project leader
Timothy B
513 W. 158th St.
(Washington Heights)
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the project

Our project aims to improve the environment, local economy & community health of Washington Heights & other low income communities of color in Northern Manhattan. We plan on doing this by formally establishing an environmental & community health 501 c3 Non-Profit; establishing the Northern Manhattan Food Box Program; running an environmental youth leadership summer camp in the community garden we steward; hosting a Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) at Green spaces that we steward & provide mental health & wellness programming free of charge for the community. Our community group Progressive Environmental Partners (PEP) is made up of a diverse group of Washington Heights residents who have worked together for 4 years to improve the environment & community health; increase resource acquisition to address public health & social capital needs; provide youth/community employment & leadership training opportunities & improve the general environmental living conditions of Washington Heights.

This project idea is born out of ongoing mutual aid efforts we have been establishing within our community garden space since our founding 4 years ago. The first year of the pandemic we handed out 375 hand sewn cloth masks & PPE kits to the community during the summer of 2020. We also helped community members get access to resources & helped navigate application processes to access unemployment; housing assistance and other programs. We have also done direct cash assistance for those who need it, totaling more than $800. This Summer 2021 we trialed an experimental learning environmental & community health summer camp with 14 kids ages 4-8. We had free yoga for kids to nurture healthy minds & bodies. The children that participated in this summer camp learned the basics of how to organically garden; crop prepare/rotate during changing seasons; integrated pest management & how to nurture healthy soil. With these funds we plan on buying supplies to formally launch this summer camp during the summer of 2022 with a deeper hands on learning dive into environmental systems such as composting, worm farming, pollinator habitat & pest management education within an urban environment.

In 2022 we are establishing two more roof top farms & beginning a campaign to turn a decades old local abandoned lot into a functioning urban farm. As a 501c3 non profit we aim to hire locals to work the urban farms & utilize the city owned green spaces we steward as sites for Summer Youth Employment Programs. We also aim to help other small community groups who may need a fiscal sponsor with fee free fiscal sponsorship so that we can collectively increase resource acquisition for our resource starved communities. Our big goal out of this pandemic is to empower people in Northern Manhattan communities to craft beautiful green spaces to gather as a community & rebuild both their physical & mental health within these spaces. We can't let the Covid pandemic & poverty define the destiny of local children in a neighborhood battling high crime & crises yet full of productive, talented individuals & dedicated community members capable of forging positive change.


the steps

In response to the pandemic PEP formed the 158th street food box program to provide fresh organic vegetables & fresh eggs (we have hens in the garden since May 2020) for individuals who are elderly, disabled, immunocompromised, or single-parents. We partnered with a local building owner & established a rooftop farm to provide more vegetables to our food box program that we couldn't grow in the garden. In 2020 we had forty milk crates growing food on the rooftop farm for our food box program. During 2021 we increased our food production volume on the rooftop farm to 125 five gallon containers hooked up to a drip irrigation system that has grown over 350 pounds of food this year for our food box program. Our food box program for the past two years has been funded solely by members of PEP. We began our food box program with 15 people in need. Initially we thought we would be doing this for a few months a year max. Almost two years later we are providing food security to 36 people in need.

In 2022 we aim to incorporate as a 501 c3 Nonprofit so that we can partner with food banks, non-profits, & other food providers to increase the resource providing ability of the Northern Manhattan Food Box Program.

We are gonna formally launch this summer camp during the summer of 2022 with it being more structured and having a deeper hands on learning dive into environmental systems such as composting, worm farming, pollinator habitat & pest management education within an urban environment. 

In 2022 we are establishing two more roof top farms & beginning a campaign to turn a decades old local abandoned lot into a functioning urban farm.



why we're doing it

Northern Manhattan has a lack of environmental & community leadership within low income neighborhoods like ours that has helped exasperate public health epidemics for decades. Washington Heights & many other Northern Manhattan communities before the Covid-19 pandemic were still in the throes of harm from back-to-back epidemics in our communities: crack, HIV, violence, obesity, diabetes. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit our community of Washington Heights in 2020 there was more deaths from Covid in our neighborhood than any other neighborhood in Manhattan. According to NYC Public Health data 1 out of every 241 residents in Washington Heights has died from coronavirus & 1 out of every 8.67 Washington Heights residents has been diagnosed with covid-19 since the pandemic started. On top of the high rates of infection & covid related deaths we also have had a resurgence of violent crime, drug addiction, homelessness & small business closures occur in Washington Heights as well. Our community also remains the most at risk communities within Manhattan for the variants of the coronavirus.

According to Food Bank NYC, some food pantries experienced over a 700 percent increase in clients due to the coronavirus crisis. Across New York City, there has been a 53% increase in food pantry clients since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, 40% of food pantries have closed due to coronavirus-related risks. Now more than ever, New Yorkers are struggling to feed themselves & their families. Food pantries are struggling to meet their demands & individuals continue to face financial hardship. Many people who rely on emergency food assistance struggle to access the available food due to their status as elderly, disabled, immunocompromised, or single-parent individuals. There is over 1.5 million people experiencing food-insecurity in New York City. Projects like ours can solve issues with food-insecurity using the resources that already exist within our communities to meet the collective demand across our city.

In order to heal the traumas within our communities & recover from the epidemics that have been holding our communities back all these decades we must engage & empower local communities. Building social capital & providing the resources for our communities to thrive & live healthier lives effectively allows us to confront our uncertain future & the enduring, structural problems that plague New York City (one of the world's richest but most unequal cities). Providing a greener environment & employment to the people who reside & labor in our neighborhoods is essential in building a greener, more equal, & healthier future for Washington Heights & other low income working class communities in Northern Manhattan. The opportunity to participate in community change evolves over time. We believe that collaboration is key & that strong partnerships grow over the years with collaboration not competition. We believe that anyone who has been through a process of change comes to have faith that change is possible. While they might not have all the skills they need to make change, they have the basic belief in change & this belief in change is what is needed to move our community from fracture to restoration. By giving people urban farms to work & community green spaces to garden in we are transforming our community environments from gray to green & empowering locals to lead healthier lives. We believe our work will inspire other similar neighborhoods to do the same. Our communities are low-income & people of color. They are equally deserving of having healthy places to live & learn as anyone else and we have the capacity & imagination to create it, too. We will enable that to happen with your funding support.



Community Health Programming

Yoga Instructor: $250

Zumba instructor: $250

food pantry program : $1,800

Youth Leadership summer camp $1,000

Workshop materials for summer camp: $500


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
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.  


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