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Mayor Adams Appoints Qiana Mickie As Director Of New Mayor’s Office Of Urban Agriculture

September 23, 2022

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of Qiana Mickie as director of the newly-created Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture. As director, Mickie will oversee the administration’s efforts to support, strengthen, and expand the city’s network of community gardens and urban farms, in alignment with Mayor Adams’ vision for a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable city. The announcement comes as the administration celebrates Climate Week.

“Making our cityscape greener isn’t just a slogan — it’s a centerpiece of our agenda,” said Mayor Adams. “Urban agriculture is a growing industry in our city that has the potential to expand the supply of healthy and locally grown food, create jobs, and make our city more resilient. Qiana brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role, and as director of the new Office of Urban Agriculture, she will play an integral role in advancing my food and sustainability agenda.”

Mayor Adams has long promoted the growth of urban agriculture. As Brooklyn borough president, he invested millions of dollars in capital funding into vertical farming and hydroponics labs in schools throughout the borough. In 2021, he released the New Agrarian Economy, a policy blueprint for the future of urban agriculture. Through the creation of the new Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture — which signals the mayor’s commitment to supporting the city’s urban farmers — the administration will continue to advance policies to promote the growth of this burgeoning sector.

“Qiana Mickie’s experience in urban agriculture and perspective on equity is an excellent match for this new office,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “The Mayor‘s Office of Urban Agriculture will play an exciting role in shaping the future of the city’s greenscape and food system policies.” 

“Qiana’s experience shows her strong commitment to environmental justice, food systems, and community resiliency,” said New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Executive Director Kizzy Charles-Guzman. “Urban farms and community gardens play an important role in supporting our climate goals, providing hands-on opportunities for New Yorkers to learn about sustainability and healthy eating and supporting access to nature, biodiversity, and community space that boosts social resiliency. We are excited to welcome Qiana to the team, and for her to lead this work on the intersection of climate policy, food justice, and racial, economic, and environmental equity.”

“As a lifelong New Yorker, I’m excited to bring my decades plus experience as a food and agriculture leader to the role, and I’m honored to establish the city’s first-ever Office of Urban Agriculture,” said Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture Director Qiana Mickie. “The creation of the office signifies the acknowledgement of the contributions of historic urban agriculture champions, as well as the breadth of knowledge in the current landscape of urban agriculture growers, producers, entrepreneurs, and land stewards. Mayor Adams and the administration chose a critical moment to focus on the interconnectedness of our natural and built environment and the potential to spur urban agriculture development, advance innovation, and cultivate equity in our city. I’m energized to work with my fellow agencies such as the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice and, along with the mayor, to further integrate urban agriculture, climate resiliency, and equity into the fabric of our great city and food system.”

“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Qiana Mickie on her appointment as director of the newly-created Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture,” said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “With over four decades of commitment to community gardening — sustaining over 550 gardens and supporting more than 20,000 land stewards through our GreenThumb program — we look forward to working with Qiana to advance environmental justice and food equity in the city and amplifying the important role of our community gardens and community growers across the New York City food system.”

“Qiana’s understanding of the complexity of urban agriculture combined with her real-world lived expertise makes her a welcome addition to the administration,” said New York City Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “I look forward to working with Qiana and the new Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture to support our city’s community gardens and urban food businesses as we continue to advance the work of Food Forward NYC, our 10-year food policy plan.”

“Our community gardens and urban farms are an increasingly important sector of our agricultural economy, helping to feed our underserved communities and providing an opportunity to connect the dots and ensure our communities understand more about the food system,” said New York State Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “It’s an area the state is committed to investing in and is supporting in this year’s budget. I’m so pleased to see the mayor’s office’s dedication to advancing the city’s network of community gardens and urban farms in the city and that Qiana will be heading up the new Office of Urban Agriculture. Her expertise and passion for agriculture will help bridge the gap in this area and ensure more food for our communities.”

