A Novel Pilot Brings Vertical Farms to Public Housing (Jersey City Housing Authority)

Date Published: 
November 2nd, 2021

From Bloomberg:

A public housing community in Jersey City received an unusual amenity earlier this month: an indoor farm that will produce 550 pounds of free leafy greens a year. It’s the first of 10 aeroponic farms that will be installed across the city in a novel pilot program called ​​Healthy Greens JC that aims to tackle food insecurity by merging technology, education and food access.

The program, which will provide a total of 19,000 pounds of free greens to eligible city residents in its first year, aims not just to bring healthier food options to low-income communities, but also to better educate residents about nutrition and healthy eating “as a starting point for a healthier Jersey City,” said Stacey Flanagan, Jersey City’s director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Healthy Greens JC, which will add other farms at housing, education and community facilities across the city, is the nation’s first municipal vertical farming program, but other programs are bubbling up to pair affordable housing and farms. 

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop first connected with the vertical farm company AeroFarms through the World Economic Forum’s Healthy Cities and Communities Initiative, which aims to facilitate partnerships between public and private stakeholders to foster healthier outcomes. The city worked out a deal with the company to build and maintain the 10 indoor farms, which, like all the company’s farms, use water-efficient aeroponic technology to grow food indoors, and without using soil. 


AeroFarms is currently building a farm at Marion Gardens, another public housing community. The city plans to rely on existing partnerships with the Jersey City Housing Authority and their ongoing relationships with groups like the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Boys & Girls Club and Head Start to expand their reach and foster engagement with the farm. 

“One of the things that’s really exciting is that Head Start has expressed interest in not only having the kids visit the farm but also integrating some of the greens into its meals,” said Vivian Brady-Phillips, the executive director of the Jersey City Housing Authority. 

Read Bloomberg's article "A Novel Pilot Brings Vertical Farms to Public Housing," feautring the Jersey City Housing Authority.

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