Intervale Green Rooftop Farm

A Bronx Urban Farm Sponsored by Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)

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A Visit From Food Heaven Made Easy


This past Saturday, the residents had a real treat when Wendy Lopez of Food Heaven Made Easy stopped by to give a nutrition and food demo. Wendy is a registered Dietitian based in the Bronx, who also runs a blog with her friend Jessica Jones, who is also a registered dietitian. Together they create healthy and nutritious recipes, many of which are featured in their book “28 Day Plant-Powered Health Reboot”. Wendy walked the participants through a recipe from for her one-pot chili, which is perfect for the fall season. We used tomatoes and jalapenos from the roof to make this delicious dish. The recipe is below:

  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces cooked black beans
  • 15 ounces cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine the onion, tomato, red bell pepper, garlic, carrots, and jalapeno. Mix these ingredients together with a spoon. Then in a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the ingredients in the bowl for 5 minutes over medium heat. Once those ingredients are fragrant, add the water, tomato sauce, and all of the beans. If using canned beans, make sure you rinse them well before use to get rid of all that excess sodium.

Stir all the ingredients in the pot well, and proceed to add the quinoa, cumin, and chili powder. Cook for 30 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring the ingredients in the pot every 10 minutes. Once the dish is cooked, add salt and cayenne pepper, to taste.

The residents loved participating in the preparation of the dish and planned to make it on their own.



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Getting Ready for Fall

It’s been a rainy season, but the farm has continued to thrive. The tomatoes, eggplant, okra, and herbs continue to produce on a weekly basis. With the Fall season right around the corner, we’re now beginning to plan for our fall crops. Our goal is to plant beans, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, garlic, and flower bulbs, if possible.

Garlic is definitely at the top of our list. To prepare, we will start by purchasing organic garlic from a reputable source. Garlic requires well-draining soil that’s deep enough for the head to form. The largest bulbs will be placed about 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart, with the flat side facing down and then covered with mulch to prevent damage.

Garlic needs to overwinter for the bulbs to form. By Springtime, the green stalks will begin to appear. In addition to the stalks, garlic scapes will grow which can be harvested. When the stalks begin to turn brown at the bottom, the garlic is ready for harvest!



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Harvest Giveaway and Recipe

The farm has been steadily producing fresh vegetables over the past 3 months and we now get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. This weeks giveaway included cherry, roma, and beefsteak tomatoes, collard greens, basil, eggplant, and okra. As soon as the veggies were displayed, the residents jumped in line to pick up the items they wanted. Within an hour everything was gone! The residents also enjoyed a healthy dish prepared with items from the roof. The recipe is below.

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, and Collard Greens

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced Basil
  • 2 Pints of Cherry Tomatoes 
  • 2 Cups of sliced Collard Greens
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat 1 Tb. olive oil in a  skillet over medium-high flame until it just starts to smoke. Add tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Saute, shaking pan frequently, until tomatoes soften and skins just begin to wrinkle. Stir in the garlic and continue to shake the pan until garlic is fragrant. Add Collard Greens and Saute until they turn a vibrant green and begin to wilt. Turn off heat, stir in the basil and remaining 1 Tb. olive oil, and serve.

This dish was a big a hit with the residents and the addition of collard greens made it even more nutritious. Everyone is looking forward to next weeks giveaway and dish.


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Food Demos with Cornell Cooperative

For the past 3 weeks, the residents at Intervale Green have been participating in weekly food demos held by the Cornell Cooperative. The classes focus on health and nutrition and provide information on what to look for on nutritional labels, the standard serving sizes for grains, protein and dairy as well as how to manage salt and sugar intake. Each class includes a food demo related to the weekly lesson. Last week the residents made a beet, apple, ginger and cucumber slaw and this week they made a black bean and corn salsa. Everyone seems to enjoy the food and the information provided. I can’t wait to see what they cook up next!



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Greenhouse Makeover

The Greenhouse at the Farm had a bit of a makeover this last Week. Volunteers from NYCares dedicated an afternoon to sorting, organizing and cleaning the greenhouse. The result is an organized, well-ventilated space, perfect for starting seedlings. One of our goals this season is to use the greenhouse even more than last year. This will give us the opportunity to provide more educational activities for the kids and have seedlings ready for the roof throughout the season. Many thanks to the team!


The NY Cares Volunteers with the Farm Manager (Center)


The Clean Greenhouse!


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NY Cares Visits IG

We had a great start to the season with a visit from NY cares last Thursday. The excessive rain over the past few days had resulted in a growth spurt of weeds at the garden. The containers were overflowing, so the arrival of the NY Cares volunteers was much needed.  Fourteen volunteers arrived around 10 AM ready to work. The task ahead was large, but that did not discourage the volunteers. We had to remove weeds as well as turn the soil. The volunteers were careful not to disturb the existing plants and herbs, which were thriving on the roof.  The removed weeds and old plants were placed in bags and will be used later for composting. At the end of the 2.5 hours, the majority of the containers were cleared of weeds and were ready for compost and fertilizer. Thanks again to NY Cares and Weil for their hard work at Intervale Green!