“Qiana's deep roots in community organizing will be an asset to the City of New York, where urban agriculture takes many shapes, from privately funded indoor farms to volunteer-led community gardens; her commitment to food sovereignty will be critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to the food we grow and the spaces in which we grow it,” said Anastasia Cole Plakias, co-founder and chief impact officer, Brooklyn Grange.

“I couldn’t think of a better leader than Qiana Mickie to take on this new phase of Urban Agriculture for New York City. Qiana brings innovation and equity into everything she does as a food systems leader, community member, and overall advocate,” said Shanon Morris, executive director, Edible Schoolyard NYC. “Farms and gardens, indoors and outdoors, on rooftops and beyond, have become staples in our communities and are at the intersection of many opportunities for New Yorkers, including but not limited to addressing disparities in food access, health, education, workforce, and the environment. I think I speak for many working in this space when I say we are excited and eager to work with the new Office of Urban Agriculture and Qiana towards stronger alignment, community, and innovation to better sustain and serve our city.”

“Green City Force (GCF) is thrilled that Mayor Adams has launched an Office of Urban Agriculture and appointed a director, Qiana Mickie,” said Tonya Gayle, executive director, Green City Force. “As an organization focused on frontline communities, youth leadership as well as environmental and economic justice, GCF is fully aligned with the priorities represented in this announcement. Food justice, access, equity, and community agency all tie to our work in partnership with Farms at NYCHA and our Eco-Hubs Powered by GCF. We are excited to partner with Director Mickie and the Adams Administration to bring more local resources to low-income New Yorkers and for more robust investment and attention on economic mobility, healthy food access and nutrition centered on the BIPOC communities we serve.”

“Qiana Mickie is one of the leading food policy experts in the food landscape,” said Sheryll Durrant, food and agriculture coordinator, New York New Roots Program. “I have had the privilege of working with her for many years, and she keenly understands the intersections between the built environment, food economies and our communities. This is the right choice at the right time, and I look forward to her tenure as the new director of the Office of Urban Agriculture.”

“New York City’s urban agriculture and food justice advocacy efforts are taking significant forward strides with the appointment of Qiana Mickie as the inaugural director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture,” said Katherine Soll, CEO and founder, Teens for Food Justice. “Qiana’s strong and active commitment to, and passion for, this work and her extensive expertise building and leading organizations and coalitions in these spaces, through a racial equity lens, provides the solid foundation that is needed to establish this critical new citywide initiative. Teens for Food Justice looks forward to partnering with Qiana and the new Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture to promote equitable, sustainable healthy food access, increase food and nutrition security, and open up new economic and workforce opportunities in food and agribusiness for communities across New York City, particularly those of color.”

“Red Hook Farms is thrilled to learn of the appointment of Qiana Mickie as the inaugural director of MOUA,” said Saara Nafici, director, Red Hook Farms. “We are hopeful that under her advocacy and care, urban agriculture in under-resourced communities across the city will flourish, with food sovereignty, land access, and ecological stewardship rising to the forefront of the agenda. Qiana's leadership will serve as a positive force for farmers, gardeners, and all New Yorkers deserving of healthy, fresh produce grown with dignity and equity.”

“Over the years our paths have crossed many times working on issues ranging from urban agriculture to food justice to regional food procurement,” said Alexina Cather, acting executive director, Center For Food As Medicine. “Qiana is someone who can build and leverage partnerships with policymakers, farmers, advocates, and communities to use urban agriculture to bolster local economies; improve access to nutritious, culturally sensitive, and affordable food; connect New Yorkers to their food; and improve health outcomes. She understands the landscape, including both the opportunities and the challenges, and has the skills, knowledge, and confidence to build a more equitable food system in the city. I look forward to working with Qiana in her role as the first Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture to improve and expand urban agriculture in New York City and beyond.”

“Qiana is a great leader and mentor,” Iyeshima Harris, project director, East New York Farms. “I know this new journey for her is one she will triumph in. Qiana will work tirelessly to uplift the voices of those who are fighting on daily basis to be heard in the food justice movement. I trust in her vision for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture.”

