Green City Force

by Leah Butz
Green City Force
630 Flushing Ave
Address Line 2
8th Floor
Secondary Address
Red Hook Houses Farm, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Howard Houses Farm, Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY 11212
Bay View Houses Farm, Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY 11236
Wagner Houses Farm, East Harlem, New York, NY 10035
Forest Houses Farm, Morrisania, Bronx, NY, 10456
Mariner’s Harbor Houses, North Shore, Staten Island, NY, 10303
Third Address
New York City Housing Authority developments city-wide.
Phone Number
(646) 681-4700
Director, Manager or CEO
Lisbeth Shepherd
Mission Statement
Green City Force’s (GCF) mission is to break the cycle of poverty, preparing young adults who live in public housing to succeed in their chosen careers by engaging them in service, training and work experiences related to the green economy.

In doing so, GCF encourages them to lead socially and environmentally responsible lives. We are working towards a “green city” built on principles of sustainability, social, economic and environmental justice.
Community members served per month
Number of staff/employees
Annual Budget
$5.5 million
Year Started
Major Funders
ALLINBKLYN; AmeriCorps via The Corps Network; Anonymous; Arbor Brothers; Bank of America; Blessing Way Foundation; Brooklyn Community Foundation; Capital One; Celery Design Collaborative (pro bono); Community Service Society; Con Edison; Citi Foundation; Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust; Fund for Public Health in New York; Growth Squared LLC; Hamond Family Foundation; Hirsch Family Foundation; Hyde and Watson Foundation; JRM Construction Management; Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund; Leon Lowenstein Foundation; Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; L+M Development Partners; Mary J. Hutchins Foundation; Merck Family Fund; The M&T Charitable Foundation; New York City Council; New York City Department of Sanitation; New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; New York City Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships; The New York Community Trust; New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA); Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (pro bono); The Pinkerton Foundation; Police Athletic League; The Scherman Foundation; William C. Bullitt Foundation
Latest Projects
Farms at NYCHA, a program of the mayoral Building Healthy Communities initiative has brought 6 large scale farms to NYC public housing property that expand healthy food access, provide youth workforce and leadership development, and promote sustainable and connected public housing communities. Green City Force is moving forward after completing Phase One of Farms at NYCHA onto the next phase, creating hubs within these spaces to provide an even wider array of services and engagement opportunities for public housing residents.
Interesting Fact
Built the first large-scale urban farm on NYC public housing property, the NYCHA Farm at Red Hook West Houses, in partnership with Added Value and NYCHA’s Gardening and Greening program. Since 2013, GCF has distributed over 90,000 lbs. of organic produce to New York City Housing Authority residents from the Farms at NYCHA.
Areas Served
New York City, all five boroughs
Core Programs
Service Initiatives
During their service term, Corps Members conduct high-visibility, high-impact service initiatives that serve to make NYCHA communities more sustainable and healthy. GCF’s two core service initiatives are described below.

The Love Where You Live (LWYL) Campaign promotes NextGen NYCHA Sustainability goals through resident-to-resident education about sustainable behavior changes in the home.
LWYL is a resident-to-resident “credible messenger” model that educates NYCHA residents about changes they can make in their homes to reduce their impact on the environment. LWYL has been recognized as a national model, combining sustainability, workforce development and resident education through service in public housing, and is aligned with the goals of HUD’s STEM, Energy, Economic Development (SEED) initiative. The LWYL campaign incorporates modules around energy efficiency, wastewater (“Cease the Grease”) and recycling (“NYCHA Recycles!”) in partnership with NYCHA, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the NYC Department of Sanitation and GrowNYC.
In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice’s, GCF targets recruitment and service for the LWYL campaign to the 15 neighborhoods in NYCHA that account for 20% of violent crime, bringing alternatives into these NYCHA communities.

GCF service Corps Members increase access to healthy food, provide youth workforce and leadership development, and promote sustainable and connected public housing communities on six large-scale urban farms located across four boroughs. Corps Members learn to manage, plant, distribute, and educate local NYCHA residents. Fresh produce is distributed to NYCHA residents for free in exchange for their household compost or volunteer time. Graduates are employed in expanding sectors including urban agriculture, energy efficiency, solar, and composting. They also bring their green skills and knowledge to more traditional employment in construction, building maintenance and operations.
Farms at NYCHA, powered by GCF, is part of Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a citywide partnership devised to improve health outcomes in 12 neighborhoods in New York City. Through the initiative, GCF works with NYCHA, The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and local CBO partners to further develop access to affordable healthy food.

Wraparound Services
Every cohort has an assigned social worker who follows their progress, stays with them in service and holds regular meetings with participants. Members are engaged in psycho-educational power sessions throughout their term of service as a tool to support their personal and professional development. Corps Members are engaged in instruction topics that include Emotional Intelligence, Attitude, Active Listening, Introduction Effective Communication, Emotion Management, and Problem Solving.
Members are exposed to intimate group sessions where members support each other in their development through exploration, learning and behavior change. Members discuss identity, self-compassion, and acceptance as a collective, to grow from shared challenges and experiences.
Throughout the term, Corps Members work with our Career and Alumni Services team to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace post-corps. This includes professional development, hard skills, power skills, resume development, interview practice and more.

Alumni Services
Once Corpsmembers have completed their terms of service, the Career and Alumni Service team helps graduates advance in their career paths. Each graduating Corps Members receives a Segal AmeriCorps education award that may be used toward college or continued training. GCF supports alumni with continue job placement, continued career counseling, access to continued technical trainings, and work opportunities in our social enterprise programs.
Major Issues
Environmental Issues of the Food System, Energy Efficiency, Urban Agriculture, National Service as a platform for workforce development
Hours of Operation
Farm stands are open to NYCHA residents from June - November; Each location has one to two weekly farm stands. Check with your local farm for details.
Frequently used hashtags
#FarmsatNYCHA; #HealthyCommunities; #LoveWhereYouLive; #JoinTheForce
  • Green City Force
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