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by Slow Food NYC Chapter Leader Sandra McLean

All over the country, Slow Food USA chapters are getting their hands dirty–whether by working on their own farms, or volunteering on other people’s. On May 16th Slow Food NYC members got together to Dig in the Dirt at East New York Farms! in Brooklyn. East New York Farms! is a collaborative community project that engages kids and adults in order to address food issues in their community. On this d twenty five volunteers helped the youth farmers kick off their 2009 growing season. We worked together for about 4 hours and proudly accomplished a lot. We weeded, mulched, sifted compost, dug trenches and generally got dirty.

It was uplifting to be part of creating change in a formerly blighted neighborhood that now is working towards having the biggest concentration of community gardens in the city. The change is palpable. All day long, neighborhood residents – adults and children alike – were stopping by the garden asking how they could become a part of it.

The Saturday farmers market starts in June and there will be a celebratory Harvest festival in September. At the farmers market, in addition to East New York Farms! selling the produce that they grow on the farm, neighborhood residents who grow vegetables in their yard, on their stoop or in a community garden plot can sell their produce. Anyone with a Saturday free, might want to take the trek out there and take part in the fun.

And this is just the beginning for Slow Food NYC (after all the growing season has just begun!)–our next farm volunteer day will be at Queens County Farm and Museum on June 20th.

(For all the details, go to www.slowfoodnyc.org).