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Grassroots group reopens flagship Harlem farm with something new and different

Grassroots group reopens flagship Harlem farm with something new and different 02:02

NEW YORK -- The Harlem Grown organization celebrated Earth Day this past weekend with the grand reopening of its flagship farm on 134th Street.

It's open season at Harlem Grown, where a hands-on education is guaranteed.

From digging in the dirt to customizing creations, kids can get a taste of the great outdoors in their own neighborhood, CBS2's Jessi Mitchell reported Monday.

"The purpose is to connect people, to have a place to come that's outside and pretty, just to connect to your community," executive director Nicole Engle said.

The newest addition is already a huge hit. An open-air library offers new books for young readers, free through a partnership with Penguin Random House.

"Food access is about both access and education. You can't solve access issues without layering education on top. And so, education is at the heart of what we do," Engle said.

"The book thing is just another element that just makes it even more great than it already is," Harlem mom Victoria Ellis said.

Ellis' daughter, Johnnie Baylor, attends summer camp here and is dreaming up a garden of her own with the skills she has learned.

When asked what kind of stuff she wants to grow, Baylor said, "I think I'm going to grow strawberries, fruits and vegetables."

Feeding the community takes a village of volunteers.

"I like to tell people urban farming chose me," Harlem Grown agricultural director LaTonya Assanah said.

Now full time, Assanah stumbled upon the farm walking down the block years ago.

"I'm seeing my community embrace this, especially through COVID. To see all walks of life enter in our pantry, fridge and things like that, it's just a joy," Assanah said.

The Harlem Grown team is building the second free library right now and will eventually open them at each of the farms it operates.

"We are a movement and we're going to keep on moving," Assanah said.

Get involved in free programming at a Harlem Grown farm near you, every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The flagship farm is located on West 134th between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell boulevards.

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