“I am thrilled to hear that Qiana Mickie has been named the director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture,” Marcel Van Ooyen, president and CEO, GrowNYC. “Qiana’s years of experience working on food sovereignty and her dedication to advancing equity in our food system make her the perfect fit for the new office.  We look forward to working with her to advance these shared goals.”

“Urban agriculture in New York is as big and diverse as the city itself. Mayor Adams couldn’t have selected a better founding director than Qiana Mickie to lead the new Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture,” said Nevin Cohen, director, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. “By fostering collaboration among the city’s many gardeners, farmers, teachers, activists, and entrepreneurs, Qiana will help build a stronger, more vibrant, and socially just urban agriculture system.”

“We commend Mayor Adams for creating the Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture and, in particular, we are elated by the appointment of Qiana Mickie as its inaugural director,” said Keith Carr, senior policy and government relations manager, City Harvest. “Qiana has long been one of the city's most knowledgeable and passionate leaders for ensuring food security and creating a just, equitable, and inclusive food system.  Urban agriculture can play a critical role in making sure all New Yorkers have the food they need to thrive — and sparking inclusive economic development throughout the city, especially in the underserved, economically disadvantaged communities that City Harvest serves. We look forward to working with Qiana and the entire team at the Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture in the years to come.”

“New York City can lead the world in next generation urban agriculture that is not only about innovative technology and smart investment but also more importantly focused on strengthening food access, justice, and security,” Henry Gordon-Smith, CEO. “I am proud to see New York City stepping up with a leader and office to set clear strategies for our city’s climate resilience plan. As a private sector leader in the sector, team Agritecture looks forward to supporting the work of Qiana Mickie and the office of Urban Agriculture and we encourage other actors to join the mission to make our food more local, accessible, and nutritious.”

“On behalf of Just Food, we are ecstatic and congratulate Qiana on her appointment,” said Tahirah Cook, policy and advocacy chair, Just Food. “She is a fearless leader that prioritizes food equity and economic opportunity for growers and food businesses across our city. We look forward to Qiana's vision and supporting her work!”

“Qiana Mickie understands that food justice is racial justice and that our most marginalized and under-served communities as well as our local farmers have been under-represented and over-extracted for far too long; that our greatest resource is our collective capacity,” said Stephen Ritz, founder, Green Bronx Machine. “On behalf of Green Bronx Machine, I applaud Mayor Adams for this appointment and so look forward to working with Ms. Mickie to foster policies and implement programs that work for all as we grow something greater and take our city, our citizens, and our food systems boldly forward in good health and equity in lock step with Mother Nature. Let good food be hood food and hood food be good food, we welcome Qiana with open arms!”

“Qiana is a force for equity in our food system,” said Sam Anderson, Cornell Cooperative Extension. “Between her extensive food policy experience, her irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit, and her deep connections with community-based farm and garden projects, she will be an adept and unflinching advocate for urban agriculture in New York City.”

“Qiana Mickie has been a leading advocate for food equity, land stewardship and community wellness in New York City for the past ten years,” said Yemi Amu, founder and executive director, Oko Urban Farms. “As the former executive director of Just Food, she was instrumental in implementing leadership programs to increase food equity including community chef training, farmers market, and CSA creation and sustainability that many food-based organizations in New York City benefited from. Qiana is passionate about the role of policy in increasing equity and access to land, fresh food, and health for New York City's most vulnerable communities. Her new role as the first director of the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture will make a great impact in establishing New York City as a leader and model for sustainable and equitable urban agriculture.”

“Qiana has always been a steadfast advocate for community gardens and urban farms in New York City,” said Kim Vallejo, Shewolf Bakery. “With her experience and expansive food systems work, her appointment to lead the Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture ensures that equity will be built into the very foundation of this new team and that urban agriculture in New York City will finally have the visibility and visionary leadership it needs to plug more intentionally into our broader urban food system. Congratulations to Qiana and Mayor Adams for bringing this important office to life!”

