Yolande’s Yard: Hamilton Heights Green Youth Market

big4vegBy Yolande Brener

I have often walked past the island at 143rd Street and Amsterdam, but never have I seen it so full of life and good energy as at the official opening of Brotherhood Sister Sol’s Hamilton Heights Green Market on June 17. councilwomanveg

Brotherhood Sister Sol is a youth program that provides support services to young people between 8 and 22. This includes after school care, summer camps, job training and employment, college preparation, and international study programs.

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“We’re providing good food, where here there’s a lack of access to healthy vegetables and fruit for the community,” said cofounder Khary Lazarre-White. “It also teaches the kids about work and healthy food and giving them access to the community. And it runs hand in hand with our mission, which is productivity, knowledge and investment in the future. And that’s what a green market represents. Environmental continuity and the development of mind, body and spirit.”

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The produce is grown on a local farm, which some of the kids visited.  They also grow their own produce in their garden on 143rd Street, and they give their garden-grown fruits and vegetables to local residents, who love it.

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The opening was attended by city officials Gail Brewer and Robert Jackson, as well as BHSS cofounders Khary Lazarr-White and Jason Warwin.  Local residents seemed delighted to see the fruit and vegetable stand, and many stopped to make a purchase.

Robert Jackson joked with the kids that they would have to give him his produce free since he hadn’t brought any cash out.  They laughed, but made him pay anyway.

One girl advised a customer on how he could use the beets in a salad, while another recommended blueberries to Council Member Gail Brewer, who declared them divine.

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The work of Brotherhood Sister Sol has been recognized by Cornell West, Harry Belafonte, and Oprah Winfrey, who said, “The Brotherhood/Sister Sol is using their passion to uplift and inspire a next generation through extraordinary work that creates leaders and a sanctuary for children.”

BHSS has also received coverage from numerous media outlets including NY1, The New York Times, ABC, NBC and BET.

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Harlem and Hamilton Heights are fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in the neighborhood, providing not only healthy food at their Green Market, but food for the soul through their youth program.  The Green Market will be at 143rd Street and Amsterdam Wednesdays throughout the summer.  It’s a great way to support our youth and also a wonderful island of fresh fruit and veg in an area where there is nothing like it nearby.

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