5+ Ways to Engage with Your Local Food System This February

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city growers
City Growers’ Education Conference (CGEC) aims to create opportunities for youth to meaningfully interact with the natural world. Photo credit: Valery Rizzo Photography.

This is the second post in our new series aimed at helping you get more engaged with your local food system. Got an event or opportunity you’d like to share but isn’t listed here? Let us know by emailing info@ediblemanhattan.com

Community Gardens

Saturday, February 4. The 12th Annual Seed Celebration & Swap. Don’t miss this traditional annual gathering of gardeners and exchange of seeds, catalogs and info. The Old Stone House & Washington Park, 336 3rd Street, Brooklyn; 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Free.

Thursday, February 16. General meeting of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. Keep your New Year’s resolution to get involved in a community garden this year. Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 E. 11th St. (2nd and 3rd Aves.), 6:30–8:30 p.m. Free


Tuesday, February 28. Join Slow Food NYC for an evening panel discussion of The Food Almanac 2017: Are Good, Clean, and Fair Food & Farming Trumped? The 7th Annual Food Almanac is the chance for food-active individuals to consider food and farming policy issues in the new year and under the new administration. On the agenda for discussion are the upcoming Farm Bill, School Lunch reforms, the maintenance of Nutrition Standards, undocumented farmworkers, and deregulation of food safety and environmental regulations. Local wine and beer and snacks will be served. Brooklyn Winery, 213 N. 8th St., Bklyn; 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased by Feb. 21. Proceeds benefit Urban Harvest. $50



Saturday, February 11. The 2nd Annual City Growers Education Conference. Bringing together urban farm education programs, gardeners, nonprofits and teachers to celebrate and share knowledge about farming and gardening education in New York City, City Growers’ Education Conference (CGEC) aims to create opportunities for youth to meaningfully interact with the natural world and reconnect with food’s origin from the earth. PS 20, 225 Adelphi St., Bklyn. 9 a.m.

Ongoing. Brooklyn Botanic Garden community greening. Working with block associations, community gardens and other service groups, the BBG is building a vibrant network of people, places, and projects dedicated to making Brooklyn a greener place. Education, conservation  and creative partnerships programming includes Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest, Brooklyn Urban Gardener Certificate, Community Garden Alliance, Street Tree Stewards and more.

Impact Campaigns

Food Policy Action Education Fund (FPA-EF) has announced the launch of “A Place at The Table,” a three-year national media campaign that aims to inspire America and its leaders to make ending hunger in the U.S. a national priority. Watch A Place at the Table’s inaugural PSA featuring First Lady Michelle Obama here.

NYC Food Policy Center has compiled a list of 11 Anti-Hunger Organizations to Follow on Social Media.

Good Food 100 Restaurants is a new nationwide campaign designed to educate eaters and celebrate restaurants that employ good food practices at every link of the food chain—from the environment, plants and animals to suppliers, workers and eaters. All U.S. restaurants and food service operations are invited to take the online survey toward this badge of merit. Deadline March 31, 2017.



East New York Farms! Mini-grant program will fund local residents, organizations and small business that cater to East New York, Brooklyn. Grants should be for projects that will increase access to healthy food in the East New York community. Altogether, $5k in grants will be awarded. Application deadline March 1, 2017. Contact sadatu at eastnewyorkfarms dot org.

Coming up in March:

Monday, March 6. Chefs Working to Improve the Food System. Join NYC Food Policy Center for this breakfast seminar to discuss how chefs are working to impact the food system and make lasting change. With Liz Neumark (Great Performances, Sylvia Center), Lynn Loflin (Teaching Kitchen Chef at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House) and Chef Toni (East Harlem chef and founder of Chef Toni’s Cooking Adventures). Hunter College, Silberman Building, 2180 3rd Ave. at 119th St., 2nd floor auditorium; 8:30–10:15 a.m. Free. RSVP here.

Thursday, March 9. THRESHOLD: Biodiversity, Climate and Humanity at a Crossroads. Join the New York Botanical Gardens as three renowned scholars of ecology, sustainability and environmental law discuss the implications of the climate crisis for the future. NYBG Ross Lecture Hall, 10 a.m.–noon. $20

Thursday, March 9 & Friday, March 10. NOFA-NY Organic Action Plan. Join NOFA-NY for a brainstorming session to create a New York Organic Action Plan. Share your thoughts on how NOFA-NY can create a food and farming system that is socially just, environmentally resilient and economically vibrant. March 9: Park Slope United Methodist Church, 6th Ave. at 8th St., 7–9:30 p.m. Brooklyn; March 10: 6th St. Community Ctr, 638 E. 6th St., NYC, 6:30–9:30 p.m. RSVP to elizabethhenderson13 at gmail dot com.

Saturday, March 11. 36th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom: Connecting the Drops. Join the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for their annual conference. A day of workshops, panel discussions, films and more, “Connecting the Drops” will give special attention to water wisdom, interconnectedness and citizen action. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn; 10 a.m.–4 p.m.


Sunday–Monday, March 12–13. Just Food Conference. Join food justice pioneers Just Food, for their can’t miss annual two-day event of panels, talks and discussions on strengthening our food system. This year’s theme is “A Call to Collaboration.” Workshop proposals are currently being accepted. Volunteer and internship opportunities are also available.

Saturday, March 25. GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference. From the organizers: “Celebrate the official kick-off of the community gardening season in New York City. The day will be packed with 30+ workshops on garden related topics including: food systems education, kids’ activities, vegetable growing techniques, and designing your community garden for the present and future.” Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx. 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. $5.00 Get tickets here.

Save the date:

Saturday, April 29. The People’s Climate March, Washington, DC. From the organizers: “March with the Food & Agriculture Hub to stand up for the future of our planet and fight for safe and healthy communities and food justice. We envision a future with sustainable and regenerative agriculture, family and small-scale farming, community generated solutions, safe and dignified food sector jobs, expanding space for permeable land to grow food in community and home gardens, sequestering carbon with agriculture, and food security for all people. We are committed to leadership from those communities most affected by our present food system & the most intense harm of climate change.”

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is a New York-based food and drink writer with a master's degree in magazine journalism from New York University. She stays true to her Texas roots by listening to Willie Nelson regularly and drinking a Lone Star on occasion.