We spoke with Mac Levine, MPH, Founder & Executive Director of Concrete Safaris, an organization with a mission to provide youth with the experiential education to become environmental leaders and health advocates for themselves and their communities.
Tell us about your work.
During the school year, children (ages 7-12) conduct social science research to better understand what their community wants to eat, and then they create plans for raised bed design, crops, and distribution of produce. In the summer, Outdoor Leadership Academy interns maintain the gardens, host garden-related workshops for camp groups, harvest days, tours for community members, and learn basic entrepreneurship skills to sell a portion of the produce.
Tell us about a recent success.
At this point, 100% of our after school program participants are tasting 100% of the produce they grow. They are so invested by the time that the produce is ready that they are eager to try everything.
Tell us about a recent challenge you have encountered.
One challenge is weather. We have to reschedule events with schools when the weather is inclement, even if volunteers are ready to go.
Any exciting new events or projects?
Concrete Safaris is inviting every third grader in NYC School District 4, East Harlem, to join us for four seasonal field trips per school year. They will decide what to plant, grow, harvest, share, and eat their produce.
Core programs: City Surfers (after school), Outdoor Leadership Academy (internships), Green Exercise Days (field trips), JungleGym (obstacle race)
Main Office Address: 1775 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10029
How Many Full-Time Staff: 3
How Many Volunteers: Over 500/year
Areas you serve: East Harlem
Founding Date: 2008
Founded by: Mac Levine and sixteen 4th and 5th graders