learn about our history
The Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) aims to create the next generation of healthy, productive, and environmentally conscious citizens. Our programs are based in the federally-designated North Hartford Promise Zone, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, and predominantly black and Hispanic.
To provide hands-on training, on-site demonstrations, Education outreach, and community collaborations that help families become more self-sustainable and environmentally conscious while preserving the historic Keney Park.
To create the next generation of healthy, productive and environmentally conscious citizens.
“Our vision is to create the next generation of healthy, productive and environmentally conscious citizens."
Our mission is to provide hands-on training, on-site demonstrations, education outreach, and community collaborations that help families become more self-sustainable and environmentally conscious—all while preserving historic Keney Park.
To support our mission, we engage in three primary activities:
- Support the development and sustainability of community-based food systems, i.e., farmers markets, community gardens, school based gardening, agricultural project and home gardens.
- Protect and preserve the 693-acre urban forest within Keney Park (which includes Gully Brook) by providing individuals employable landscaping and forest management skills, and as a result creating the next generation of employable parks workers and environmental stewards.
- Educate families about the impact of the environment on mental, physical and spiritual health by practicing sustainable techniques that promote a healthy symbiotic relationship between us and our environment.
Area of Focus
Our areas of focus therefore include: health and nutrition education, landscaping, forest management, waste stream reduction, building and design, and urban agriculture.
Keney Park Sustainability Project is headquartered at a City-owned building in Keney Park, directly adjacent to the project site. It may be important to note that Keney Park is the largest park within the Hartford Parks system, providing neighborhood recreation in a historic designed landscape, combined with a diversity of ecologically rich environments. KPSP has not only managed the building and the surrounding site, but leveraged partnerships across the community to build greenhouses, rain garden (with edibles), community garden, composting site, woodworking area, and other features. Significant levels of involvement in the direction of this project have been gleaned by residents (including the youth served by the community garden site, as well as Youth Service Corps volunteers already working on-site), as well as volunteers and others.
Cigna funds were used to create the first production scale aquaponics system in the City of Hartford. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system.
Aquaponics is ideal for local food production, urban farming and food deserts sites, since no farm land is required, eliminating the need to add preservatives that are required for long distance transportation, and decreasing the dependency on fossil fuels for food delivery.
The Keney Park Urban Agriculture Education site hosts health & nutrition, therapeutic urban agriculture education, basil and leafy greens production and year round vegetable growing. This project aims to dramatically ingrease KPSP’s capacity to produce healthy nutritious, affordable food by installing a 3-row vertical farm to produce leafy greens and herbs within 48ft x 14ft greenhouse. The aquaculture equipment will be located within the 20ft x 14 ft greenhouse.