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.
BY BETH BECKMAN | www.lilkidbigcity.com
A Super-Fun Tour of the Farm Fresh Festival with Fresh Kids Foodie!
On Saturday, September 17th, 2016, The Seaport District in Lower Manhattan transformed into the Farm Fresh Festival for Kids, an interactive and experiential farm environment for children and their families. The Seaport District came alive with the sights, tastes, play, animals, farmers, growers and harvest of a farm!
The purpose of the festival was to connect children with where their food comes from, and how it grows. The festival was also a community benefit to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations working in NYC to fight childhood obesity, hunger, and poor nutrition – including Harlem Grown, City Growers NYC, Green Bronx Machine, Edible Schoolyard NYC, Fresh Air Fund, Grow to Learn, and others devoted to growing a healthy and happy world for kids.
Our little foodie and farm fan couldn’t wait to explore this incredible festival!
Upon check in – each child received a cute festival map and Fresh Bucks money! Children could exchange the Fresh Bucks for Farm Fresh Produce throughout the festival.
Map and Bucks in hand – let the adventure begin!
Farm Discovery Zones share fun and fresh adventures of a day at the farm. With so many amazing activity choices – it was hard to choose which to do!
We started the day at the South Street Seaport Museum’s Bowne Printers. Bowne Printers exhibits a working collection of vintage printing plates and machines that once documented marine trade. Children are invited to discover the history of letterpress machines, and watch stationary print before their eyes.
Today Bowne Printers exhibited a wonderful 1902 printing press that they used to print small muslin bags as a take home souvenir for all guests.
Love that children were able to engage with the vintage press – and help to carefully pull the lever to create their own special gift.
The final product! A wonderful keepsake, and memory of the festival.
Next we headed to meet some new furry friends!
The amazing Two by Two Zoo was on hand with some of their favorite farm friends!
Two by Two Zoo is not a typical petting zoo – rather a traveling zoo with a message. They pride themselves on conservation through education. Most of the animal friends were adopted, rescued, or placed with the zoo voluntarily.
Duck duck goose! How great that children were able to discover these farm friends in the streets of Lower Manhattan.
Here’s Looking at you Kid! This friendly goat was excited to be part of the festivities. We loved discovering these animals, and learning more about our new friends. The friendly staff on hand explained their eating habits and daily activities.
From the animals on the farm, to learning about farmers themselves! Next we buzzed on over to City Growers! City Growers was one of the Non-Profit partners of the festival that worked to connect urban communities with agriculture, food and environment through farm, education and advocacy.
Their booth was buzzing with bees! From honey combs and hives, to the life cycle of a bee – there was a lot to discover and see!
The TD Bank environmental team helped to show children how to plant seeds.
Children filled up small containers and chose a vegetable variety to grow on their own from home.
Such a special tent and great keepsake of the event! TD Bank also handed each child a certificate to start a new savings account, planting the seed for a lesson on saving. Love that!
Juice Time! True Organic handed out their delicious juice to all the guests of the fest. Lil Kid remembered his favorite juice from our recent picnic. Love these power packed juice treats, a TRUE farm-to-bottle experience on the go!
Let’s get cookin! Lil Kid’s favorite zone was Tastes of the Farm – where children were able to join the community Farm Table for hands-on cooking demonstrations, and learn clean, simple, easy recipes to create at home from talented chefs.
One of the cooking demonstrations was from Dos Caminos who taught children how to create their famous guacamole using authentic flavors and fresh ingredients.
A perfect hands-on experience for curious foodies, and future chefs of all ages!
The chef assisted the children through each step – adding ingredients, how to remove the avocado from the shell, and mixing techniques.
Each child could make their custom guacamole using their own molcajetes right at the table!
The best part – getting to enjoy the treat! Delicious!
Next we hit the creativity tents! There is so much inspiration found on the farm – to imagine, create and craft! These incredible creativity tents were filled with wonderful ways to explore and share with friends.
Once of the tents was hosted by The Crafty Kids. Their philosophy includes “how children create is more important than what they create.”
Busy creative hands, creating lovely crafts together.
Curated Care held a fun farm inspired crafting station – vegetable stamping to make painted creations! Children enjoyed exploring the fun vegetable shapes and the mark that was created after stamping on the paper. An amazing and natural way to craft away the day!
