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S:US Receives Grant to Support Urban Farms

S:US Receives Grant to Support Urban Farms

Photo credit: S:US

We’re grateful to Con Edison for the grant to support S:US’ Urban Farms initiative! This funding will support program expenses, including wages paid to S:US program participants.

S:US operates one of the largest urban agriculture initiatives in NYC. With more than 50 urban farms in the yards and on rooftops of our supported housing sites, the initiative employs many of the people we serve who have intellectual/developmental disabilities and engages 500+ people at the highest risk for homelessness, unemployment, and untreated medical, psychiatric and substance use disorders. Participants gain employable skills, generate income, build self-esteem, and learn about and enjoy the nourishing benefits of eating fresh produce.

S:US’ Urban Farms provides therapeutic horticulture, nutritional programming, and employment opportunities to the individuals we serve through workshops, field experiences, and our network of community farms and garden spaces. The initiative functions as an innovative supplement to the support services we offer, using horticulture as a tool in improving wellness outcomes and in helping our clients to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Our urban farmers act as the primary stewards for our growing spaces in four boroughs that collectively produce more than 7,000 lbs. of fruits, vegetables, and culinary herbs each year. Fresh produce harvested from S:US Urban Farms is distributed among residents of S:US supported housing sites free of charge, extending health and wellness benefits beyond those who work in the program.

From greenhouse plant propagation, to honey cultivation at the S:US beehives, Urban Farms engages clients in a wide variety of activities. S:US Urban Farms offers professional and personal development workshops throughout the year on topics ranging from botanical art to Integrated Pest Management. Urban Farms also offers a vocational training curriculum in urban agriculture and landscape maintenance services. Participants apply learned skills through community service and receive intensive job coaching to support their employment goals.

S:US’ Urban Farms programming reaches more than 500 individuals each year. These programs have created competitive employment opportunities and vocational advancement for participants, and they have achieved measured improvements in the social determinants of health for residents at S:US supported housing.

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