City Gardening expands in US during pandemic


On unused land in the Bronx, gardeners in many neighborhoods are working together to make more than 12 farms hubs. The Bronx is an area in the northern part of New York City.

Gardeners work together for their community gardens and crops.

Years ago, some discovered that together their small gardens could produce enough produce to make a lot of heat. sauce. So they split the harvest to create a product called Bronx Hot Sauce. Profits from sales are reinvested in their communities.

Throughout the pandemic, the agricultural hubs of the Bronx have once again proven their strength. They produce green leafy vegetables and roots like garlic, for example.

“The trick is: How can we learn from the pandemic so that we become [truly] resilient? ”says Raymond Figueroa-Reyes. He is president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition.

The agricultural centers of the Bronx are part of an urban gardening movement across the country. Gardeners seek to empower their communities by urging them to grow their own food. When the pandemic hit, urban agriculture expanded widely and became very productive.

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

Many urban and rural areas in the United States have little access to healthy and fresh food. These areas generally have high rates of disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Millions of Americans live in neighborhoods without healthy food. And unhealthy fast food is everywhere. In cities, some community leaders use terms such as “food prison” to describe this lack of fresh food as part of deeper issues of race and equity.

Ron Finley of Los Angeles has been gardening in the city for several years. He said, “Growing your own food is like impression your own money. Finley heads the nonprofit Ron Finley Project. “It’s not just about food, it’s about freedom. This is our revolution, ”he told The Associated Press.

Finley grew up in south-central Los Angeles, where he says he had to drive 45 minutes just to get a news tomato. His efforts to rebuild communities through gardening include planting crops on deserted land.

Finley says fast food “kills more people in our communities” than guns.

“When you plant a seed,” it will reproduce, he said. It is currency. “It is a precious resource. It’s empowering. It’s more than food.

This photo provided by Raymond Figueroa, Jr. shows members of the Alternatives-to-Incarceration (ATI) community initiative at Brook Park Youth Farm who are involved in growing food as well as peppers for "Hot sauce from the Bronx." (Raymond Figue

This photo provided by Raymond Figueroa, Jr. shows members of the Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) community initiative at Brook Park Youth Farm who are involved in growing the food as well as the peppers for “The Bronx Hot Sauce” . (Raymond Figue

In the Bronx, Karen Washington spent several years advancing urban agriculture. She helped organize the pepper-growth that led to Bronx Hot Sauce. The company they now work with also makes hot sauce with peppers grown in the community of other American cities.

“Healthy food is a human right, just like clean water,” Washington said.

She is a member of the New York Botanical Garden oversight group and has helped neighborhoods start community gardens. Washington also helped launch the City Farms Market. He brings inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables to a weekly Bronx Farmer’s Market.

Washington says COVID-19 has caused a lot of people to want to grow their own food. “If we are to fight viruses,” she said, “we have to start eating healthy. “

Figueroa-Reyes agrees.

He said there was a great effort to organize more farming centers and get fresh food to where it is most needed.

Through its Bronx Green-Up, or BGU, program, the New York Botanical Garden has a long history of supporting community gardens. When the pandemic hit, she held online meetings to help resolve issues. And BGU has supplied over 10,000 cubs grass and vegetable plants.

At the start of the pandemic, program officials realized “that food insecurity has always been a big problem in the Bronx,” says Ursula Chanse. She is the director of the program.

“There is definitely a lot of interest in community gardening now, and more urban agricultural space,” Chanse said.

I am Alice Bryant.

The Associated Press reported this story. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learn English. Susan Shand was the editor.


Words in this story

Hub – not. the central and most active part or place

sauce – not. a thick liquid that is eaten with or on top of food to add flavor

Resilient – not. able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad has happened

Access – not. a way to be able to use or obtain something

To print – v. use a machine to produce books, newspapers, money, etc. (gerund form: printing)

Pepper – not. a hollow vegetable that is usually red, green, or yellow and that is eaten raw or cooked

Tomato – not. a round, sweet, red fruit that is eaten raw or cooked and is often used in salads, sandwiches and sauces

Cash – not. the money a country uses

Grass – not. a plant or part of a plant that is used as a medicine or to flavor food

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