Providing Food Support Through Mutual Aid in East Brooklyn

by Emily Solomon

Name:  East Brooklyn Mutual Aid

What they do: East Brooklyn Mutual Aid (EBMA) is a volunteer-led initiative that services food-insecure individuals throughout Brooklyn’s eastern neighborhoods. They provide free groceries and social services to community members in Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York, Starrett City, and Cypress Hills.

How they do it: EBMA was created to provide immediate food support to those affected by COVID-19 and has expanded to strengthen movements for food sovereignty and community-reliance in East Brooklyn. EBMA uses community organizing and advocacy as key tools for building and funding community-powered food networks.

Major Funding: The organization is supported by crowdfunding, and community members have consistently donated since its opening. They have also received a grant from the J.M. Kaplin fund that has allowed them to expand their community programs in Brownsville and Cypress Hills.

Annual Budget: About $150,000 a year.

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system and current campaign: EBMA is currently working towards opening two food hubs, one in Brownsville and the other in Cypress Hills Local Development Corp within the next year. The location in Brownsville will be a 30,000 square foot space that includes a hydroponic farm, a grocery store, a cafe, and resources for community members. The Cypress Hills location will have a retail section for residents to shop wholesale as well as a kitchen to distribute prepared food from farms that EBMA works with. These will both begin to outline the larger community food hub model that EBMA will implement. EBMA will also work with residents of the community to make their spaces financially and culturally inclusive. 


Location: East Brooklyn 

Core Programs: EBMA partners with several organizations including the Phoenix Community Garden, the Free Fridge Community, Collective Fare, Christian Cultural Center, Teens for Food Justice, Brownsville Collaborative Middle School, Camp Friendship Food Pantry, the Corbin Hill Food Project, and 9 Million Reasons to collect food boxes for its community. Over the past 16 weeks, EBMA and partnered food-distribution organizations packed more than 1,000 boxes of food a week. 

Number of volunteers: Approximately 30 active volunteers and seeking new board members.

Areas served: East Brooklyn

Year Started: 2020

Contact Information:

Social Media: Follow East Brooklyn Mutual Aid on Instagram, Facebook, and their website for updates on current work and emerging priorities.

Related Articles

Subscribe To Weekly NYC Food Policy Watch Newsletter
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, reports and event information
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.