Thursday, November 10, 2011

Final Crown Heights Farmers Market of the Season Today

From Seeds in the Middle:

First-Ever Crown Heights Farmers Market - 20 years after riots - holds last market day before winter - Jewish/minority children together beautify park until farmers return!

Central Brooklyn is one of three NYC neighborhoods with the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In response to Gov. Cuomo's Aug. 9 speech announcing Fresh Connect Farmers Markets, a team led by Seeds in the Middle opened the long-desired, first-ever Farmers Market at the corner of Albany/Lefferts Avenues. Although never funded with public monies, the market joyfully has built community among all the neighbors - once tragically torn apart during the Crown Heights riots 20 years ago. It has also spurned an unprecedented soccer program involving children of all the communities, volunteerism and a grassroots, communal movement to create healthy options for all families - affordable, easy access to nutritious food and fitness. We now seek to get lights on the field to expand sports opportunities and an expanded use of public schools for programming for all children - in an underserved neighborhood with limited options for positive, active opportunities.

Farmers Roy Hildebrant of Iona Hill Farm, New Jersey and Jamerican Farmer Rodrick Brown of Long Island have gifted the community with beautiful bounty and peace for 12 weeks, since we opened Sept. 15th. The market has allowed Seeds in the Middle to provide local youth with employment and given all access to another world - farmers - they might otherwise never encounter. The farmers have been generous in donating produce and both have come to visit and share their love of land at PS 221, Seeds in the Middle's first Hip2B Healthy School.

WHEN: Last Day of Market - Thursday, November 10, 1:30 to dark. At 4:30 pm, children plant winter garden inside Hamilton Metz Park

WHERE: Hamilton Metz Park - Lefferts Park, corner of Albany/Lefferts Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

WHAT: PS 221 classes will visit before 3 pm. At 4:30 pm, children - from young to teens who can handle shovels - will create a winter garden with decorative plants, cabbages and flowers donated by Seeds in the Middle's friends at Home Depot and the farmers themselves (who also bring rich soil from the country)! This is a reminder, that come spring, our farmers will return. And so will spring soccer! Out on the field, Seeds in the Middle lead coach Joe Cabral and our other coaches will lead boys and girls in soccer as others till the soil and install plants unfazed by winter frosts! Also - come tell our elected officials how we want to apply for grants for lights on the field!!!! And get indoor space for winter sports for all children.

WHO: Children from all communities - plus our farmers Roy Hildebrant and his family and Jamerican Farmer Rodrick Brown. They have brought beautiful gifts of health and joy and laughter to Crown Heights!
Guests invited: Special thanks to Sen. Eric Adams, Community Board 9 Chair Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, Linda Laviolette of Empire State Development, Gov. Cuomo's office, Bob Lewis and Jacqueline Follain and Jonathan Thomson of the State Ag and Markets, Denise Thomas and Maria Schumberger of the federal government, Eddie Vargas, Nancy Melissas, Alexander Mezzatesta and Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey of the NYC Parks and Recreation Dept., chef Jack Silberstein, mom Natasha (Nandi) Smith, NYPD Community Affairs Officer Vincent Martinos, former PS 91 Principal Solomon Long and PS 221 Principal Clara Kirkland. And especially our farmers Roy and Rodrick.

It took a lot of work and dedication to create the Crown Heights Farmers Market! Without them, it would not be here.

We hope to see Councilman Matthieu Eugene, Assemblyman Karim Camara, Save Our Streets, 71st Precinct Community Council, the NYPD, the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, among a few of the distinguished members of the community.

We also thank community volunteers, Charlene and Valerie Williams, Ashlee Bedford, Chana Rogatsky, teacher Savitree Williams and our youth marketers, Tavell King and Dina Borrell.

CONTACT: Nancie Katz - 917-697-3745 or Solomon Long 718-753-8932

Seeds in the Middle, named by fourth graders in central Brooklyn, is a not for profit which inspires parents, educators, students and their community to access all the opportunities New York City has to offer, beginning with improving their health, enhancing arts education and greening their environment. We are joyful, respectful, educational and engaging.

Our innovative strategy to fight obesity initiates at public and private elementary, middle and high schools. We weave together an array of proven programs into a comprehensive package to turn around ills driving down opportunity and advancement. We empower and educate all to get healthy and scale educational and social disparities. Our pilot schools are in Crown Heights, a neighborhood with one of the city’s highest obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates.

We teach how to grow, how to market, how to access and prepare nutritious food, how to exercise, how to engage in the arts, all the elements needed to promote life-changing lifelong health. Our partners come from all walks of life: chefs, athletes, educators, artists, builders and more.

Founded by Nancie Katz, a former Daily News investigative reporter ,and retired PS 91 Principal Solomon Long, we cross cultures. We transform gray into green, destitution into inspiration.

Seeds in the Middle needs support to continue. All donations accepted at

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