Sunday, June 14, 2009

I heart new york

It's been a busy weekend here in the city. Yesterday morning, Aunt Martha and I ventured over to the bustling Ft. Greene farmers market, picking up the most vibrant red radishes I have ever seen (and a healthy handful of arugula to make a salad at Judith's later that evening: I am beginning to accept radishes as a legitimate vegetable... slowly, slowly). There, too, I had the unexpected pleasure of learning about the NYC farmers market scene from the very knowledgeable but humble Justin (whom I later discovered founded the innovative Peaceful Ox program, matching interns with organic farms in the region) and friendly but quiet Tara (a volunteer from a local high school who helped out at the info booth on Saturdays). They happened to be handing out samples of luscious looking strawberries with locally produced creme fraiche, so I happily nibbled as they filled me in on the Greenmarket network of weekly farmers markets around the city, including quite a number of year-round locations in different boroughs, more than a dozen of which are equipped to handle EBT/food stamp credit. Very cool.

Next, I made my way to the Bed-Stuy neighborhood to help out at a food festival at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden. The event, organized by the lovely and culinarily inventive Just Food chef, Yonette, was the first of a handful of events at the garden being held over the next month or so to raise funds to cover the start-up costs for a much-needed farmers market in the area. I worked at the information booth/fundraising table, perfectly positioned between the live funk band and the food tent. Score. I met a number of resident gardeners over the few hours I was at the event, many of whom admired my temporary radish tattoo painted by Briana -- a first year design student working at the face painting booth down around the corner.

This afternoon, though, was the highlight of my New York experience: the Greenpoint Rooftop Garden. I arrived around 2pm to join about 20 other volunteers on the beautiful urban farm overlooking the Manhattan skyline. (I'd gotten a later start than anticipated after Saturday night's attempt to find a decent salsa club in the city had me traipsing around Midtown in the rain until all hours... purely for the sake of justifying the inclusion of the dance shoes amid the other, more-regularly-utilized gear in my packs, of course.) Annie talked us through the history of the space, less than a year old, that she and Ben had started as a model to test out the feasibility of rooftop gardening -- to experiment and troubleshoot and educate and spread these gardens, these rooftop oases, all over the city. Lush green leafy things sprouted everywhere: scallions, peas, tomato seedlings, mesclun greens, kale, chard. If the beauty and appetizing produce grown on site weren't convincing enough, Annie's infectious enthusiasm and the joy she takes in all things verdant are enough to inspire even the least likely of greenthumbs. I even learned a bit about the history of brassicas during one of Annie's fascinating tangents, making me suspect that she is as passionate about all things garden-related as I am about all things food-related. If Ollie and I didn't have most of the rest of the country to explore, I would be tempted to stay here indefinitely....

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti