South Bronx, NY - Inspired by her experiences as a single working mother living in a marginalized community, Tanya Fields founded the BLK ProjeK in 2009 as a response to sexist institutional policies, structurally reinforced cycles of poverty, and harsh inequities in wealth and access to capital that result in far too many women being unable to rise out of poverty and sustain their families. The group was nominated for a 2011 Union Square Award and Tanya has the honor of being a Green for All Fellows, through which she connects with a national cohort of environmental justice change agents. With a Bachelor‚Äôs in Political Science from Baruch College, and a talent for public speaking, blogging and singing, Tanya has become a sought after speaker. She provided a widely praised keynote speech at the 2012 Just Food conference, and served as a plenary panelist for the 2011 conference of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Previous to the BLK ProjeK, Tanya worked with several high profile environmental organizations located in the South Bronx - Mothers on the Move, Sustainable South Bronx and the Majora Carter Group. Tanya built upon the network, skills, resources and knowledge she gained through those experiences to create the BLK ProjeK. The BLK ProjeK is promoting women- and youth-owned enterprises that provide access to affordable good food, promote green open space, and support public and mental health.
The BLK ProjeK approaches economic development holistically by empowering underserved women of color through political education, community engagement in support of the beautification of community spaces and urban farming, and women-centered preventive health programming. For the last year the BLK ProjeK has run quarterly Bronx Grub community meals in which community members share healthy food, listen to speakers, discuss issues and build community. Tanya recently brought the Bronx Grub series to the BMW-Guggenheim Lab, a public arts space, and attracted over 125 visitors in the span of an hour. Tanya and the BLK ProjeK are currently working with Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo to create an urban farm called the Libertad Urban Farm in the Longwood community of the Bronx. She has foraged a formal relationship with Wassiac Community Farm in upstate New York, providing local women with the opportunity to experience farming in rural New York. The BLK ProjeK has laid the groundwork to open a year-long community led local fresh and prepared food market in the Bronx, the Green BLK Market, which has received funding to incubate site specific healthy food vendors.
Recipient of the Fellows Fund micro-grant award for: The Green BLK Market - Community Led Farmer's Market Bronx, NY- The BLK ProJek
The goal of the Green BLK Market is to further provide the Hunts Point/Longwood community with viable, accessible, affordable and healthy food options while giving the communities most underserved demographic economic and educational opportunities and helping to stimulate local economy. R. 1. Providing at least 75 families from the immediate community access to affordable, locally grown produce each week; 2. Providing underserved women and youth the opportunity to increase their monthly income by 12 - 40%; 3. Train a minimum of 6 women and 6 youth to cooperatively run the Green BLK Market; 4. Using the market to facilitate community based family activities and opportunities to build community; and 5. Utilize market as an educational tool for healthy holistic living.