WE ACT for Environmental Justice: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Cameron St. Germain

What they do: WE ACT was started in 1988 when three fearless community leaders saw that environmental racism was rampant in their West Harlem neighborhood and they demanded community-driven, political change. Today, they empower hundreds of people of color and low-income residents in northern Manhattan to create change within their neighborhoods and local environments.

How they do it: While there are many indicators of what makes up a healthy community, they currently focus on campaigns and projects related to: climate justice, clean air, healthy homes, sustainable and equitable land use, and good jobs.

Mission: WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan community-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.

Latest project/campaign: See their current campaigns page: weact.org/campaigns

Major Funding: N/A

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: N/A

Interesting facts about how they are working to positively affect the food system:

  • They have over 500+ active community residents who are considered members of the organization, and give input on the type of work WE ACT for Environmental Justice does and the issues within their community that need to be solved.
  • They are one of the first environmental justice organizations in New York State, and the first in NYC.
  • They are the only environmental justice organization with a Washington DC office.



  • 1854 Amsterdam Avenue (at 152nd Street), 2nd Floor
  • New York, NY 10031

Core Programs: Organizing, research, advocacy, policy

Number of staff: 16

Number of volunteers: 10-15

Area served:

  • Northern Manhattan

Year started: 1988

Director: Peggy Shepard

Contact Information:

(212) 961-1000


Photo credit: WE ACT for Environmental Justice

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