GreenThumb is excited to announce our 2017 GrowTogether Conference keynote speakers will be Tony Hillery and Kadiatou Ba.
Tony Hillery Bio
Tony Hillery is the Founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown. Tony founded Harlem Grown to address the health and academic challenges facing public elementary school students in Harlem.
In 2011, Tony began volunteering with a local elementary school and was witnessing first-hand the lack of resources allocated to the schools and the poor nutrition of students. While volunteering, Tony noticed an abandoned community garden across the street from the school: students called it “the haunted garden.” Tony rallied volunteers and raised the funds needed to transform the lot into a thriving urban garden, kicking off Harlem Grown’s first-ever growing season.
The first year, Tony worked with 400 students to plant 400 seedlings. He watched as students transformed their eating habits and learned skills like patience and responsibility. The first season, they grew 38lbs of produce.
In 2016, Harlem Grown expanded to partner with six local Harlem schools, reach over 4,500 youth and grew over 2,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables that are then distributed to families-in-need throughout the community. This year Harlem Grown will open a brand new farm on 127th Street to continue reach more youth in Harlem and inspire them to lead healthy and ambitious lives. Tony continues to inspire youth and adults alike through his work at Harlem Grown.
Kadiatou (Kadi) Ba has been a youth participant at Harlem Grown since its inception 5 years ago. Through her work farming with Harlem Grown, she has learned not only the importance of eating healthy, but has also fostered a deeper sense of community and what it means to grow nutritious foods sustainably that give back to the community. She is currently enrolled at Columbia Secondary School in Harlem.