get involved.

Celebrating Earth Day

This year, Harlem Grown hosted an Earth Day Celebration, supported by Random Acts. The virtual event included family-friendly Earth Day activities, such as upcycled crafting, and educational opportunities about food and our planet.

At the celebration, Harlem Grown showcased projects and artwork about world issues like sustainability, climate change, and social justice.

As part of the celebration, Harlem Grown distributed Earth Day kits to children in the community. The kits, funded by Random Acts, included a small seed activity and lessons on how to give back to our Mother Earth.

Shelley said the people at Harlem Grown were incredibly excited to have costs covered for this project. This meant that they could put their existing funds toward improving their current agricultural projects and continuing their community programs.

Harlem Grown’s 2021 Earth Day Celebration may have been the first time Random Acts has worked with this nonprofit, but it likely will not be the last. Whether our staff helps out on volunteer days or with other projects that arise, Random Acts looks forward to supporting Harlem Grown again in the future.

Have an idea for a food equity project of your own? Apply for funding through Random Acts, and remember to share your acts of kindness with us on social media! If you would like to support food equity, taking the time to learn about food equity and global hunger terminology is a great place to start.