Headshot Photo of Steven Hoffen
2023 Award Recipient


Project Growing Peace

Location New York, NY

Issue Area Climate Justice/Environment | Food Security

When Steven worked on a documentary about a community organization in Israel where Muslim and Jewish women collaborate on projects to foster peace, he learned about the transformative power of hydroponic gardening. Inspired by the possibility of this approach, he founded Growing Peace, which installs and implements hydroponic farming systems in marginalized communities to improve health, happiness, and welfare while also addressing local food security challenges. Growing Peace has developed and installed four gardening systems: one in Tel Aviv and three in New York City. The Tel Aviv system feeds up to 600 families of asylum seekers twice a month with more than 2,100 servings of fresh food.

The NYC hydroponic towers produce up to 1,800 pounds of yearly produce and more than 6,300 servings of fruits and vegetables every year. Growing Peace is working with Dr. Topeka Sam and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to install gardens that provide incarcerated people with healthy food and educational activities. Steven’s documentary “Growing Peace in the Middle East” has been featured at over 100 film festivals and received global accolades and awards, including Best Young Filmmaker at the Cannes World Film Festival.

I hope to play my part in improving the world by providing healthy and nutritional food where it is less available and sharing a platform that can help teach others to become more aware of the benefits of farming technologies that improve our climate.

Steven Hoffen
Steven Hoffen shows hydroponic plants to 2 students.

Growing Peace


Inspired by an interfaith effort to start hydroponic gardens in Israel, Steven founded Growing Peace to install hydroponic gardens where they could make a difference. Since he began this work, Growing Peace has installed four gardens: one at a foodbank that serves asylum seekers in Tel Aviv; one at Hope House, which supports formerly incarcerated people in New York City; one at the YM/YWHA in Washington Heights to distribute fruits and vegetables to low income elderly and disabled people and Meals on Wheels; and one at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center to service its food pantry.
Growing Peace logo

Steven Hoffen examines a hydroponic plant.
Steven Hoffen closing a bag of harvested hydroponic plants.