Green City Growers Founder and CEO Jessie Banhazl Named 2019 USA Eisenhower Fellow
September 6, 2019 /3BL Media/ — Jessie Banhazl, founder and CEO of the Massachusetts-based urban agriculture company Green City Growers (GCG), is one of 13 recipients of the 2019 USA Eisenhower Fellowship. Created in 1953, the fellowship sends mid-career professionals to countries around the world to learn best practices that they can apply to communities and companies in the United States.
On receiving the fellowship, Banhazl said, “I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing ideas internationally, forwarding the mission of urban agriculture on a global scale.”
For her fellowship, Banhazl will travel to Germany, Sweden, and France to meet with representatives of urban agriculture companies and organizations, as well as government and community leaders.
“During my time in Europe, I hope to better understand the mechanisms that will lead to urban agriculture becoming a sustainable, robust industry in the US,” she said. “There is huge potential for urban farming to become a sizable industry that could fuel the creation of jobs, address the obesity epidemic through providing healthier food options to Americans, grow food in a more environmentally sustainable way, and change the culture around how urban spaces are used to best serve the residents.”
In addition to learning best practices, Banhazl said that she would like the opportunity to offer useful advice and insights to her European colleagues. “Having run an urban farming company for 11 years in America, I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t,” she said.
Banhazl’s fellowship runs from September through October 2019. During her time abroad, she will write a blog about her experiences. Next May, she will officially graduate from the Eisenhower Fellowship program and serve as a resource for future fellows. Also, she will be required to complete a project that details her ideas for making urban agriculture a more viable and sustainable industry in the US.
Founded in 2008, Green City Growers is a mission-driven company transforming underutilized spaces into bio-diverse productive landscapes, providing clients with immediate access to hyper-local food while inspiring self-sufficiency through engagement. The Somerville, MA-based company manages New England’s largest rooftop farm on top of the Whole Foods Market in Lynnfield, MA, and it manages “Fenway Farms” at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. GCG also manages 100 unique locations throughout the Northeast, including school garden programs for 2,000 students annually, and corporate wellness programs for property management companies such as National Development and Benchmark Senior Living.