August 01, 2011

Gillibrand Announces $197,500 Grant For Weeksville Heritage Center

Funding Will Help Central Brooklyn Communities Access Fresh Food, Nutrition Education

Brooklyn, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced today $197,500 in federal funding for the Weeksville Heritage Center to provide low-income Brooklyn residents with access to fresh, healthy food and nutrition education while keeping with Central Brooklyn’s African American gardening and cooking traditions.  Funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“It's important to keep Brooklyn communities green and healthy,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Federal funding for Weeksville Heritage Center will help grow Central Brooklyn's agriculture economy and bring fresh, local food to Brooklyn families.”

The federal grant will strengthen Weeksville Heritage Center’s Sustainable Weeksville programs, which will launch in August and extend through July 2013. Programs include an on-site Farmers Market that provides cooking and nutrition workshops, botany and community gardening programs for elementary and high school students, and a high school youth apprenticeship program. Funds will also be used to develop outreach strategies, pilot a youth-run program and support the organization’s Community Advisory Council.

Weeksville Heritage Center is a non-profit organization that aims to document and preserve the history of African American communities in Weeksville, Brooklyn. The center provides innovative, creative programs that create stronger, self-sufficient communities.

Last week, Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to sit on the Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, urged USDA Deputy Undersecretary Ann Wright to fix the USDA’s website tool that maps food deserts. The website currently omits New York City’s food deserts, including areas in Central Brooklyn.