The NYC Land-Based Healing Project is a community-based research project taking place from May 2023 – February 2024.


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NYC Land-Based Healing Project

Pilot Program

The Academy is proud to support Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams, Principal Investigator (PI) and Dr. Regina Bernard-Carreño (Co-PI) in the NYC Land-Based Healing Project. Funded by a CUNY Interdisciplinary Research Grant, this project seeks to better understand how urban farms and gardens support wellbeing in the context of historical trauma and structural racism.

The project team selected five NYC community farms or gardens, representing each borough, and recruited a multidisciplinary research team that includes ten Black youth or youth of color (Ages 14-24) who are working on the farms or gardens and one elder/mentor from each garden or farm. Between May 2023–February 2024, this team will create oral histories of their community garden or farm and co-design a land-based healing approach.

The five anchor community farms or gardens selected to participate in the NYC Land-Based Healing Project are:

  • DIVAS for Social Justice, Resilience Garden, Queens
  • H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, Skyline Community Garden, Staten Island
  • La Finca del Sur (alongside La Isla and Sweet Gum Youth Garden), Bronx
  • The Brotherhood Sister Sol, Frank White Memorial Garden, Manhattan
  • United Community Centers, East New York Youth Farm, Brooklyn

The research team also acknowledges Red Hook Farms of Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn for contributing to this project's vision and design.

This project is unique in that it centers the expertise, curiosity, joy, and healing of Black youth, and youth of color, shifting their role in healing work from consumers of services to researchers and designers of holistic interventions who shape the programs and approaches that are meant to support their wellbeing.

– Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams


Project PI
Anna Ortega-Williams


Project Co-PI
Regina Bernard-Carreño

Research Consultant
Nkemka Anyiwo

Research Consultant
Vanessa Nisperos

Research Consultant
Elise Tosatti

Research Coordinator
Kia-Noelle Brown