The Bed-Stuy branch of the Campaign Against Hunger held its fifth annual Children’s Harvest Festival at the Far Rock Urban Agro- Ecological Center on Oct 5.
“Since Sandy, we have been here working with properties that were disenfranchised and putting food on their tables. One of our main goals in Rockaway is addressing diabetes and obesity epidemic here as well as hypertension,” said Executive Director Melany Samuels.
At half an acre, the Far Rock Urban Agro-Ecological Center is the largest TCAH farm, which grows over 100 different kinds of fruits and vegetables and home to 50 chickens, producing 16,000 free-range eggs each year.
“Since we started, we have advanced a lot in our farming, growing over 50,000 lbs. of food and distributing them to food pantries and restaurants. We are in the process of developing a hydroponic aquaponic, which uses fish to help fertilize the vegetables via their waste. We’re also preparing to open a cafe here in the building at the end of the block in March 2020,” said Samuels.
Since the farm is a youth-run farm, the festival was made to have children be aware they can grow their own food and encourage healthy eating, promoting community building and entrepreneurship via growing locally grown food.
“We go searching for organic seeds and plant every different culture we can find. So if you’re Jamaican and you want callaloo, we look for a callaloo seed to plant,” said Farm Manager Janae Joseph. “We get them through a website called Johnny’s Selected Seeds because whatever we grow here we try to make sure they’re grown through organic methods and its hard to grow in New York City areas.”
Joseph elaborated more on the arrival of a new cafe. “Most of the produce here will be sent to the cafe to be sold like a pop-up shop, we’re going to have culinary classes for those here who have an interest in culinary arts and a graduate program
Families took the opportunity to tour around the farm, observing the luscious growing there and the farmowned chickens.
“Thought today was a success, to see such an impact here,” said resident Emmanuel Loncke who came with his son and daughter. “My father used to do farming, I’m more of a cook, so its definitely a family thing.”
“It was pretty cool, important learning all this, about what they do. Why not come back next year,” said Miguel Salgado, a Bronx resident.
There was no shortage of activities to do, from pumpkin painting to pumpkin chess and pumpkin tic tac toe. Food was provided by volunteers of the THAC, serving kale, potato salad, pasta, grilled chicken, three-bean salad, mac and cheese for all to enjoy the benefits of good eating.