On Friday, April 24, WHEDco hosted the Urban Farm & Healthy Living Kick-Off event at Intervale Green in celebration of Earth Day 2015. The event signals the official start of regular cultivating operations on the Rooftop Urban Farm located atop Intervale Green, WHEDco’s second affordable housing development located on the corner of Southern Boulevard and Louis Niné Boulevard in the Bronx. Residents enjoyed garden-themed activities for kids, cooking demonstrations by the Lehman College Nutrition Club, raffles and giveaways, smoke-free housing education from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Crotona Park activity information from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and healthy living promotion by WHEDco’s Family Support Services staff.
Activities for children included nutritional trivia and flower planting. Children crowded around a large soil container waiting their turn to get their hands dirty and plant flowers they could take home in small pots.
“It’s important to foster a connection with nature at an early age to ensure those values are seeded in the next generation,” said Katrina Ceguera, Farm Manager of WHEDco’s Rooftop Urban Farm. Ms. Ceguera engaged the children in an array for gardening activities, such as using common gardening tools, planting flowers and herbs, and cultivating healthy soil. Parents also participated as their children expressed natural affinities for healthy living and environmental preservation.
“This event spreads health awareness among our residents and introduces them to nutritional services provided by our Family Support staff,” said Pamella Poueriet, Family Support Worker at WHEDco. Services provided by Family Support include a weekly food pantry at Urban Horizons, WHEDco’s first affordable housing development, and access to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) resources, among others.
Residents enjoyed delicious, healthy food and beverages donated by Pret A Manger, with volunteers from the Pret Foundation, and ‘Wichcraft, organizations that support healthy cooking and living in urban areas.
WHEDco board member and celebrity chef, Russell Jackson, was also in attendance. Mr. Jackson advised parents on how to make everyday meals healthier and more nutritious by replacing low-quality ingredients with healthier, affordable alternatives.
We thank our partners for making this event a huge success.