Bronx Zoo inspires us all to eat healthy

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 12:00 am
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media


How does your garden grow? That’s the theme this summer at New York’s fines — the Bronx Zoo!


Connecting kids to what they eat is powerful. Learning what the animals and we eat is motivating. Garden based learning is the future and at the forefront of our mission to change the way we eat bringing awareness to the farm.


Take a trip this summer to New York City every Saturday/Sunday in June (and each month through October, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and visit the Bronx Zoo to experience a better way to eat that’s not only exciting and fun, but changes lives too.


Kids that grow kale eat kale! That’s the theory inside our half-acre garden plot that the FarmOn! Foundation curated for the Bronx Zoo this summer in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Plant a seed! Pull a carrot! Eat that carrot! It not only tastes better, it fosters wellness beyond your belly. By teaching the kids to “fish” instead of only fishing the deep seas of processed food each day — in our less than super markets — we lower our carbon footprint, we connect youth back to nature and nutrition, we restore a connection to our agricultural heritage and rebuild local economies in the process — all just from an investment in growing some of the food you eat.


Motivated to plant a garden of greens in a small window box, plan a raised bed or simply shop at farmers markets all summer long for organically grown seasonal produce and protein to cook? Together our collective consciousness of “how-to” lends important tools for kids to know how the garden grows beyond science or nutrition — but as a life skill and food source — and also shifts economic development by linking rural and urban marketplaces, all while stimulating healthy minds, bodies and communities.


Imagine what could happen if we all dig in?


Browse the garden and learn really cool food facts. Each weekend at the Bronx Zoo, FarmOn! promises life-changing experiences with interactions that imprint and inspire curiosity to dig deeper and ask questions about eating fresh vegetables and where they come from. Kids can touch seeds of all kinds to bring home and plant themselves with the FarmOn! Seed Packet Crafting activity in partnership with the Hudson Valley Seed Library or plant onsite with the incredible Green Bronx Machine in the interactive garden beds.


“Got Milk?” We are making planters out of milk cartons and crafting royal crowns with the Orange County Dairy Princesses — engaging and fun for the whole family!


Do you eat worms? No! But experience “Kitchen to Compost” food waste solutions with McEnroe Organic Farm and learn how important the earthworm is to our soil. “Whispering to the veggie roots to grow!” Steve Ritz of Ted Talks and founder of Green Bronx Machine explained, bringing taste tests to life at the zoo!


This weekend, on Father’s Day, celebrate dad by growing his favorite foods from the farm and learning to cook what you grow for an “All Star Dad” celebration with professional athletes from the NBA and Modern Farmer magazine with recipes to take home in their summer issue “What the duck?”


Daily weekend cooking demos include tastings from Just Food (cooking from your CSA), EatLocalNY (fermentation workshop about pickling), Sylvia Center (healthy cooking), Cabot Cheese (tasting) and French Culinary Institute chef Lisa Witkowski (demo and recipes for on-the-go healthy snacks). Veggie heroes from Sprout TV will be in the garden teaching us all too.


Next weekend, June 27-28, “Be A Bee,” as pollinators reign with the queens organizing the collection and production of nectar and pollen to craft honey and take responsibility for every third bite of food we eat. Author Lela Nargi will share her book “The Honeybee Man” with students for a buzzing bee story hour 2-4 p.m. (June 27 only) with a reading and demo. Poughkeepsie Farm Project will share a “Year in the Life of the Seed,” so kids can simulate being a bee and pollinating rituals.


FarmOn! seed packet crafting continues to entice kids to pick their favorite vegetable, bring home seed — add sun, water and love — and motivate healthy eating all year round.


Check the events schedule for more information. FarmOn! continues all summer long with “Harvest of the Month” games and activities celebrating kale, tomatoes, apples and boo at the zoo July through Oct. 31.


Fall in love with food all over again by visiting the FarmOn! garden project with friends and family this summer to re-learn how to eat, what the animals eat and more at the Bronx Zoo. Making meals meaningful and keeping farmers farming is a choice we make every day by choosing to eat local. Make your contribution today and meet your farmer to connect to what you eat. It’s all possible at the Bronx Zoo too! FarmOn!


To contact Tessa Edick, email Tessa@ or follow her on Instagram or Twitter @FarmOnFarmOn.


Copyright © 2015 Columbia-Greene Media