project leader
Nancie K
2163 Dean Street
(Brownsville, Brooklyn)
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Thanks for donating! We're doing. a final push in Darien's memory

the project

How would you like to help transform a food desert into a green oasis in a Brooklyn neighborhood struck hard by COVID-19? Please join us to empower positive healthy change. We're building 10 farm stands in central Brooklyn's food deserts and we are honored to work with PS 178 and Brooklyn Collegiate High School  - in one of the city's unhealthiest zip codes  - to become the next ray of light fighting for the health and safety of their students and community.

Help us build a student-run Hip2B Healthy Market, a farm stand, edible school gardens, a flea, and healthy cooking fun at this Brownsville school led by Principal Loren Cooper. 

It's no surprise to Seeds in the Middle that minority Brooklyn residents, living in food deserts like Brownsville - home to PS 178 - are the ones dying at the highest rates from COVID-19. Brownsville is in central Brooklyn, one of three neighborhoods in NYC with the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, cancer, and asthma. That means residents have underlying conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19.

Despite the millions being allocated for free food for the city's most vulnerable, Seeds in the Middle is hearing from many of our communities that they can not get fresh fruits and vegetables that can arm adults and children with the nutrients to fight off disease. 

PS 178 is in Zip Code 11233, near neighboring zip code 11212 - two zip codes with among the highest death rates from COVID-19 in the state. 

So we're partnering with Principal Cooper and her faculty and school community to fight back. We're going to build school gardens crafted by each grade and students will run a farmstand and Hip2B Healthy Market to ensure everyone in their food desert can eat fresh and get healthy. Maybe we'll get chickens, too, for fresh eggs. Did you know that raising chickens is legal in NYC?

Help us erase the food desert - help us attempt to be the first urban food desert in the country to become a healthy place to live and learn.

Please donate to empower students to get low-cost and free fresh fruits and vegetables to those who need it the most and build sustainabile businesses that can outlast today's emergency free giveaways. Support us to work alongside educators to promote, share, and enforce healthy habits that can outwit disease. We'll share recipes and information on nutrition and tips to stay well, so families can cook with children at home and help students at home to be academically challenged through cooking.

As we have done at our pilot schools at PS 284 in Brownsville and IS 240 in Flatbush, we will engage talented volunteers who care about health disparities and want to address socioeconomic and racial injustices that undermine health and happiness for so many in the city.

We applaud the city for making efforts to get food to those most in need in central Brooklyn's vulnerable neighborhoods. But we hear from parents that the NYC Dept. of Education "Grab and Go" is not food they can cook at home nor address their concerns for adequate nutrition for their children.

We need funds for materials to build school gardens, pay for EBT/SNAP wireless equipment and supplies and food to launch our Hip2B Healthy Markets and farmstands so children can eat nutritiously when they return to school, plus we need to buy a commercial refrigerator to store fresh farm produce not immediately sold at the market. 

In addition, we want to draw on the good will of people already donating to fine alliances like the mutual aid groups and others who are fortunate enough to pay for their own food and can donate their P-EBT allocations. 

Our big goal out of this pandemic is to empower people in communities of color - in food deserts - to run their own neighborhood, affordable, nearby fresh food stands where economic incentives like food stamps - SNAP/EBT - Farmers Market Nutrition Checks, FMNP - and every other incentive for low-income residents is accepted. We want to build an economy of fresh and healthy, just like that available to more affluent neighborhoods not suffering at the high rates of African-American and Latino residents in NYC. The start-up cost of farm stand with Seeds in the Middle is $10,000-$12,000 for 12 weeks and pays a manager and stipends for youth.