After each adventure we made sure to get our Passport stamped! Children were able to collect stamps from the red tents stationed throughout each area of the festival. Once all stamps have been collected, a prize from the Kindness corner was given!
Such a cute idea to entice the children to explore all areas of the festival.
Saying hello to a happy tomato friend!
Escape Makers was at the fest – highlighting the best in “agritourism”, including picking dates, farm tours, and more! It was fun visiting them to discover new foodie destinations and farm tours to explore.
Loved learning about Randall’s Island at the festival – a true urban farm here in NYC! From rice paddies to apple orchards, chicken coups, and blueberry fields – who knew that this island just outside Manhattan was a foodie and farm experience! With an amazing outreach and public program schedule, Randall’s Island Park Alliance brings an incredible environmental and farm experience to so many local communities and city families.
Loved their rice bike displayed at the festival!
Stopping by The Youth Farm to pick up some produce with our Fresh Bucks! The Youth Farm is an education-focused production farm in Brooklyn. The Youth Farm grows organic food and flowers on one acre for the community and beyond, and offers advanced farm training and leadership opportunities for youth and adults.
Next we headed over to Shenandoah Growers , the incredible entrepreneurial farmers with a vision of bringing fresh culinary herbs to the Eastern United States. A small business success story steeped in perseverance, Shenandoah Growers has today become a leading provider of fresh herbs. They brought their amazing fresh herbs to a planting station at the festival and children were able to take home their own herbs…
…and take a keepsake picture at their fun photo opportunity!
Beth’s Farm Kitchen cooked up some fun! And showed children how to create their chunky applesauce (and gave some yummy tastes of jelly and jams!).
Next we visited local favorite, Fidi Families, at the field of dreams! The Field of Dreams was an electric area for activities, games and sports within the festival. Loved this fun area filled with energy, movement and play all day!
Fidi Families brought the carnival to the farm! Farm inspired fun carnival games activities to play.
Lil Kid loved the amazing agility and fitness games at Pop Fit Kids! PopFit Kids prides itself on being a FUNctional Fitness club with a mission to empower children on the importance of exercise and life-long eating habits!
Lil Kid had so much fun at these athletic stations he didn’t want to leave!
And the fun and play from Kids in the Game! Kids in the Game helps to connect schools and families with funding so they can create athletic programs, or by helping with funding for team fees and activities – such an incredible organization!
Story time! Love that the festival included an amazing Reading Orchard – where children were able to explore the magical world of books through on-site writers, illustrators, and the NY Public Library.
Loved the specialty-created reading houses created for the festival.
And meeting some amazing new authors and friends!
After a book and a chance to unwind – we stopped by the New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital to take a moment to be kind.
The Kindness Corner at the festival gave the opportunity for children to gather and share kindness with others. Children created messages on cards, to share with our community and also hang on the Kindness Tree.
The beautiful cards hung with care.
And displayed on trees in the orchard for all to see.
All aboard! The local ladder 6 fire truck paid the festival a visit. Children loved climbing behind the wheel for a test drive.
After – a balance ride! Next, we wheeled on over to the Wagons and Wheels display! Strider Bikes was inspiring young children to ride. They offer two-wheeled bikes that offer balance, coordination, and promote confidence in children.
On your mark, get set, go! Loved the amazing obstacle course on site.
Go Lil Kid Go! After the children completed the cute obstacle course, they were given a ribbon reward. Such a great way to introduce balance to a young child – and a stepping stone to a pedal bike.
Ride ‘em cowboy! Part of the “Follow Us to the Fair Tour” this fun, interactive experience was one we couldn’t miss from Tractor Supply Company.
From music and activities on stage, photo opportunities and a chance to lasso a “runaway pig,” there were so many fun activities to explore.
Lights! Camera! Fashion! After a day of music and amazing performances – The Barn Stage came alive with an incredible first ever fashion show and official launch of Sean Jean Kids.
Backed by the amazing twin DJ duo of Amira and Kayla! Lil Kid loved these amazing DJs!
Such an amazing day on the farm!
