Marcus Meets Malcolm Brings Community Together on West 120th Street

by Annette Nielsen
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

What they do: Marcus Meets Malcolm (MMM) is a community-driven organization located on West 120th Street between Mount Morris Park West (at Marcus Garvey Park) and Malcolm X Boulevard in the heart of Harlem. It was created through a partnership with the New York City Open Streets initiative at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to offer a variety of programs in the neighborhood.

MMM launched at a time when there was a need for gathering outdoors, and since then its street-based programming has continued and thrived, bringing children and adults together through intergenerational discussions and activities often culminating in a shared community meal. Each year, MMM provides programming for thousands of families.

How they do it: Founded by three women of African descent, MMM was designed to strengthen the Harlem community with innovative, culturally appropriate programming. There is a revolving calendar of celebrations including Juneteenth, Black History Month, Solstice, Asian American culture and the Lunar New Year, Stoop Sessions with band performances, Halloween, Christmas, Easter-Passover-Ramadan, birthdays, graduations, community pot-lucks, health and wellness days with Harlem Soul Sanctuary, sound baths with Urban Yoga, weekly Zumba and dance classes, as well as special performances by the Flatbed Follies’ Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Instruction in photography, cooking, skateboarding, chess, career exploration and more, also are on rotation throughout each month, and all programs are provided free of charge.

The block has been designated car-free, making it easily accessible to pedestrians while also reducing traffic and air pollution.

Latest projects/campaigns: MMM’s Food Equity/Compost Initiatives include

  • Cooking sessions to educate kids and adults about delicious and healthy recipes and cooking methods.
  • A composting program to increase awareness of and combat food waste.
  • Sunday Suppers that bring people together and feed the community.

Major Funding: Individual giving is what started MMM, but they have financial support from NYC DOT’s Open Streets, Edward Jones, Serengeti Teas & Spices, the Partnership for Parks, the Morris Park Community Improvement Association, Hepworth Farms, and the assistance of volunteers from from various corporations.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

An interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: At the beginning of the pandemic, MMM supported a community fridge filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Their programming is focused on gathering together around food and emphasizes incorporating physical activity with healthful food choices for greater health and wellness.

Location: New York City
Core Focus and Programs: Children, Adults and Families – all free of charge
Areas served: Harlem
Year Started: 2020
Contact information: Email address, social media channels and website, IG:120thmmm,

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