A group of Brooklyn kids are spending the summer learning a lesson in their own backyard that can really grow with them. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
On an otherwise ordinary block in East New York, something extraordinary is going on inside one community garden. Kids are learning to live off the land in a summer program that teaches them how to plant, grow, prepare and eat their own fruits and vegetables.
It's part of a six-week startup program by the New York City chapter of the non profit organization Slow Food. The group adopted three community gardens this summer -- all in Brooklyn neighborhoods that have limited access to fresh produce and turned the land into urban educational farms.
The East New York site was chosen in April. Volunteers cleaned all the weeds and the kids began gardening at the start of July. For three hours a day, an average of about a dozen kids help maintain the garden, do some new planting and then eat what they sow.
"We pull up the weeds to make room for more fruits and vegetables. And when they grow we use them to cook some dishes," said one young participant.
"We make all kinds of different foods with them. Last week, we made gazpacho with our tomatoes and our cucumbers and our peppers. Today we're making egg salad with eggs we got from the farmer's market," said Kate Ortenzi of Slow Food New York City.
The kids will soon have their own eggs at the garden. They've started building a coop for the chickens that should arrive by the end of the week. In the meantime, they're proud to show off all the different varieties of food they've produced so far.
The kitchen located in the building basement next to the garden, lets kids learn how to prepare nutritious meals every day. Organizers say they're teaching skills these kids can bring home and in turn, build healthier and stronger communities.
"This neighborhood is great. It's got tons and tons of kids. Really active kids that love coming every single day who have really developed a joy of cooking and growing their own food and it's really been special," Ortenzi said.
"We plant and we cook and we play a lot," said one young participant.
After a successful first year, Slow Food New York City says it will expand the program next summer from a half day to a full day.