By: Beth Krietsch
Once the warm summer air drifts in, moods shift and it seems as though everyone in New York City wants to be out exploring and trying new things. The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center is excited to share 16 great day trips and events related to food and agriculture that are sure to fill your calendars (and stomachs!), while also expanding your minds. From fermentation and urban farming workshops to food fairs and immigration policy events, these activities will keep food-minded city dwellers busy, intellectually stimulated, and well fed through the end of the summer.
Summer Nights at Stone Barns
Location: Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture– Pocantico Hills, NY
When to visit: July 13, July 20, and July 27, 7 p.m.
Why you should visit: Listen to notable changemakers in the food world discuss important food systems topics at this Stone Barns lecture series taking place in three sessions on July 13 (Marion Nestle), July 20 (Rick Bayless), and July 27 (Raj Patel). Food and wine will be available for purchase, and you can take a farm tour or participate in other farm activities if you stop by early at 5 p.m..
Perfect for: Those aspiring to work in farming or any other field related to sustainable food systems, and people interested in food culture.
Further information: https://www.stonebarnscenter.org/visit/summer-nights.html
Runner and Stone Meet Your Makers Dinner Series
Location: 285 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn
When to visit: July 13, August 17, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Why you should visit: Wine and dine alongside those who produced your food at this “Meet your Makers” dinner series at Brooklyn’s Runner and Stone restaurant. Each event will consist of a three-course dinner with a wine or beer pairing. Featured local purveyors on hand to dish up your meal and a friendly conversation include Bedell Cellars and Barefoot Organics on July 13, and Strong Rope Brewery and Dirty Boots Farm on August 17th.
Perfect for: People interested in local food production and everyone who loves to eat!
Further information: https://www.runnerandstone.com/events/
Intro to Urban Farming Workshop Series
Location: Tinyfield Roofhop Farm – 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
When to visit: July 15, July 29, August 19, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Why you should visit: If you’ve been wanting to give the whole city farming thing a shot but aren’t sure where to start, you won’t want to miss these urban farming workshops at Brooklyn’s Tinyfield Roofhop Farm. Split into three different sessions, the workshops will cover microgreens propagation (Saturday July 15), vermicomposting (Saturday July 29), and building a raised bed garden (Saturday August 19). With each session just an hour-and-a-half long, you’ll learn enough to get started on your next urban farming endeavour without giving up a whole day. And of course you can attend just one workshop or sign up for all three.
Perfect for: Those looking to get started with urban gardening and composting or those who want to add new skills to their urban farming toolbox.
Farm to Fork Fondo
Location: Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania
When: July 16, July 29, August 27, September 24, all day
Why you should visit: Active and outdoorsy agriculture lovers will want to take part in a Farm to Fork Fondo event where you’ll have the chance to cycle meandering country roads through pastoral landscapes while making pit stops at farms along the way to rest, chat with farmers, and fuel-up on regional foods. You’ll also be invited to pre- and post-ride meals full of tasty local food.
Perfect For: Active food enthusiasts, outdoorsy types, people interested in local agriculture and farm-to-table meals, etc.
Further information: https://www.farmforkfondo.com/
Rooftop Summer Supper at Brooklyn Grange
Location: Brooklyn Grange – Clinton Avenue and Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
When to visit: July 18, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Why you should visit: Say cheers to the summer growing season at this Caribbean-inspired rooftop farm dinner hosted in partnership by Brooklyn Grange and The Youth Farm—an educational farm at the High School for Public Service with a mission to increase food access and “provide opportunities for all New Yorkers to increase their knowledge of the food system and build organic growing skills to sustain their communities.” Chef Arden Lewis of Purslane will whip up a mouthwatering meal of locally grown foods with help from members of the Youth Farm. Ticket sales will go towards Youth Farm’s efforts to train new farmers and expand opportunities for farm-based learning for children and adults in New York City.
