August 10, 2014

Growing Food in the Bronx



















On August 6 young urban farmers working with Open Road and the Bronx Enchanted Garden harvested fresh fruits and vegetables to serve in the school cafeteria. The next day the young farmers served the food themselves alongside cafeteria staff to hundreds of teenagers in the JFK school building in the Bronx. This is all part of FOOD, a program of Open Road in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and Garden to Cafe. Click here for our map of food gardens and summer meals.  

Danny Steiner of Bronx Theater High School guided the team in how to harvest carrots, tomatoes, peaches, sorrel, and many more fresh delicious vegetables and fruits. Open Road has worked with the Enchanted Garden since its beginnings as a trash filled vacant lot, and one of the original youth co-founders of the garden, Oz, led the team through a colorful history of the design and development of the Enchanted Garden. 

Stormwater ponds and swales run through the garden, and these are not working. We are working with the students at the JFK campus to redesign this system, and improve the garden for food growing. 

You can find photographs at these links. Photos by Paula Hewitt Amram of Open Road. 

Harvesting: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/104921896947876024446/albums/6044521970942772801
Serving: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/104921896947876024446/albums/6044880985893343361

In each of five zones, FOOD youth have mapped sites where public meals are provided, entered data onto Google Maps, and surveyed locations to assure they were operating as advertised. Beyond the youth staff and volunteers, hundreds more youth and families are benefiting from improved gardens, increased rates of healthy fresh food in public feeding programs, and community art and architecture our youth are producing related to food. Our youth team has been advocating for improved menus at public feeding programs, and have met with SchoolFood officials and elected officials in the City Council to advance this work. This youth team has advocated for fresh food grown in the city and on nearby farms to be included in the menu of public feeding programs, and in each zone the team has intensively studied, assessed, and surveyed the menu of at least one public feeding program, to ensure improvements are made. Our youth team has held 10 events to alert the community to locations where food should be served to youth, to share food grown in gardens, and involve neighborhood people in our advocacy.