Bronx River Alliance’s Foodway

Just after recently learning that this borough is the greenest, another story clues us in on this innovative program:

The Bronx River Foodway

Fresh Food from Our Land

The Foodway connects the river area with people, growing food and medicinal plants. Come explore the food forest and relish (hah!) the delight of seeds becoming plants for life.

The Guardian’s Meka Boyle gives another reason why visiting this borough is a worthwhile extension to any visit to New York City:

‘It made my heart sing’: finding herbs and medicine in the Bronx food forest

The Bronx River Foodway, the only legal place to forage in New York, celebrates the end of a season

Foodway team members gathered around a picnic bench at the New York Botanical Garden created by the artist Elizebeth Hamby. Photograph: Courtesy Elizabeth Hamby

Bimwala’s tours are a mix of returning foragers eager to learn more and newcomers, many of whom have lived in the Bronx for decades. Photograph: Courtesy of Nathan Hunter

On a crisp November day in the South Bronx, more than 300 people made their way from Westchester Avenue below the clamor of the 6 train down a tree-lined path leading to Concrete Plant park. This is the home of the Bronx River Foodway, a quarter-acre food forest full of edible, mostly native plants. What looks like a stretch of land dotted with trees appears at first glance to be overrun by weeds, but the wild foliage has been intentionally planted by the Foodway. It is the only legal foraging site in New York City.

Neighbors young and old poured on to the grassy banks of the Bronx River to celebrate the end of the season and the foliage of the Bronx, including an array of snacks made from foraged ingredients: ginkgo cheese and acorn crackers, and pickled mushrooms and herbal ales made at recent four-part cooking series put on by the Foodway over the last two months.

The classes are part of the Foodway’s educational programming. Previous virtual classes covered how to safely forage; how to start indoor gardening; how to cook with lamb’s quarter, an abundant drought-tolerant plant with edible kale-like leaves and seeds comparable to quinoa; and how to identify medicinal herbs for respiratory health.

“We live in what’s called the asthma triangle because of all the highways and industrialization of the South Bronx. Many of the plants that grow the Foodway are remedies for respiratory issues,” says the Foodway’s coordinator, Nathan Hunter, the only full-time city parks employee at the Foodway. He sees it as an oasis for residents of the industrial part of the Bronx framed by the historic silos from the former concrete factory. Foragers can take as much as they want, whenever they want, day or night…

Read the whole article here.

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