Dear Green City Force Community,
Happy Valentine’s Day! This year we are highlighting the work of Cohort 22 members who have been revamping our raised garden beds at the Eco-Hubs, giving them all the love that they need! We asked a few of our Alumni Service Coordinators, leaders at each site, to tell us why they love the Eco-Hubs and explain a little more about the reconstruction process. Here’s what they had to say!
Work at the Forest Houses Eco-Hub site is about a month-in, while work began at Wagner Houses nearly three weeks ago with the reconstruction of nine beds. GCF’s Service Coordinator at Wagner Houses, Jawann Zeigler, who is an alumni of Cohort 14 and was an Eco-Hub Fellow for Cohort 21 shares that, “Although we have had some obstacles with weather, we are starting to see some of the actual changes to the site which is great to see now…It’s always a good feeling to come to the site knowing the day will be different than the last.”
GCF’s Eco-Hubs are loved for many reasons, but what seems to stand out for most of the team is how deeply the Eco-Hubs are embedded in NYCHA communities.
Jawann says that what he loves most about the Eco-Hubs is “how they keep the community connected…With the new construction happening at the sites, it allows for fresh faces to be introduced to what Green City Force offers, while also giving the residents that have been coming out for years a refreshing taste of something they’ve already experienced…It is also intriguing to know that residents have a genuine bond with the work that goes on and you can see it when residents come out to farm stand or just simply want to talk about how they relate to the work we do.”
Jelani Dixon, GCF Service Coordinator at the Forest Houses Eco-Hub and alumni of Cohort 20, shares that, “I love the Eco-Hubs because it’s a space that allows me to pay it forward to the communities I grew up in. Sparking real change within folk, specifically in the South Bronx where I come from is my guiding force. When people see us out braving the elements to rebuild our sites that effort is recognized. Reconstruction out at our Eco-Hub sites has been a process that continuously fills my cup. The camaraderie and endurance on display whilst shoveling tons of soil in frigid temperatures exemplifies the grit that the corps carries with them through service. It has been limitlessly inspiring and pushes me to continue to be fully present in my role.”
GCF Operations Manager, Chloe Lazarus, shares that, “We are reconstructing all of the beds at each site to create increased standardization across all Eco-Hubs. Standardization in bed and row size will make our production a lot more efficient and streamlined so that all members are trained to work effectively at each site and crop planning is more precise and accurate. So far we have been working at Forest Houses and Wagner Houses – one of the largest sites and also our smallest site, respectively. These two sites are getting the most drastic transformation and therefore have required a lot of work!” Chloe also loves the Eco-Hubs “because they really are in the middle of everything and part of the community at each development. It is great to grow food amongst people walking around, commuting to work, and enjoying the playgrounds, etc.”
Our Service Team and Corps Members inspire us with their hard work everyday. GCF loves our community and all of the love for our Eco-Hubs.
We look forward to launching our new farm season this spring with revamped Eco-Hubs. We’re eager to safely return to food distribution, community engagement, and volunteer days as safety and weather allow. We look forward to having you join us soon!
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Happy Valentine’s Day! 💚