Brooklyn students improve community’s access to fresh food


OCEAN HILL, Brooklyn – Students at an Ocean Hill school are getting their community better access to healthy food through their very own farm stand.

The farm stand, set up outside PS/IS 178, is open to the public. Student Saliemata Bayo, who’s in the seventh grade, said they’re here to lend a helping hand to the surrounding neighborhood.

“There’s not a lot of fruits and vegetables in our community and even if there are, it costs a lot of money and the junk food is less, so we’re help to the community,” Bayo said.

Carla Etienne, also in seventh grade, recognizes its value.

“It’s important because a lot of different stores and markets do not have fresh food,” Etienne said. “If you see, some of the fruits are rotten or some of them got chemicals.”

The school’s partnership with organization Seeds in the Middle takes it a step further. Director Nancie Katz said they’re helping the students make nourishing meals from the farm produce like soups and salads.

“In neighborhoods that are more low income, they’re inundated with more fast food and processed food and they don’t grow up knowing about nutrition and health the same way that neighborhoods that are more affluent do,” Katz said.

Even though there’s no lead chef, there is a volunteer group from A&E Real Estate.

CEO James Pathcett and his staff members help the students bring the recipes to life in a true community effort.

“Housing and food are such critical foundations of having a good lifestyle and so we’re very happy to be a part of providing fresh food and volunteering today,” Patchett said.

By having the students involved in running the stand, the idea is if they love it, then they’ll bring it home empowering everyone to be healthier.

By next year, they hope to open a café at the school to prepare those nourishing meals and sell them to the public.

The farm stand is open every Wednesday from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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