The Slow Food NYC Urban Harvest Initiative helps New York City children learn about the effects of good food on their health and well-being, the health of their communities and the health of the planet.
Slow Food NYC believes that, to create healthy eating patterns, children need hands-on educational programs that will give them a comprehensive understanding of what good food is - where it comes from, how it is produced, how it is distributed, how good it is for them, and of course, how good it tastes.
By addressing these issues in structured learning environments, not only will children change their own eating habits; they will be inspired to share what they know with their families, friends, and community.
Urban Harvest consists of two components; Urban Harvest in Schools, started in 2007 as Harvest Time in Schools and operating at schools during the academic year (September through June) and Urban Harvest Gardens, started in 2010 and operating during the summer (July and August).
Urban Harvest in Schools started at a single school in East Harlem in 2007. It 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 eleven schools; three elementary and eight middle/high schools in the South Bronx and East Harlem, on the Lower East Side, and in Brooklyn. Free Lunch participation, under the National School Lunch Program, at Urban Harvest public schools is more than 70 percent.
At Urban Harvest schools, teachers, with the financial and logistical support of Slow Food NYC, provide unique curricular and extra-curricular instruction that affects the lives of hundreds of children directly and hundreds more indirectly – together, Urban Harvest children can: 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; and, of course, enjoy delicious, healthy food, all while learning 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 Urban Harvest teachers and students.
To see Urban Harvest in Schools action, click here. (Viktoriya’s Documentary.)
Urban Harvest Gardens started in 2010 operating small, working “educational” farms in “food desert” NYC neighborhoods during the summer growing season. 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 and preparing and eating communal meals.