NYC is lovingly nicknamed the Concrete Jungle. Did you know that amongst the concrete sidewalks, steel skyscrapers, brick buildings and brownstones there are several urban farms? Some may wonder what exactly an urban farm is. For years I have heard and read about successful urban farms built on rooftops or in empty lots in Brooklyn. Imagine my surprise when while walking through the NY Vegetarian Food Festival + Symposium I stumbled upon Harlem Grown.
Harlem Grown is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 in the heart of Harlem, where they are “planting fruits and vegetables and growing healthy children and sustainable communities.” They operate five farms, one green house and one annex. They provide free youth programming that includes hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables as well as composting,
Saturdays are a big day: now through Oct. 22 you can join story time, cooking demos, free lunch, farming workshops, and arts and crafts at the farm, located at 118 W. 134th St. If you prefer something a bit more zen, you can join them at their 77 W. 127th location for free yoga for all ages and welcoming all skill levels. Visit www.harlemgrown.org/saturdays-on-the-farm for more information.
Research shows that urban farms add and preserve green space in cities. They also improve air quality and create more safe spaces for neighbors to congregate. I am excited to have found a farm amongst our jungle.