Only two years ago, the lot across the street from P.S. 175 in Harlem was desolate: an abandoned community garden overflowing with trash, rats, and weeds. Thanks largely to the elementary school students next door, the space is a garden once more as it overflows with everything from cucumbers and melons to birds and worms, not to mention a ton of fresh basil.
The restoration all started with Tony Hillery, a man who originally came to P.S. 175 to assist the school’s parent coordinator. After spending some time in the area, though, Hillery had a revelation. Walking around the neighborhood, he counted 53 fried chicken restaurants within a three-block radius, and he began to think about the community’s access to nutritious food.
“You have pizza, fried chicken, fried fish, fried everything. I couldn’t get a healthy meal,” he said. “It was an epiphany. I said to myself: Why not do something?” Read More