“I'm so excited about the launch of the Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture, something that grassroots groups across the city have been calling for, for years,” said Jennifer Ching, executive director, North Star Fund. “And I'm even more thrilled that Qiana Mickie has been chosen to lead it, because she's been a part of the food justice movement her whole career. She intimately knows the needs, challenges, and potential of New York City's urban agriculture sector.”

“Qiana has a global perspective steeped in food equity and has been committed to the longevity of our local farms of color for well over a decade,” said Suzanne Ventura, founder, Greeningfullife. We get a critical thinker that questions why a modern abundant society would even have a need for charity food. It is from this perspective Qiana reimagines a course toward an equitable and resilient urban agriculture strategy that serves all people.”

“The City of New York is demonstrating real leadership by creating this office and upholding urban agriculture and regional food systems as essential strategies to address climate change”, says Navina Khanna, executive director, national Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor (HEAL) Food Alliance. “We’re thrilled by this appointment. Qiana’s expertise, which is grounded in her own practical experience in the community, and her years of work on local, state, and federal policy, is widely respected in New York City and beyond. Those on the frontlines are also at the forefront of solutions and Qiana is a leader who understands the problems, the solutions, and knows how to move people to action to create change together.”

“The New York City food system is a complex, multi-stakeholder landscape, with a diverse set of needs, policies, built environments, and historical inequities,” said Rae Gomes, Central Food Coop. “Qiana's background, experience, and keen analysis can cut through to the heart of any urban agriculture challenge in our city and build the types of solutions that work toward actual sustainable change. She holds the needs of marginalized communities, BIPOC farmers, and producers, and with her signature wit, leads us all down a more resilient, equitable path.”

“I am incredibly pleased and excited to learn that Qiana Mickie has been appointed as the first-ever Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture (MOUA),” said Ribka Getachew, director, New York Good Food Purchasing Program Campaign at Community Food Advocates (CFA). “I've known and worked with Qiana in various capacities over the past eight years and have been consistently impressed by — and appreciative of — her thorough and thoughtful approach to food justice. I am confident that Qiana will offer that same level of dynamism and innovation in her role with the MOUA.”

“From the dairy farms of Queens to the oyster beds lining Manhattan’s coastline to Brooklyn’s rooftop gardens, urban agriculture has thrived in New York City for centuries,” said Andy Fisher, executive director, Ecological Farming Association. “In the creation of a new office for urban agriculture, Mayor Adams has acknowledged the importance of urban food production to New York’s success as a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable 21st  century city. Qiana Mickie has the right stuff - vision, pragmatism, and community connections — to lift urban agriculture to new heights in New York.”

“I'm thrilled that New York City has appointed Qiana Mickie as the first director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Urban Agriculture,” said Sarah Hackney, Coalition Director, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “Qiana has deep expertise in urban agriculture as a practitioner and policy advocate — she is a thoughtful, committed leader with the skills to strengthen the City's urban agriculture community. Qiana has been a longtime leader in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; I and our coalition members have benefited greatly from her strategic insights and leadership in shaping urban agriculture and food systems policy.”

About Qiana Mickie

Qiana Mickie serves as director of the city’s new Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture. For the past 11 years, Mickie’s work has thrived at the intersection of equity, food systems, resiliency, and agriculture. She is also active in local and international policy on issues such as food sovereignty, land tenure, and health. Mickie is the Founding Principal of QJM Multiprise and has consulted on multiple policy, food and farm businesses, agriculture, and other equity-driven projects, both locally and nationally.

Mickie previously served as the executive director of Just Food. She is on the International Council of Urgenci, Coordination Committee of the Civil Society Mechanism for the United Nations and on the board of the Farmers Market Coalition.

Mickie is a graduate of Hampton University and received her Food Hub Management Certification from the University of Vermont. She is an active speaker on the topics of food justice, and racial, economic, and environmental equity.

Mickie will report to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.

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