Albany's 3rd Avenue Harvest Garden

By Jessica Pasko

a YO! studentA tomato grows in Albany. Actually, lots of tomatoes and beans and herbs and a whole bunch of other good stuff. It's all grown in Albany's South End by volunteers from Youth Organics, with the help of the Hunger Action Network of New York State. If you live in Albany, and you want to eat locally, it's hard to get more local than this.

Here's how it works.

Student crews from the community gardening program grow the veggies in a harvest garden down on 3rd Street on land donated by the Albany Housing Authority.

YO! helps students learn about sustainable agriculture and teaches them leadership skills. Student workers receive a stipend at the end of the summer in an effort to teach the value of responsibility and hard work. Students get guidance from Jess Oppenheimer, who oversees the project, and lots of help from community residents and volunteers.

There are a few ways to get involved with the community garden.

1. Volunteer to work
Not only can you get dirty, you can also take home shares of produce!

2. Buy a share of the garden
If you're not up for getting dirty, you could buy a share of the garden as part of their Community Supported Agriculture program. Shares are $100 dollars (the cost helps provide discount shares for low income South End residents). Members can order the produce they want and pick it up on Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

3. Check out their farm stand
It's open Thursday nights from 5:30 to 6:30.

Everything grown is non-certified organic. All proceeds will go directly to YO! and the 3rd Avenue Harvest Garden.

For more information, you can also e-mail YO! at

photo: Youth Organics

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