Within America it is as shocking as it is saddening to hear a large number of this country’s population goes without food or suffers from a shortage of nutritious food. Large cities are no exception, with New York City–the largest metropolis found in the USA–having over one million of its residents struggling daily to have enough food to, “Put on the table,” and especially at ensuring that food is part of a nutritious diet. Thankfully, a number of not-for-profit organizations exist all throughout the city dedicated to assisting those in need. These organizations can vary in their focus from being more-so food providers, to educators, to co-op grocery stores, or even rooftop gardens, but they all strive towards the goal of making sure the residents of NYC are able to have healthy and delicious food.
No one should be going hungry considering just how much food waste there is and how easy sustainable and organic farming can make it to provide food for others if an effort is made to do so–these organizations believe in that, and are working hard to ensure everyone in need of nutrition gets it. There is a long list of people and community based organizations that are working tirelessly to improve our city’s condition everyday. So the following is only a brief overview of some of the great non-profit food organizations in New York City, and they are listed below in no particular order as they all share the same mission.
City Harvest began in 1982 within Manhattan as a response to seeing how despite some areas of NYC having a surplus of food other areas had residents struggling to have enough to eat. Currently City Harvest is the largest, “Food rescue,” organization found within New York City, gathering and delivering excess food from restaurants, stores, and so forth to anyone within the five boroughs of New York City who needs nutrition in their diet. With a fleet of over 22 trucks and many volunteers City Harvest is arguably the most well-known non-profit food organization in NYC.
Founded in 2011, Harlem Grown began with the focus of educating residents of Harlem about sustainability and nutrition through the growing and donating of healthy foods to those in need. Harlem Grown has worked towards the goal of sustainability by establishing 11 urban farm centers so far in areas that had once been abandoned buildings or lots. Through its immense success at mentoring and educating those who want to learn about sustainable urban farming as well as healthy eating this organization has grown quickly!
The main fuction of Rethink Food NYC is how they pick-up excess food from grocery stores, restaurants, farms, and other food producers/sellers and then re-purpose these assorted foods that would otherwise be tossed into, “Delicious meals for under-served,” residents of NYC. They are known for their, “Challenge,” to those who support the agency of making sure there is zero food waste from meals–e.g. every single element is somehow used as opposed to getting thrown-away. From their community kitchen found in Brooklyn, Rethink Food NYC makes its tasty re-purposed meals for those in need as well as having educational events dedicated to reducing (and one day hopefully eliminating) food waste.
A grocery store which is member-run and found in the East Village, the 4th Street Food Co-Op prides itself on being dedicated to, “Food for people,” and, “Not Profit.” With a variety of local items, organic foods, vegan choices, bulk stock, and more, their dedication to quality and community with a focus on individuals instead of a, “Bottom-line,” goes well beyond a standard grocery store.
Located on Union street within Brooklyn, the Park Slope Food Co-op is a member owned and operated store that prides itself on being, “An ethical employer and neighbor.” With a focus on the environment and sustainability, the Park Slope Food Co-Op has an abundant selection of organic and vegan foods with an emphasis on supporting local farmers and businesses. In order to shop there one must be a member and all members contribute work within the Co-Op for a few hours every month which assists in keeping costs low as well. The Park Slope Food Co-Op is therefore not just a store, it is its own special community!
Found within Brooklyn, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is a farm of 6,00 square feet on top of a warehouse (owned by the company Broadway Stages who gladly lets it be used). It grows a wide-range of produce on this roof which is then sold inexpensively to anyone from restaurants to individuals, with all of the funds going towards the continued care and success of the rooftop farm.
At 11th Street in Manhattan one can find The New York City Community Garden Coalition, or NYCCGC for short. Since 1996 they have been working to promote the creation and preservation of community gardens within NYC via an assortment of educational initiatives, advocacy efforts, and other grassroots methods. The NYCCGC believes that community gardens help foster a closer community, provide delicious organic food for a nutritious diet to those in need, and helps the environment through being much more sustainable than commercial farming. NYCCGC is always eager to help those wanting to start or maintain a community garden within NYC with all the aspects involved.
With such a large population, a city this size comes with an incredible need for proper support and resources to to keep our communities functioning properly. Thankfully, there are many fantastic non-profit organizations that help our residents with ensuring they can have a healthy and nutritious diet. No one should ever have to be without food, and thanks to the efforts of these organizations countless individuals have been helped who otherwise may have gone hungry. Should you want to donate money, time, or food to any of these agencies, I’m sure they would welcome your support, and should you need any kind of assistance they are here for you–that is why they were founded….for New Yorkers.