Tony Hillery is the Founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown. Tony founded Harlem Grown to address the health and academic challenges facing public elementary school students in Harlem.
In 2011, Tony began volunteering with a local elementary school and was witnessing first-hand the lack of resources allocated to the schools and the poor nutrition of students. He noticed an abandoned and overrun community garden across the street from the school. Tony rallied volunteers and raised the funds needed to transform the lot into a thriving urban farm, kicking off Harlem Grown’s first-ever growing season.
Tony started with 400 students to plant 400 seedlings. He watched as students transformed their eating habits and learned skills like patience, teamwork, and responsibility. The first season, they grew 38 lbs of produce. In 2018, Harlem Grown expanded to partner with five local Harlem schools, 11 urban agriculture facilities, reached over 4,000 youth, composted over 20,000 lbs of food scraps and grew over 6,300 pounds of fruits and vegetables that are then distributed to families-in-need throughout the community.
Through his efforts and leadership, Harlem Grown plants seeds, but grows healthy children and sustainable communities.
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