Energy in seeds: City gardening positive factors momentum in pandemic | Existence: Meals, Residence, Well being

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This photo by Stephen Zeigler shows Ron Finley in a Los Angeles garden. Interest in gardening has grown across the country. And city gardeners say it’s especially important for neighborhood health and resilience.



This photo courtesy of Raymond Figueroa, Jr. shows members of the community-based Alternatives-to-Incarceration (ATI) initiative at Brook Park Youth Farm growing food and peppers for The Bronx Hot Sauce. Interest in gardening has grown across the country. And city gardeners say it’s especially important for neighborhood health and resilience.



Power in seeds: urban gardening gains momentum in a pandemic

This photo provided by Lucky Atkare shows an urban garden in Los Angeles. Interest in gardening has grown across the country. And city gardeners say it’s especially important for neighborhood health and resilience.



Power in seeds: urban gardening gains momentum in a pandemic

This photo by Raymond Figueroa, Jr. shows members of the community-based Alternatives-to-Incarceration (ATI) initiative at Brook Park Youth Farm growing food and peppers for The Bronx Hot Sauce. Interest in gardening has grown across the country. And city gardeners say it’s especially important for neighborhood health and resilience.



Power in seeds: urban gardening gains momentum in a pandemic

This photo, provided by Natt Slober, shows members of the community-based Alternatives-to-Incarceration (ATI) initiative growing food and peppers for The Bronx Hot Sauce. Interest in gardening has grown across the country. And city gardeners say it’s especially important for neighborhood health and resilience.

From KATHERINE ROTH Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – On a cluster of vacant lots and other unused land in the Bronx, gardeners from low-income neighborhoods have teamed up to create over a dozen “farm hubs” that coordinate their community gardens and crops.

A few years ago some discovered that their small gardens together could grow enough peppers to mass-produce hot sauces – Bronx Hot Sauce, to be precise, with profits from sales reinvested in their communities.

During the pandemic, the Bronx’s agricultural centers once again proved their strength, producing health-promoting crops like garlic, kale, and kale.

“The trick is, how can we learn from the pandemic to really become resilient?” Said Raymond Figueroa-Reyes, president of the New York Community Garden Coalition.

“When the pandemic broke out, urban agriculture went into hyper-productivity mode. People saw that the (food) donations received were not sufficient in quantity or quality and there is no dignity to wait for this kind of charity, ”he says.

The Farm Hubs are part of an urban gardening movement across the country that aims to empower residents of poorer neighborhoods by encouraging them to grow fresh food.

Areas (both urban and rural) with little access to healthy, fresh food are known as “food deserts” and are typically high in diabetes and other diseases such as high blood pressure and obesity. In cities where many see the phenomenon as inseparable from deeper issues of race and equality, some community leaders prefer terms such as “food prisons” or “food apartheid”.