Editor’s note: As official Slow Food NYC partners, we’re happy to offer Brooklyn Uncorked tickets and Edible magazine subscriptions in support of their current Indiegogo campaign. Read below to learn more about their ongoing work in East New York.
In 2010, Slow Food NYC turned an abandoned community garden in East New York into a thriving educational urban farm. With it, the neighborhood got a little more beauty, fresh food, laughter and learning opportunities.
Why East New York? According to the City of New York, North and Central Brooklyn suffer from an extremely limited availability of fresh, wholesome food, as well as disproportionate incidences of diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes.
At the Urban Harvest Farm at Ujima, neighborhood children attend a structured weekly program of hands-on gardening lessons. The also receive nutrition education and prepared communal meals. In 2015, most of the 130 “Student Farmers” reported that Urban Harvest provided their first time “meal preparation opportunity.” That year, Student Farmers planted, tended and harvested about 60 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers; composted about 175 pounds of produce and food scraps; and increased by 100 percent the amount of fruits and vegetables they consumed daily.
This year, Slow Food NYC is looking to grow Urban Harvest at Ujima by farming a second nearby lot (that will increase food production by 1,000 lbs.), expanding operating hours to host senior citizens from the community and putting honeybees and chickens on the farm. With production at the new lot, Urban Harvest will also be able to send Student Farmers home with a weekly food box filled with fresh vegetables and herbs. To finance this expansion, Slow Food NYC is running a crowdfunding campaign until April 26. Please consider donating or sharing their efforts to bring good, clean and fair food to all.