More Ways to Engage with Your Local Food System this February


From community gardening, beekeeping and foraging to educational events, activism and conferences, here’s the latest installment in our new series aimed at helping you better engage with the local food system. It’s a short month and there’s still lots to do.

If your New Year’s resolution was to grow window-box or fire escape tomatoes this summer, now is the time to plan your garden and prep seedlings. For inspiration, take a look at Hudson Valley Seed Company, which has taken over our Instagram account this week to share several varieties you might consider. Follow along and browse their tomatoes here.

Got an event or opportunity you’d like to share but isn’t listed here? Let us know by e-mailing

Community Gardening and Beekeeping

Thursday, February 16. The deadline is today to apply to the Hudson Valley Seed Co.’s seed donation program for your community or school garden. Register here.

Thursday, February 16. General meeting of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. Share what’s happening with fellow urban gardeners, get updates on NYC gardens under threat, and preview Phase II of Gardens Rising. This month’s meeting features a Q+A with GreenThumb’s Bill LoSasso. New Location: The Fortune Society, 625 W. 140th St. (Riverside Dr. and Bway), 6:30–8:30 p.m. Free

Saturday, February 25. NYC Beekeeping is now accepting applications for its Beekeeper Training series that meets monthly from February–November 2017. For application instructions and more information, contact nycbeekeeping at gmail dot com.


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


Ongoing. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Community Greening: The BBG is building a vibrant network of people, places and projects dedicated to making Brooklyn a greener place. Programming includes Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest, Brooklyn Urban Gardener Certificate, Community Garden Alliance, Street Tree Stewards and more. Plus, Children’s Garden Classes: “Cultivate a love of nature and a connection to plants in your kids by signing up for a Children’s Garden class at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Children aged 2 to 17 can plant their own crops and flowers and harvest them under the guidance of garden instructors.”


Saturday, March 4. Join “Wildman” Steve Brill in Central Park for this opening season walk, where even in late winter you’ll find cold-weather greens, field garlic, daylily shoots, chickweed, young mustard greens and more. 11:45 a.m.–3:45 p.m., meeting at 72nd St. and Central Park West. Call 914.835.2153 at least 24 hours ahead to reserve a place. $20 sliding scale

Sunday, March 5. “Wildman” Steve Brill heads to Prospect Park to kick off the season’s Brooklyn foraging tours. As with Central Park, expect cold-weather greens, field garlic and daylily shoots but also wild coffee—unrelated to the commercial variety yet according to the organizer “the world’s best caffeine-free coffee substitute.” 11:45 a.m.–3:45 p.m., meeting at Prospect Park’s Grand Army Plaza entrance, across from the library. Call 914.835.2153 at least 24 hours ahead to reserve a place. $20 sliding scale

Saturday, April 15. Foraging Walk in Prospect Park. Sign up now for the first of these popular wild food walks with forager and Edible contributor Marie Viljoen. Learn about plant life, the do’s and don’t’s of urban foraging, culinary ideas and creative techniques for unfamiliar ingredients. More details here. $40


Wednesday, March 1 is the deadline to apply for East New York Farms! Mini-grant program, which 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. Contact sadatu at eastnewyorkfarms dot org.

NYC Food Policy Center has compiled a list of Foundations Supporting Food Projects Around the World. Funding and other support is available both domestically and around the world for projects ranging from food security, nutrition and cooking to agro-ecology, farm trusts and food sovereignty.

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.

Wednesday, March 22. The Inner Workings of New York City’s WaterPart of NYC Food Policy Center’s “Food Policy for Breakfast” series, this panel discussion will bring together academics and environmentalists to explore how the city’s water system works. Hunter College, Silberman Building, 2180 3rd Ave. at 119th St., 2nd floor auditorium; 8:30–10:15 a.m. Free. RSVP here.

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.