We all know that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s become increasingly difficult to find fresh produce in Red Hook. Fortunately, Added Value is running a pop-up market in Coffey Park on Saturdays and Wednesdays, from 10am to 3:30pm, where CSA members can buy globally-sourced produce and redeem remaining fruit and cheese shares in the upcoming weeks. The market will run through the end of December. Happy shopping!
Friends, it’s Food Day.
Today around the city and around the country people are gathering to celebrate the growing movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food that is produce with fair and humane practices.
Here in our neighborhood we are working with our Friends at the New York City Housing Authority and our Urban Farm Corps to install a new farm right in the middle of the Red Hook Housing Development.
While we’re in the field many of our friends are in the streets and online advocating for changes in our food system that would ensure a more justice and equitable society. We wanted to share the news of three very important and exciting things happening today.
First, here in New York City, our Council has completed is first report (required under Local Law 52) on how food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed throughout the region so we can better understand how the food system is operating and what we can do to improve it.
The metrics included in the report cover everything from the amount of local and regional food being purchased by the NYC Department of Education; to the impact of FRESH, Healthy Bodegas, Green Carts and other city programs to increase access to healthy, affordable food; to the efforts being made to make meals served in hospitals, senior centers and homeless shelters more nutritious. Having this data will help the City make better decisions about how we get our food and how to improve its impact on public health and the environment. You can download a copy of the report here. I am very excited about the publication of this report as I believe it helps all of understand what is happening on the ground and in our city.
On a national level PolicyLink is today issuing a very exciting report, Growing Urban Agriculture: Equitable Strategies and Policies for Improving Access to Healthy Food and Revitalizing Communities. You can find a link to the PolicyLink page which has the full urban ag report, the urban ag online tool, and a video about Added Value, here. Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, will be blogging about urban agriculture on the Food Day blog page all today. I believe that Policy Links Focus on racial and economic justice in the food system and throughout our society is vitally important to positive transformation of our neighborhood, this country, and the world as a whole.
If we are to transform this system it is critical that we have a detailed understanding of the crisis we are facing in our food system and who is manufacturing it. It is also vitally important that we learn about the successful models being built out there.
Today, FOODMYTHBUSTERS officially launches their website. Food Myth Busters is brought to you by the Real Food Media Project, a collaboration between our friend author Anna Lappé, Corporate Accountability International, and an amazing Coalition of leading food and farming organizations. They offer creative videos, online resources, and grassroots organizing tools that debunk the myths that corporate agriculture are selling us, and that tell the real story about the food we eat and how we can grow a stronger, healthier more just and sustainable food system.
If you have time in the next few days read some of these reports, watch one or two of these great short videos, and share this information with friends and family.
As a shareholder in the farm also please consider becoming a friend of ours on Facebook. You can follow us here.
With respect and gratitude,
Ian and the AV team.
Added Value will be hosting our Seventh Annual Red Hook Harvest Festival this coming Saturday, October 20th. The Farm opens at 10am and will close at 4pm.
As always this event is free and open to the public.
We like to think of our gathering as New York meets New England.
As is our tradition great local chefs from our restaurant partners iCi, The Good Fork, Fort Defiance, Kevin’s and Home/Made will be preparing special treats for festival goers. The pumpkin patch will be the place to be as live music is played by Bomba Yo! Children and families can spend time with Llamas and other animals. Milk Not Jails and the Community Farm Workers Alliance will performing, educating and advocating for a more just and sustainable world.
Of course you can shop at our expanded farmers market for produce grown right here in our neighborhood and by our friends in the region like Wilklow Orchards, John Glebocki, Mark Phillips, Nestor Tello, Bread Alone, and Ronnybrook Dairy.
While you shop you can learn from local organizations that willl be promoting health and wellness, urban agriculture and justice as hundreds of your neighbors surround you in celebration of the power of the sun, the soil, plants and people.
If you haven’t been to the festival, or would just like to get excited about returning to this special community event we have some videos of past festivals:
and some great children’s voices from past festivals at
Hoping to see you Saturday October 20th!
We need your help! Our dedicated Added Value Youth Program has the chance to present in the upcoming Growing Power’s 2012 National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference. This is an amazing opportunity, but it is in Milwaukee just two weeks from now, and they need $2000 more in travel funding to get there. That’s where we come in.
Below is a note from Corbin, Director of the Youth Program. The fundraising they are doing is at a critical time, and any support, big or small, would be much appreciated. The youth do a lot to help our CSA happen, so let’s give back!
https://www.epkdesign.com/addedvalue/donateform.php (Put “Growing Power” in the comment section)
Please feel free to pass along to others.
If you’re like me, your composting experience makes you proud, but you don’t know much about it: You save up your cantaloupe rinds and carrot greens all week and toss em in the bin at the farm. Then something happens and something else happens and then it’s good and you are a good person.
Turns out, there’s more to it. I mean, you’re a good person and all, me too, but we could stand to know more about how and why. You could always learn a lot here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/compost/science.shtml
Or you could just make a salad.
Once every month or so, NYC Greenmarkets stops by the Farm on a Sunday morning to drop off 3 to 4 tons of household organic material collected at the previous day’s Greenmarkets all over the city. It all gets mixed up with leaves and wood chips, shovel and pitchfork style, like an enormous disgusting salad. Just like when you and I drop off our cantaloupe and mix it in the bin, but on a massive, super heavy, super wet, splattertastic level. Dumpster juice is literally running out of the bed of the truck when it pulls up.
I was there last Sunday with a team of a dozen or so other volunteers when that leaky truck came around. Working together under the direction of EcoScientist/Compost MasterChef David Buckel, we worked hard, had a lot of laughs, and learned a lot. We learned about layering the nitrogen-based material (cantaloupe etc) with carbon-based material (leaves and wood chips etc), to jumpstart the chemical processes involved in decomposition. We learned about mixing up all that layered stuff for maximum contact of all the different kinds of material, for an accelerated but uniform rate of decomposition. We learned about windrows while we made one (they’re the giant, peaked piles of earth lined up on the west end of the farm, and they’re each at a different phase of their decomposition, a process that takes around 4 months and a lot of work). Ours was 37 feet long, containing 20 cubic yards of compost.
That’s a LOT – but it’s just a fraction of what’s made out of the 160 tons of organic waste captured and converted by David and the compost program at the Farm, diverted from the landfill and creating a high quality soil amendment to help the Farm grow more healthful food.
(full disclosure: David wrote that last sentence because he is much, much smarter than me)
My personal highlight: about an hour into our unpacking of the truck, we opened a bag that turned out to be someone’s recycling (must’ve brought the wrong bag to the Greenmarket!). The entire work crew – up to our knees in decomposing vegetable matter and mud, much of which we’d splattered on each other with our pitchforks – reacted to the sudden appearance of empty water bottles and soda cans as if these were the revolting and offensive items. We’d totally psychologically normalized the yucky nastiness, and it was glorious. Also we found someone’s ponytail. There was much speculation on how it ended up in our pile (winning theory: driven mad by the heatwave, someone did something they might regret). Importantly, awesomely, human hair is a nitrogen-based organic, so it stayed in the pile!
Here’s the thing: doing it just once has made me a zealot. So here I am to say loud and clear: You need to get in on making a Big Salad. It’s just too gloriously disgusting and rewarding and educational and impactful to miss out on. Keep dropping off your cantaloupe and carrot greens! Do that all the time and always. But the Big Salad is bucket list stuff: once in a while or at very least once in your lifetime, you really need a piece of this action. Why not Sunday August 19th? Be there at noon! The truck will be there, and so will David, and so will I.