As published in the New York Times | By LAUREL GRAEBER | SEPT. 15, 2016
More than two centuries ago, it wouldn’t have been unusual to encounter a sheep or a pig on the stony streets of what is now the South Street Seaport. It won’t be unusual this Saturday, either.
That’s when animals like these will join agricultural professionals and eager children for the Farm Fresh Festival for Kids, dedicated to a goal that hasn’t been pursued for many years: turning a piece of Lower Manhattan into an area Old MacDonald might be proud to call home.
“What we’re doing is transforming the seaport into an imaginative farm,” said Susanne Brose, who developed the event with Sandra Velez. Two years ago, Ms. Brose established FreshKids, a company that produces children’s snacks without genetically altered or artificial ingredients. Ms. Brose’s business, the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Generation Fresh Foundation, a nonprofit she helped found, will present the festival, which will offer opportunities to investigate livestock, planting, harvesting, cooking and composting.
“We wanted all kids to experience the fun of the farm and the connection to where our food comes from,” Ms. Brose said.
Young festivalgoers can visit Farm Discovery Zones like Meet the Animals, with lambs, pigs, chicks, rabbits and ducks to pet, and Meet the Farmers, where they’ll also encounter beekeepers.
At the Wagons and Wheels zone, the Tractor Supply Company plans to install its mobile county fair, at which children can practice clucking and hog calling and play games like lassoing Pickles the pig, a mechanical hog.
A farmers’ market is to offer fresh produce, while the zone Tastes of the Farm will provide cooking demonstrations and simple recipe instruction.
To illustrate the importance of exercise, the festival will include a sports area, called Field of Dreams, and a Bike Adventure Zone, where preschoolers can begin riding lessons with balance bikes (models without pedals).
“That’s how we’re a bit different from a food festival,” said Ms. Brose, who noted that she wanted to convey that “the values of farming are about sustainability, creativity and connecting to community.”
That means that the event will have a Reading Orchard, with storytelling and books; a Barn Stage with live music and other performances; and Creativity Tents for crafts. Young people can also visit the Kindness Corner, which will offer activities like making cards for hospital patients. It aims to cultivate something requiring neither soil nor seeds: a generous spirit.
(10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fulton and Front Streets, Lower Manhattan, farmfreshfestival.org. Free, but space is limited and online registration is required.)
A version of this article appears in print on September 16, 2016, on page C25 of the New York edition with the headline: Farm Fresh Festival for Kids.