Our Story

Healcrest Urban Farms mission is to advocate for the preservation of artisanal, local & healthy food in Pittsburgh and the conservation of sustainably-managed green space.

We are a 1.5 acre urban farm in the east end of Pittsburgh and grow medicinal and culinary herbs naturally. We are also a community green space & healing sanctuary and the land is home to bees, birds and other wildlife that often struggle in the urban environment.

Our product line supports the sustainability of this unique urban farm! Healcrest products are not just luxury teas and artisanal tea-pops – they are products made from sustainable local sources of the highest quality with potent nutritional & healing properties for mind & body wellness.

Healcrest Urban Community Farm is an established urban farm in Garfield focusing on medicinal and culinary herbs. Established in 2005, it started as 15 abandoned and delinquent city lots. Maria Graziani, Project Facilitator and owner of over 70% of the land with 30% managed in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh Green Up program and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, began to clean-up the land and combine properties to form Healcrest Urban Farms, Inc.

The total land, which lies between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues, with the entrance at Hillcrest Street in Garfield Heights, equals 1.7 acres. With 4 established mixed vegetable/herb/fruit gardens, young orchard, community circle, garden shed, rainwater collection systems and a greenhouse, Healcrest Urban Farms is well on its way to being the strongest urban gardens in the region.

Healcrest Urban Farms is a small for-profit company that is managed as a non-profit social enterprise. We are establishing ourselves as a green business to grow and sell affordable, culturally appropriate vegetables to our community. In addition we partner with non-profit organizations to provide needed services to our Garfield Community. For several years we have provided youth educational paid internships.

In 2005, through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Community Health and Environment Collaborative (CHEC), 10 youth interned at the farm. The following year 10 more youth, ages 16-18 joined us, through collaboration with the Student Conservation Association.

In 2007, through ongoing collaborations with Urban Farming Initiative, Youthplaces, the Heinz Endowments and again Student Conservation Association, over 14 youth joined us for 7 weeks of urban farm work, mentorship, entrepreneurial education and social development.

In 2008 we established our youth paid internship again through support from the Heinz Endowments and fiscally-managed through Grow Pittsburgh.

In 2009 we expanded our ongoing partnership with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and joined their Green-Up! Youth internship program – funded and supported by the City of Pittsburgh.

In 2011 we shifted emphasis to a line of artisanal tea, and tisane blends, selling online, in select city markets, and events. This change allowed us to concentrate on cultivating and producing more of the ingredients going into the products.

In 2012 with new neighborhood partnerships we added bees to the farm with amazing increases in production and the delicious return of honey. With the support of KivaZip Loan and a grant from Awesome Pittsburgh we ventured forward on a new product, the tea-pop. A delicious frozen fruit bar to be enjoyed on the spot.

In 2013 Healcrest Urban Farm and Maria Graziani were featured in various media including KDKA News, Yinzpiration, and The Bloomfield-Garfield Bulletin. We enjoyed the arrival of our tea-pop cart and are now bringing tea-pops and tea to your neighborhood!

4 responses to “Our Story

  1. Scott Mitchell

    Greetings. A friend of mine, Jacques, has made me aware of your existence and I would like to become involved. I am very interested in learning to grow food and am willing to volunteer my time at least twice a week. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, peace.

    • Greetings Scott

      Glad you are interested. Is there a way you can garden alongside Jacques in the mornings when he goes up? He could show you a lot, along with Ras Maisha. If not, I am there right now in the afternoons from 2-5pm if that works for you. If weekdays are no good then Sundays is our weekend workday – Rastafari hold the sabbath and try hard not to work during the day hours on Saturday. We are happy to have you and show you the ropes of urban gardening. Hit us back with your response at healcresturbanfarm@gmail.com

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review | Healcrest Urban Farm

  3. I lived in Garfield for a couple of years (20 years ago). Great to see what you are doing there with the urban gardening. More communities should follow your example. Best Wishes and continued success.
    Burt Del Rio

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