We all have the power to make healthy choices. Eating fruits and vegetables are essential for our mental and physical wellness. At The Sylvia Center, we encourage our students to take their skills outside the classroom. This summer, we piloted Health Bucks, from the NYC Health Department, in two of our Cooks for Health youth programs. Health Bucks can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at all NYC farmers markets and provides affordable fresh produce that supports local farmers.
Students from West Brighton Community Center in Staten Island and the Boulevard Community Center in East New York were given their Health Bucks to spend during their field trip to their community farmers market. Students from East New York visited East New York Farms (ENYF) and farmer’s market on New Lots Avenue and Georgia Avenue. An ENYF Summer Youth Employee gave our students an engaging tour and introduced students to pollinators, eggplants, and squash. Students were then able to take their Health Bucks to the market and shop with a total of $8 to spend. Watermelons, grapes, garlic, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and string beans were among the favorites that were taken home. One boy even exclaimed, “I’m going to eat healthy for DAYS!” upon receiving his 1 pound of string beans for $3.
Through our Fresh Food Programs, local summer recreation program - Hudson Bluehawk Nation summer camp students made a visit to Katchkie Farm and the learning garden. Young people explored different crops like beans and lettuces and picked their own vegetables. For the hot summer day, they made rustic summer ratatouille and herb cucumber salad.