Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New York Yankees & Celebrity Chef, Andrew Carmellini celebrate Harlem Grown

Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka harvests cabbage at HOPE chef's garden event. Photo courtesy of Yankees
This is a first in a series of bylines written by Garden Glamour guest reporter and intern, Shannon Ho

Recently, the New York Yankees and celebrity chef, Andrew Carmellini paid tribute to Harlem Grown

garden and greenhouse on 134th Street as part of the team’s, Helping Others Persevere and Excel (HOPE) Week annual program that since its 2009 launch, the entire Yankee lineup celebrates "individuals, families, or organizations worthy of support.” 

This year, the team and Chef Carmellini surprised Harlem Grown founder Tony Hillery and kindergarten students from PS 125, involving the children in gardening work and healthy food prep demonstrations. 
Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka Is Ready to Dig
Harlem Grown was chosen by the Yankees as an exceptional group to recognize during this philanthropic week. Harlem Grown founder Tony Hillery changed careers in the wake of the 2009 recession, leaving his successful limousine business to eventually create Harlem Grown. It was conceived after Hillery realized that there were little-to-no healthy food options in his neighborhood of Harlem. Wanting to change that, Hillery took an abandoned lot across the street from PS 175, reclaimed it via an application to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, and converted the space into an urban farm. 
Chasen Shreve at L - RIchard Bleier at C - Michael Pineda at R - in the Harlem Grown Greenhouse














“When we learned about Harlem Grown’s beginnings and the difference they were making in the community, it became clear that they were an organization that should be recognized as part of HOPE Week,” said Michael Margolis, Assistant Director of Baseball Information and Public Communications for the New York Yankees.  Margolis also explained that the Yankees team had a preexisting relationship with celebrity Chef Carmellini, and when asked to participate in the day’s events, the chef was “extremely gracious and enthusiastically volunteered his time and energy.”


Chef Andrew Carmellini provided salad demo to budding chefs. Tony Hillary (L), Ivan Nova, R. Photo courtesy of Yankees 

New York Yankees in attendance included: Masahiro Tanaka, Andrew Miller, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Rob Refsnyder, Austin Romine, Chasen Shreve, Kirby Yates and Richard Bleier. 
Andrew Mill shares picked cherries; Tanaka - C, Rob Refsnyder - R














During the ceremonies, the team presented a donation to Harlem Grown on behalf of the Yankees Foundation. Other participants involved were the hip hop group, TheLox, Miss New York USA 2016 Serena Bucaj, and singer-songwriter Kany GarcĂ­a.



Sheek Louch - Jadakiss - Tony HIllery - Styles P - Serena Bucaj - Kany Garcia

Recognizing Harlem Grown during this year’s HOPE Week was based, in part, on the link - or affiliation - to the Yankees’ own healthy dietary habits mission. Players’ dining is coordinated via Cynthia Sass, the Yankees’ Nutritional Consultant, who was also present at Harlem Grown for HOPE Week.

Kirby Yates at L and Chasen Shreve at R Digging at the Farm.
Group Shot with Everyone - Players, Staff, Celebs and Kids














“Our organization is focused on preparing our players in every way, including helping them to incorporate a balanced diet for optimal performance,” Margolis said. “What Harlem Grown is doing is no different. They are showing children what they can eat to feel good on a day-to-day basis and provide the building blocks for a long and healthy life.”


The kindergarteners from PS 125 were chosen to be recognized alongside Hillery because of their working association with the Harlem Grown program and their participation and contribution to the garden and greenhouse throughout the school year. The Yankees Hope program provided the students a hands-on learning experience with an award-winning, farm-to-table chef, in a fun and delicious way. Together, chef and the students harvested, cooked and enjoyed eating the salad that Chef Carmellini prepared.

HOPE Week commenced in 2009 as the Yankees’ way of giving back to organizations, individuals and families off the field. The mission of HOPE Week each year is to inspire and encourage others, and that the acts of goodwill performed reach beyond those who receive them. The initiative hopes to spread altruism, with the fundamental value of “people helping people,” according to the Yankees Foundation.
Yankees Donation Is Presented to Tony Hillery


“Tony Hillery saw a need for healthy food options in the community and opened a door to a new way of thinking about food to hundreds of children and their families,” said Margolis. “Even more importantly, he is able to bring the actual food into their lives.”

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