Addressing Food insecurity on the Far Rockaway Peninsula

November 20, 2023
Far Rockaway NYC

By: Aliya Brown

The impact of limited food access and the existence of food deserts in Far Rockaway, Queens, are profound. Residents face challenges in obtaining fresh, nutritious food options, leading to a reliance on convenience stores with inflated prices and  limited healthy choices. This scarcity not only jeopardizes physical health but also contributes to broader issues, including food insecurity and economic disparities. Addressing these challenges is essential for fostering a healthier and more equitable community, as doing so directly influences the overall vitality of Far Rockaway.

The intersection of food access and education becomes a cornerstone for building a resilient and thriving community in Far Rockaway, and TFFJ is striving to transform the Rockaway Peninsula into a hub for fresh food, nutrition education, and healthy living for students and the local community. We are proud to announce that the TFFJ hydroponic farm at the Far Rockaway Educational Campus will be joined this academic school year by three additional farms that have received pre-engagement funding from the USDA.

  • Far Rockaway Educational Campus
    • Grows up to 6,000 pounds of produce per year
    • Serves 1,700+ students
  • Scholars’ Academy
    • Will grow up to 9,000 pounds of produce per year
    • Serves 1,100+ students
  • P.S. 183 Dr. Richard R. Green School
    • Will grow up to 6,300 pounds of produce per year
    • Serves 460+ students
  • M.S. 53 Brian Piccolo
    • Will grow up to 6,300 pounds of produce per year
    • Serves 1,000+ students

Together, all four farms will provide STEM education & leadership development to over 4,000 students; produce over 27,000 pounds of fresh produce for school & community events; train 20 teachers to use hydroponic farms as hands-on labs for STEM and agriculture studies; and support local food-insecure community members via partnerships with local community-based organizations.  In fact, programming has already started at multiple schools, where students are preparing for high-capacity hydroponic farms by using smaller hydroponic towers, DIY grow-kits, and experimental vine crop systems to grow food, as well as participating in the farm-build process.

Through these student-led farms, TFFJ continues to ensure that under-resourced members of the community have access to healthy, nutritious food, which is essential to strengthening overall individual and community health and resilience. Access to healthy food and nutritional education is crucial on the Rockaway Peninsula. In this vibrant community, ensuring food security is not only about meeting basic needs but also promoting overall well-being. By fostering awareness and providing resources for healthy eating, we can empower students and residents to make informed choices, positively impacting their health and quality of life.

The Far Rockaway Farm Hub is a project of Teens for Food Justice, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Queens South Borough Office, New York City Council with special thanks to Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers, and the New York State Assembly with special thanks to Assemblyman Khaleel M. Anderson.

Aliya Brown is the Senior Communications & Content Manager at Teens For Food Justice.

More Reading

Newsletter Sign Up