Slow Food NYC's Urban Harvest program teaches New York City children about the effects of good food on their health and well-being, the health of their communities, and the health of the planet.
The program supports hands-on educational programs that give children a comprehensive understanding of what good food is: where it comes from; how it is produced; how it is distributed; how healthy it is for them; and, of course, how good it tastes. By addressing these issues in structured learning environments not only will children be exposed to healthy foods, they will also be inspired to share what they know with their families, friends, and community.
Urban Harvest consists of two components: Urban Harvest in Schools, operating at schools during the academic year (September through June), and Urban Harvest Gardens, operating during the summer months.
Urban Harvest in Schools
Urban Harvest in Schools started at a single school in East Harlem in 2007 and was the first Slow Food in Schools program in the United States. Today, Urban Harvest in Schools financially and logistically supports good food education in sixteen schools — in the South Bronx and Harlem, on the Lower East Side, in Brooklyn, and in Queens. On average, 75% of the students in these schools participate in the federal free lunch program for children of low-income families.
At Urban Harvest schools, teachers are able to provide unique curricular and extra-curricular instruction that affects the lives of hundreds of children directly and hundreds more indirectly.
Urban Harvest children:
• Build, plant, tend, and harvest edible gardens
• Learn about nutrition and receive hands on-cooking instruction
• Operate "farm stands," offering fresh, local, seasonal produce in their neighborhoods
• Participate in food-related class visits and school trips
• Enjoy delicious, healthy food
• Learn about the politics of creating a good, clean, and fair food system
Urban Harvest in Schools also provides networking and experience-sharing opportunities to foster creative synergies among teachers and students. For example, Slow Food NYC connects educators to a network of professionals who are committed to good, clean, and fair food. The Urban Harvest Speaker's Bureau includes experts, such as farmers, chefs, and nutritionists, who offer educational workshops in the classroom.
Urban Harvest Gardens
Urban Harvest Gardens, started in 2010, operates small, working "educational" farms during the summer growing season in NYC neighborhoods classified as "food deserts." Urban Harvest Gardens provides educational programs that give neighborhood children a comprehensive understanding of what good food is by engaging them in planting and harvesting crops, including Slow Food USA Ark of Taste fruits and vegetables (www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/ark_of_taste) and cooking and eating communal meals.
Click here to learn more about Ujima Garden.