The UN Food Gardens (UNFG) is a voluntary UN staff initiative establishing food gardens on the premises of the UN Headquarters in New York. Its mission is to advocate environmental responsibility, food security, small-scale urban agriculture and community building by leading by example and showcase the process of growing food in an increasingly challenging urban landscape. The group collaborates with many external and internal partners such as NYC GreenThumb Programme, Brooklyn Grange, FAO, IFAD and WFP.

UNFG initiated a relationship with the UNICEF Cafeteria exchanging locally-grown produce in return for coffee grounds for compost, and was able to expand composting capacities to 400kg last fall. Promoting the process of composting provides a local-source fertilizer that replenishes the soil and addresses the issue of reducing waste. In line with this, UNFG emphasizes educating staff on caring for the local environment and acknowledging the global issues of food waste and insecurity.

UN Food Gardens, in partnership with UN-Habitat, hosted Feed Your City, a showcase of small-scale urban agriculture initiatives in the Americas to share experiences and incentivize policy action in the context of SDG 2, 3, 1 and 15, and in the context of the New Urban Agenda adopted at the Habitat III conference.

The project was initiated by Elena de Jesus, Vice President, and Stina Nyström, President of the UNFG and focused on community building by using the global platform of the UN to highlight local efforts of sustainable urban agriculture and engagement. The project reached some 30.000 people and highlighted the work of local urban agriculture initiatives which help make cities resilient. A new open call for Feed Your City is scheduled for fall 2018.
UNFG also hosts an Annual Youth event bringing together stakeholders from the international community and local youth leaders to discuss urban agriculture, resilience, community engagement and food security. Stina Nystrom has worked continuously in bringing in the perspective of youth to the conversation as their innovative solutions are fundamental to ensure the implementation of the SDGs.

A partnership with IFAD will be launched in the summer to showcase equipment used in the field by small-scale farmers in an effort to highlight the importance of technological innovation to promote food security.

Overall, UNFG aims to “walk the talk” and support the global work of the UN by promoting good practice on a local level. Find out more about UNFG projects here, on Facebook and on the website!