Perfect for: People interested in urban agriculture, caribbean cuisine, food access, farming education, and anyone who likes to eat.
Further Information: https://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com/upcoming/youthfarmsupper
American Food and Immigration Policy: Past, Present, and Future
Location: Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD),
When: July 20, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Why you should visit: Learn how immigration policy has and continues to impact American food culture at this discussion and reception hosted by MOFAD and the Street Vendor Project. Street cart vendor Sonia Perez will share her story and a group of panelists well-versed in immigration and food culture will discuss how various policies—from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Diversity Visa Program—have impacted food businesses, food culture, and the ways we eat today.
Perfect for: Those interested in food history, culture, and immigration.
NYC Food Waste Fair
Location: Brooklyn Expo Center – 72 Noble Street, Brooklyn, New York
When to visit: July 25, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Why you should visit: Did you know businesses in New York City produce more than 650,000 tons of food scraps each year? But these scraps don’t all need to be tossed in the garbage and then sent on to a landfill. Organized by the New York City Department of Sanitation with a host committee of food waste and sustainability experts, this one-day conference looks to help food businesses “reduce costs and get the most out of our food, while helping New York City’s environment.” The conference will look at various means of repurposing food waste, from feeding people and animals to nourishing soil and creating energy, while also helping businesses build and expand upon waste prevention plans
Perfect for: Restaurant and food business owners, chefs, food and beverage business workers, anyone interested in food waste and/or sustainability.
Further information: Foodwastefair.nyc
Eat Local, Drink Local
Location: Harper’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, NY
When to visit: July 26, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Why you should visit/why it’s interesting: Drop in for a meal celebrating the local Westchester food scene at Harper’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, where you can eat and drink local foods and spirits while also chatting to the farmers, brewers, and distillers who produced it. For $95, you’ll be able to taste the flavors of food and drinks from Blooming Hill Farm, Grass + Grit Farm, Kent Falls Brewing Company, and Neversink Spirits.
Perfect for: People interested in local food production and everyone who loves to eat!
Further information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/eat-local-drink-local-tickets-34830417717?aff=es2
Saving Jamaica Bay Film Screening at Project Farmhouse
Location: Project Farmhouse- 76 East 13th Street, New York, NY
When to visit: July 28, 7 p.m.
Why you should visit: Spanning 18,000 acres, Jamaica Bay is a wetland estuary sitting between Brooklyn, Queens, and the Rockaway Peninsula and home to hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, and fish. Drop by Project Farmhouse on July 28th to catch a screening of the documentary Saving Jamaica Bay, which chronicles the story of a community that “fought government inaction and overcame Hurricane Sandy to clean up and restore the largest open space in New York City.” Narrated by Susan Sarandon, the film touches on issues of citizen advocacy and the role of urban nature in climate change mitigation. GrowNYC suggests a $10 donation.
Perfect for: Film loving foodies; people interested in local history, ecology, environmental issues, and food systems.
Further information: https://www.projectfarmhouse.org/upcoming-events/
Urban Farm Volunteer Event at Harlem Grown
Location: Harlem Grown, 118 West 134th Street, New York
When to visit: July 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Why you should visit: Shake off the mid-summer antsiness by volunteering a few hours of your time at Harlem Grown urban farm with Active Citizen. You’ll brush up on urban farming skills through weeding, seeding, composting, raking, and building alongside other volunteers and members of Harlem Grown. Harlem Grown is a nonprofit that provides youth with mentorship and education in farming, nutrition, and sustainability.
Perfect for: People interested in urban farming and those looking for opportunities to volunteer.
Further information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/urban-farm-volunteer-event-harlem-grown-tickets-33859949019
Location: Genspace- 33 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
When to visit: July 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Why you should visit: Lately, the probiotic properties of fermented foods are increasingly cited as a way to improve digestive health. In this two-hour workshop, certified fermentationist Cheryl Paswater will teach you to make a few seasonal vegetable ferments using local and organic produce. These simple recipes can then be put on repeat from your home all summer.
