South Bronx Learning Tour, 8/4

La Finca del Sur urban farm

Thursday August 4

9:30am – 3:30pm

Lunch and transportation provided

Register here by 7/29


Target audience: funders of health, community development, children and youth, older adults, urban agriculture, hunger, and more!

[UPDATE: A recap of the tour with photos is now available]

Join us for a day of site visits in the South Bronx, a neighborhood that is crafting its own future in innovative and collaborative ways through food.

The systemic challenges faced by the people who live here have been well documented.  The South Bronx is located in the poorest congressional district in the US, and faces some of the highest rates of chronic and food-related disease such as diabetes, obesity, and asthma.  Yet in the face of these obstacles, community groups and local residents are working together to find meaningful solutions that simultaneously tackle multiple issues and create systems change.

On this tour we will meet people of all ages using food as a vehicle to bring people together and improve lives. We will tour La Finca de Sur, an urban farm cooperative led by Latina and Black women, and hear from youth leaders participating in a collaborative program run by  The New York Botanical Gardens that brings together young people from three local organizations.  From there we head to Brook Park, a community garden that grows fresh food and raises chickens, and participates in Bronx Hot Sauce, a local food enterprise.  For lunch we will stop at BronxWorks to observe their ‘Grab N Go’ bodega healthy food intervention (done in partnership with Family Cook Productions), and a cooking demonstration by an intergenerational group at a senior center.  During lunch we will hear from Javier Lopez, Assistant Commissioner at the Center for Health Equity of the NYC Health Department. We continue with a stop at a local nonprofit farmers market run by Harvest Home, and end the day hearing from Tanya Fields of The BLK Projek, who organizes neighbors to grow food at Libertad Urban Farm and harness their collective purchasing power with a buying club.

Come learn from these front-line experts and meet some of your colleagues currently funding them.

This is a funder-only event
Co-sponsored by CFF and Philanthropy New York

More about the tour stops

La Finca Del Sur is an urban farmer cooperative led by Latina and Black women and their allies.  The organization is committed to building healthy neighborhoods through economic empowerment, increased nutritional awareness, training, and education, and advocating for social and political equality and food justice in low-income communities.  La Finca Del Sur operates an urban farm that has created youth development opportunities in the neighborhood.

Our visit to La Finca Del Sur coincides with the Grow More Vegetable With Youth program, a Levitt-funded initiative organized by Bronx Green-Up taking place at La Finca. Established in 1988, Bronx Green-Up is a community-based horticultural training program of The New York Botanical Garden that provides free horticulture education, training, and technical assistance to Bronx residents, community gardeners, urban farmers, schools, and community organizations. In addition to providing training in urban horticulture, Bronx Green-Up partners with local individuals, groups, and institutions to further community gardening and urban farming efforts and serves as a conduit for bringing people and resources together to bring these projects to fruition. The program currently works with 5,000 residents annually, who are part of a network of close to 200 Bronx gardens and farms, offering educational workshops, and certificate programs in organic vegetable gardening, soils, and pruning.  The program is the visible presence of the Botanical Garden beyond the Garden’s gates, inspiring NYC residents to get involved in improving their communities through greening projects.

Young people in the Grow More Vegetables With Youth program come from the following organizations:

  • Bissel Gardens, based in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, is a collaborative effort to provide the community with gardens serving many purposes—bringing people together, beautifying the neighborhood, creating safe outdoor space, offering community gardening space, growing food for donation to emergency food programs, and providing environmental and educational programs.  Bissel Gardens consists of two-acres of gardens and public paths, which were reclaimed from abandoned land in 1994 by Wakefield residents.  The property includes a children’s garden, an area for propagating native plants and trees, community gardening plots, an area for growing food to support local hunger-relief organizations, and a farmers’ market.
  • The Point CDC is dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx.  It works with neighbors to celebrate the life and art of the community, an area traditionally defined solely in terms of its poverty, crime rate, poor schools, and substandard housing.  The Point believes the area’s residents, their talents, and aspirations, are its greatest assets.  Its central feature is after-school and summer programming for 500 Hunts Point youth in grades 1-12.  Through justice-based arts and service learning activities, The Point supports the academic and pre-professional, artistic, and social development of youth, and engages them as leaders in sustainable community development.  The organization’s ACTION (Activities Coming to Inform Our Neighborhood) group engages youth activists from the community to identify social and environmental justice issues facing Hunts Point and develop ongoing youth-led solutions.
  • Friends of Brook Park is a South Bronx community-based environmental organization that engages youth and adults in organic gardening, CSAs, and arts and indigenous cultural events and activities that convey a deep respect for the natural world.  Brook Park offers numerous programs, including a Community Connections for Youth/Alternatives-to-Incarceration program which helps court-adjudicated youth from the South Bronx integrate into neighborhood life via the Brook Park Youth Community Farm.  During the process of growing and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, the youth develop a sense of collective efficacy and social responsibility that helps them stay out of prison.  Brook Park also promotes access to locally grown vegetables through the community-driven South Bronx CSA, as well as advocates for policy change to permanently protect New York City’s community gardens. Brook Park will also be the second stop on our tour.

FamilyCook Productions is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995.  We support communities with culinary/nutrition education programs because we know it takes a holistic approach to develop healthy family meals. Our mission is to bring people of all ages together around delicious, affordable fresh food while positively impacting their health and well-being. CHEFS for Change is a youth leadership project created by FamilyCook Productions to transform unhealthy retail environments into healthier ones – and utilizes youth as catalysts to make this happen

BronxWorks helps individuals and families improve their economic and social well-being. From toddlers to seniors, we feed, shelter, teach, and support our neighbors to build a stronger community. In all aspects of our work, BronxWorks strives for the highest ethical and performance standards and is guided by the belief that people are to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their present situation or past experiences.

Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides low-income communities with access to farm fresh local produce and the education to achieve healthier lifestyles to residents of some of New York City’s most underserved communities. Since our founding, we have been offering healthy and affordable alternatives to the abysmal choices—often the only choices—in the City’s so-called “food deserts.” Today, we are one of the largest managers of farmer’s markets in New York City, serving more than 275,000 shoppers a year. Our health and nutrition programs are tailored for specific segments of the population, including seniors, youth and families who are trying to raise healthy kids on a tight budget.  Our markets are open six days a week during the farmer’s market season and create community gathering places that educate the public about health and nutrition, supports regional agriculture and provides seasonal job opportunities. Harvest Home operates markets in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. We accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamp)/ EBT cards, Women Infant and Children and Senior (WIC), Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupons (FMNP), and Health Bucks.

The BLK ProjeK seeks to address food justice and economic development by harnessing the local, good food movement and creating small business and career opportunities for underserved women and youth of color. Through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming we create easily accessible resources and enrich the lives of women who are routinely overlooked and overburdened yet serve an important and critical role in the larger fabric of society.We wil strengthen overall mental and public health, create viable pathways out of poverty, support local growers thereby elevating the collective self esteem of the larger communities we live in.

Filed under: NewsTagged with: , , , , , , , , ,