A headshot of Tony Hillery
Tony Hillery

Tony Hillery is the founder and executive director of Harlem Grown.  In 2011 he began volunteering at a public elementary school in Harlem.  There, he noticed the vacant lot across the street and had a big idea.  After seeing how restless the students were and noticing their lack of healthy food options, Tony invited children from the underfunded school to turn a vacant lot into a beautiful and functional farm.  By getting their hands dirty, these kids turned an abandoned space into something beautiful and useful while learning about healthy, sustainable eating and collaboration.  Today, the kids and their parents, which the support of the Harlem Grown staff, grow thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables a year.  All of it is given to the kids and their families.  Harlem Grown is a now a youth development nonprofit utilizing food justice as a vehicle for social transformation.  Although the organization’s work has always centered around food justice, the recent events have driven its members deeper into their work with more intention than ever before.  Their focus has not expanded from a food justice platform to deliver all programming, services and activities through a deeper racial and social justice lens with disciplined attention to race and ethnicity