‘Foodway’ in Bronx Pioneers Plantings and More

Family yoga teacher Alba Mota guides participants through stretching exercises as part of a Bronx River Foodway event. (Photo by Elia Campos via Hunts Point Express)

A pilot program on a stretch alongside the Bronx River brought new plantings, cooking and yoga classes to community members, and next year the plan is to add more programming and possibly expand the idea in the Bronx, writes Patricia Gonzalez-Ramirez in Hunts Point Express.

The Bronx River Foodway at Concrete Plant Park, as the project is known, was the brainchild of permaculture designer Mario Yanez, who took his idea for growing plants and food in underutilized spaces to Liam Kavanagh, a Parks Department deputy commissioner. The project was developed through a partnership between the city Parks Department, the Bronx River Alliance, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, The Point CDC, and Partnership for Parks.

“Not everyone has a garden, or access to earth—especially in New York City. The Bronx River Foodway helps to address this fact of city life.” said Maggie Greenfield, the administrator for the Bronx River Alliance. The goal is to jump-start the imagination, she said, and think about different ways to use land within the city.

Concrete Plant Park made for an ideal location since it connects two neighborhoods to the river. The residential area around the park is considered a food desert, meaning it has limited access to fresh produce despite the proximity of the Hunts Point food distribution center. Organizers hope the Foodway will help the city examine how a sustainable food landscape can be integrated into a public park, and help local residents use strategies to push policy and find creative solutions that address the problem of food accessibility.

Planted in the shadow of an old concrete plant are more than 4,000 plants, including herbs, medicinal plants and vegetables. While organizers acknowledged that it wouldn’t be possible to feed residents with the produce grown, the project nonetheless works to encourage healthy eating and lifestyles. Go to Hunts Point Express to read about some of the special programs – from indigenous Mexican dance to fishing classes – that were on offer recently at the Foodway site.

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