van cortlandt park community food garden
SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF Friends of Van Cortlandt Park 2011 SEASON ON YOUTUBE
In urban communities, often there is a vast disconnect in understanding between where food comes from and what’s on our plate. During harvest season, over 120 volunteers and 6 community groups discovered how food systems work through hands-on learning the new organic education garden. Equipped with compositing system, the garden consists of 400 square foot raised beds that grow vegetables to fed our neighbors. Vegetables and herbs harvested were donated to The Love Kitchen Pantry and Part of the Solution, serving local area residents. Assisted by the Bon Secours New York Healthy Communities interns, the garden donated over 200 pounds of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, kale, basil, chives, mint, string beans and cucumbers. Additional produces went to nutrition programs. The garden program combined education and hands-on service to give participants the experience of growing food and reducing waste through composting. Activities included turning and sifting compost bins, weeding, watering and harvesting vegetables. This provided invaluable experience and first steps into community building around shared values in local food and how we best provide for our neighbors.
On our co-sponsored Get Active Day, families enjoyed a taste of what we grow before heading into Van Cortlandt Park to enjoy a hike along the Cass Gallagher Nature Trail.
In fall, the garden crew consisting of 13 local middle and high school students volunteered their time to learn how garden works, harvest and weigh produce, and chop turn and sift our compost bins, for 7 weeks. To finish the season 60 residents put the garden to rest for the winter. Volunteers ranged from preschool and elementary volunteers planting garlic, to middle and high school students turning, sifting and filling compost bins, to adults doing some heavy lifting and maintenance.