Just take a look here at articles that show how minority Americans are suffering the most and dying in higher numbers from COVID-19:

Let's help everyone cook, eat fresh, and be healthy. We have strong, smart partners in Brownsville. Let's build the bridge so we all rise.

the steps

  • Sept. 1 -  Nov. 15:  Meet with principal and faculty to lay out plan for school year - with remote and on-site learning related to project. Apply for EBT/SNAP permission, reach out to PS 178 families and neighbors to tell them the farmstand is coming, open the market in September. Our gardener, Gandhi, begins building school garden boxes with students once they return to school - a box for each grade from 3k to 8th grade, survey families that need delivery. Work with teachers to integrate curriculum to gardens and farmstand.
  • Nov. 15 - Dec. 25 - Continue market and harvest our gardens. 
  • January-March 2021 - grow seedlings indoor to plant outside, continue student-run Hip2B Healthy Market. 
  • March-June 2021 - Re-open farmstand and work with teachers on gardens and, should COVID-19 allow, offer at least one Chef Night when students work with chefs and  school community to prepare nutritious meal and eat healthy together for the same costs as a fast food combo plus cooking classes so children can prepare healthy snacks for the market 

why we're doing it

Seeds in the Middle was founded in the food deserts in central Brooklyn, namely Crown Heights, in 2009. Over the past decade, despite everyone's efforts, we have seen obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other preventable diseases only rise in central Brooklyn. We still see vast disparities in access to healthy choices across NYC. 

Our focus is in central Brooklyn, ensuring that children and families get to eat healthy, nutritious food and get equal rights to the same healthy lifestyle and options that others take for granted. We want to empower and inspire them to avoid contracting the virus and these diseases. We want to  "teach a man and women to fish" - to be able to create access to fruits and vegetables and prepare nutritious meals in their communities so children everywhere have access to a healthy, promising future.

Nearly 90 percent of the PS 178 students receive free or reduced lunch, meaning they live in poverty. More than 90 percent are children of color, of African-American or Latino background. Many live in temporary housing and nearly a fifth are characterized as with disabilities. Less than half are reading and doing math at grade level. Yet, the children have caring, capable adults around them, who just need extra support readily available to more affluent areas to help everyone rise. We know they can create a healthier place to live and learn; so we are working to give them all the tools and support they need to achieve this - and in turn, raise academic achievement as well. 

Want one example of health disparities? See the graphic here from the CDC that shows that more than twice the number of African-Americans have heart disease than whites.

See New York Times story here: Black Americans face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infections in Some States


Market Manager: $2,000

Garden training and garden supplies: $2,500

Commercial refrigerator: $3,500

Teacher support, administration, EBT/SNAP procurement, insurance, overhead costs: $5,000

EBT/SNAP equipment: $1,000

Supplies for market (tents, printing, aprons, t-shirts, cooking supplies) $1,000

Chef night/cooking classes to serve 100 people with food and recipes: $1,000

ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $16,248
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


Thanks for donating! We're doing. a final push in Darien's memory


You may not know that the older brother of a 9-yera-old student at PS/IS 178 was shot and killed Sept. 2 on the Brownsville streets. Darien Simpson had just helped us collect donations in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gsrdens with his father, Leroy, and JohnnyMae Robinson. Such a shocking and sad story. Anyways - in Darien's memory - we are doing a pop-up fundraising farmstand on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at PS/IS 178. We only have $800 left to meet goal - and excited now Brooklyn Collegiate High School is going to work with us for a culinary cafe! Please give - please ask others to give. Let's change this narrative to a happy, healthy, long life! Thank you so much for giving. Please share with friends. And if you want to donate items to give away on Wednesday, let us know. See the photo... 

Thanks so much to all! We are nearly there!

Hi, everyone!

Thank you so much for donating to our fundraiser to build farm stands and healthy eating and even maybe raise chickens at PS/IS178 and Brooklyn Collegiate HS - Please reach out to friends and ask them to give - we only need $1100 more to get the match to make our goal! Only a week left... Many, many thanks - we are so grateful.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Angela P.
  • Gus G.
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  • Atlantic Towers - September Giving
  • Markets for PS/IS178
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  • Berean Baptist Church - 2nd day of Farmstand
  • Berean Baptist Church - 1st Day farmstand fundraiser
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  • Thanks to Eleanor L.!
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  • Midwood Flats Fresh Market - Aug. 13 - thank you!
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