5+ Ways to Get Involved With Your Local Food System This Month



With the start of the new year and on the eve of the inauguration, we’re starting a new series to help you get more engaged with your local food system. Got an event or opportunity you’d like to share but isn’t listed here? Let us know by emailing info@ediblemanhattan.com


NYC Food Policy Watch takes a look at the inner workings of City Harvest and Food Bank for New York City in order to “measure the nutritional quality of food banks“: “It’s one thing to give hungry people food. It’s another to give them food with nutritional value. Yet that’s the challenge food banks across the country face on a daily basis, especially in New York City where an estimated 1.4 million people rely on emergency food programs.”

Community Gardens


January 19, join the NYC Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) for their monthly General Meeting. Get updates on gardens under threat, share what’s happening in your garden and preview next phase of Gardens Rising, NYCCGC’s initiative to reduce stormwater flooding by building green infrastructure within community gardens. Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 E. 11th St. (2nd + 3rd Aves). 6.30–8.30 p.m.

Don’t belong to a community garden? GreenThumb can help direct you to one here.

January 23 is the deadline for 2017 grant applications Citizens Committee for NYC (CCNYC)’s Neighborhood Grants. The grants of up to $3,000 will go to “resident-led groups to work on community and extra-curricular school improvement projects throughout the city.” Join The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust and CCNYC on Saturday, January 7, for a grant application info session, from 10 a.m.–noon. RSVP at 718.963.7020 or info@bqlt.org.


For those hoping to address climate change on a systemic level, multi-week classes may be of interest.

Join University of Minnesota Extension for the 6th annual Local Foods College webinar series. Available to anyone interested in strengthening food systems, these free online classes run from January 17–March 7, 2017. Online Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. Register here.

The Brooklyn Commons will be hosting an 8-week class on Integrating Social and Natural Systems: Implications for Sustainability and Resilience in a Changing World. From the organizers: Whether we live in rural or urban places, we are greatly influencing Earth system processes, such as how water cycles between places, how soils are intricately linked to the movement of water, exchange of gases, and growth of plants even on Manhattan rooftop gardens, and how the composition of the atmosphere affects incoming and outgoing energy, which then impacts global climate change. February 2–March 23. The Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.



January 19, join Food & Water Watch for Resist Trump! Volunteer Meeting. From the organizers: As New Yorkers, it’s critical that we stand together to resist Trump’s extreme anti-environmental agenda and continue to fight for clean water, climate justice and safe food. Learn how you can help challenge Trump’s climate change-denying cabinet nominees and continue the fight against dirty fossil fuel infrastructure. Together, we’ll stand up to protect our communities, public health and the environment. 6:00–8:00 p.m. New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St.

Save the date:

March 12–13. Just Food Conference. Join food justice pioneers Just Food, for their annual two-day event of panels, talks and discussions on strengthening our food system. This year’s theme is “A Call to Collaboration.” Workshop proposals are currently being accepted. Volunteer and internship opportunities are also available. Find out more here.

March 25, 2017. GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference. From the organizers: “Celebrate the official kick-off of the community gardening season in New York City. The day will be packed with 30+ workshops on garden related topics including: food systems education, kids’ activities, vegetable growing techniques, and designing your community garden for the present and future.” Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx. 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. $5.00 Get tickets here.

April 29, 2017. The People’s Climate March, Washington, DC. From the organizers: “March with the Food & Agriculture Hub to stand up for the future of our planet and fight for safe and healthy communities and food justice. We envision a future with sustainable and regenerative agriculture, family and small-scale farming, community generated solutions, safe and dignified food sector jobs, expanding space for permeable land to grow food in community and home gardens, sequestering carbon with agriculture, and food security for all people. We are committed to leadership from those communities most affected by our present food system & the most intense harm of climate change.”

Featured photo credit: Facebook/Just Food

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is a New York-based food and drink writer with a master's degree in magazine journalism from New York University. She stays true to her Texas roots by listening to Willie Nelson regularly and drinking a Lone Star on occasion.