Food Movement Rising: NYC Mayoral Food Forum

Outside it seemed like just another political event, with signs for various candidates – Quinn, Liu, De Blasio – held in the air, waving, bright and loud yet somehow after a while becoming inconspicuous, blending into the background like branches on trees; part of the physical and political landscape on 13tth street. There were eager … Continue reading

USDA Farm to School Grants

Note: this post first appeared on the Slow Food USA blog. On November 14th, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the first-ever USDA Farm to School grants, which totaled more than $4.5 million for 68 different projects around the country, and will go a long way towards reshaping the interplay between our children, the schools … Continue reading

Visions of McCarren Park Urban Farm

  Last Thursday, my friend Ryan and I (and a group of other North Brooklyn residents) attended the participatory budgeting meeting for the 33rd District. It was a chance for community members to voice concerns about problems in the neighborhood, present ideas about how to fix those problems, and start the process of deciding how … Continue reading

Vacant Land

In Brooklyn, there are 596 acres of vacant, city-owned land, according to 596 Acres, a group that identified all the vacant lots in the borough and have been helping community members start gardens on that land. What better way to use these neglected lots than to grow healthy food, create a sense of community, and … Continue reading

Clarity at Snug Harbor

The fog was thick as we drove over the Verrazano Bridge towards Snug Harbor Heritage Farm early Saturday morning. Thick enough to obscure both Staten Island in front, Brooklyn behind, and the harbor beneath us. For all we knew we were driving up an on-ramp into the clouds, driving back or forward in time or … Continue reading

Raised Beds, Raised Consciousness

Staten Island does not grow very much food of its own. According to the Urban Design Lab at Columbia University, the island has community gardens on 3 lots, totaling 1 acre. That’s not a lot of food for the over 400,000 people living there. In addition, much of the island exists in a food desert, … Continue reading

Candle to Candle

Even in New York City, in amongst 8 million people, amongst infinite ideas and energies swirling all around, it is possible to feel isolated. It is possible to feel the fundamental loneliness inside our own brains, alone with just our thoughts. I can feel it in side street stillness, when I suddenly realize there are … Continue reading

Urban Farming: A Return to the City’s Essence

Walk the city streets and your eyes are always drawn up, up to the steel piercing the sky, to the towers approaching but never grasping the clouds, never fully consuming the nature from which they’ve taken so much. Down the avenue is a concrete canyon of artificial darkness, miles upon miles of busy feet and … Continue reading