BY BETH BECKMAN | www.lilkidbigcity.com
Look Up! An amazing view from a farm in NYC, on a rooftop of dreams.
What feeds you? At City Growers, they feed on farm education and advocacy. City Growers connects urban communities with agriculture, food and environment. Their hands-on educational programming across the city aims to give inner city residents meaningful opportunities to interact with agricultural worlds. Students learn where food comes from by engorging in fun inquiry-based activities that cultivates an appreciation for nature, and empowers them to create a positive change within their own communities.
Today we visit a very special program of our own! City Growers is helping us replant the egg-carton garden we have so carefully grown, and give it a new forever home.
Excited to be sharing this experience with friends! The children ran at the opportunity to experience this unique rooftop farm together, and to plant a memory that will last forever.
Brooklyn Grange is an incredible place. Despite its name, the Brooklyn Grange flagship location is actually in Queens and occupies an acre of land on the roof of a local building. A second, slightly larger farm sits atop the historic Navy Yard in Brooklyn (we explored this sister location last year!). Together, these two farms comprise over 100,000 square feet — a little more than two acres, and produce around 40,000 pounds of produce each year. How incredible!
City Growers is the non-profit educational partner to Brooklyn Grange, and hosts over 17,000 students for educational tours and workshops on the roof each season. They have their own special plot of land within the rooftop farm for teaching purposes.
Love the colorfully painted bricks. A beautiful and creative way to mark the gardens contents!
Each vegetable variety was lovingly marked with a brick. Such a brilliant idea – we made a note to add bricks like this to our garden at home!
We carefully unpacked our project. Our Egg carton garden grew beautifully! Amazing to see these little seeds sprout and come alive before our eyes. How special to have grown this at home with love.
We grew: Carrots, cucumbers, watermelons, radishes, squash, and green beans.
Time to replant our garden so the roots have more space to grow!
Dig a small hole. The kids used small sandbox shovels to create a perfectly sized hole. A spoon or utensil would work as well.
When digging, be sure to keep enough spacing between seeds so the roots will have enough room to grow. Check your seed varietals for recommended spacing before planting.
Because the egg carton is fully compostable, we sectioned each seedling and planted directly into the ground.
Place the seedling into the hole and cover with dirt.
Gently push the dirt over the roots – leaving the plant stem above the ground. Pat down lightly to ensure that the soil is packed around the roots.
Repeat for all others!
Don’t forget the labels! We used the stakes which were included in our egg carton garden kit to label each of our plants. So fun to watch grow and know which seeding is which. Our little guy loves seeing the differences in leaf shapes, colors and sizes of the seedlings.
Team work is the best work! Friends helping friends to be sure all seeds are perfectly planted.
Watering time! The seedlings are quite fragile; gently water each lightly so you do not flood the roots.
Be sure to give each plant a good drink of water. The roots will be thirsty after replanting!
You’re done! A beautifully replanted garden.
Can’t wait to see our babies grow!
After planting, we explored the rest of this amazing rooftop farm!
The farm is always abuzz with activity! On the day we visited, we had the opportunity to see the honeycomb frames from the bee hives!
Amazing to see these up close! Brooklyn Grange produces hundreds of pounds of New York City honey each year from the on-site apiary. What an incredible learning experience for the children.
More excitement – they were also harvesting carrots during our visit! The carrots were brilliant in color, and beautifully arranged in bunches.
They were so kind to share some of the harvest with the children. “Look – my favorite vegetable mommy!” The children were ecstatic – and had fun carefully counting the number of carrots within each bunch.
A tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit with the resident feathery friends! The children loved feeding the chickens and even broke out into a chicken dance!
An amazing day on the farm!
A huge thank you to City Growers for helping us replant our garden!
Fresh Kids is bringing the farm experience to New York City this fall! The Festival will teach kids through experiential play and activities, where food comes from, how food grows and lessons of sustainability. Most important, kids will taste and enjoy healthful good foods in a fun, festive and safe environment. The Festival serves as a community benefit to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations working in NYC to fight childhood obesity, hunger and poor nutrition – including our friends at City Growers. Planting a seed will be just one of the many farm experiences for children at the Farm Fresh Festival on September 17th, in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport neighborhood. Find more information on the amazing Farm Fresh Festival HERE