Perfect for: People interested in learning to make their own fermented foods at home.
Further information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-ferments-tickets-34989946873
Swale Floating Food Forest
Location: Concrete Plant Park, Bronx through the end of August, and then moving on to a new location (TBD) for September and October.
When you should visit: Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday-Sunday 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Why you should visit: It’s not everyday that you’re faced with the opportunity to forage for free vegetables in a floating garden that sits atop a 5,000 square foot barge in New York City. But thanks to the vision of artist Mary Mattingly, that dream-like situation becomes reality this summer at Swale Floating Forest, which is docked at Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx through late August. “At its heart, Swale is a call to action,” Mattingly says. “It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.” Stop by for a workshop or to grab some vegetables for dinner while contemplating our food system.
Perfect for: People interested in urban agriculture, farming, ecology, and more.
Further information: https://www.swaleny.org/
GrowNYC’s Governors Island Teaching Garden
Location: Governors Island, New York City
When to visit: Weekends through October 8th.
Why you should visit: Hop on a Governors Island-bound ferry from Brooklyn or Manhattan for a day of touring this unique urban garden’s vegetable beds and fruit trees, high tunnel greenhouse, rain garden and rainwater harvesting systems, solar oven and outdoor kitchen, and plenty of other cool activities, workshops, and events. Public access is restricted to the weekends, whereas school groups are invited to schedule field trip tours on weekdays.
Perfect for: Agriculture-minded urbanites looking for a fun and educational activity easily accessible from multiple parts of New York City.
Further information: https://www.grownyc.org/gardens/manhattan/governors-island-teaching-garden
Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant
Location: MOFAD Lab – 62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn
When to visit: Friday through Sunday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., through September 3.
Why you should visit: You may or may not be among the masses who regularly order chinese take-out, but have you ever stopped to think of the history of this ever-prevalent cuisine? Up your knowledge on the 170-year history of the Chinese American restaurant with a visit to this comprehensive exhibit at the Museum of Food and Drink— New York’s first museum dedicated to food. Explore topics of immigration, politics, and food culture while perusing more than 100 years of Chinese American restaurant menus, sampling foods prepared by acclaimed chefs, and learning the stories of Chinese Americans who created and popularized this popular style of cooking.
Perfect for: People interested in food culture and history.
Further information: https://www.mofad.org/chowexhibition
Queens International Night Market
Location: New York Hall of Science, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Best time to visit: Saturdays 6 p.m.-midnight through August 19, and September 30-October 28.
Why you should visit: Drop by the Queens Night Market to sample the flavors of the world without ever departing the city limits. This evening market is truly one of the best places around to experience diverse and unique culinary specialties ranging from Nigerian jollof rice to Japanese rice flour crepes. Parking is tricky here, so opt for public transit if you can. Come prepared to learn, taste, and celebrate the cultural diversity of this bustling city!
Perfect for: People interested in food culture and anyone who likes to eat.
Further information: https://queensnightmarket.com/
Goats at Prospect Park
Location: Prospect Park- 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
When to visit: Throughout the summer.
Why you should visit/why it’s interesting: If weren’t able to visit the Prospect Park goats last summer, you’ll get another chance this year, as a new crew is in town chomping on weeds in the park’s Veil of Cashmere and Lookout Hill regions. On loan from Green Goats goat farm in Rhinebeck, NY, the goats are a key component of the park’s woodland restoration project following damage from storms like Hurricane Sandy. With four stomachs and an ability to devour 25 percent of their body weight in vegetation each day, goats are a great tool for natural weed removal, bringing the land back to a more natural state so it can later be restored with native shrubs and trees.
Perfect for: Animal lovers, kids, people interested in sustainability and ecology.
Further information: https://www.prospectpark.org/news-events/news/2017-goats-return-prospect-park/
Photo credit: Keith Sherwood / Shutterstock.com