64th Street Community Garden celebrates annual Harvest Festival

Hello fall! On Saturday, October 18, the 64th Street Community Garden hosted its annual Harvest Festival. Students from P.S. 971, P.S. 503 and parents gathered at the garden for an afternoon of games, face painting, pumpkin giveaways, food and more.

“We’re having our end-of-season harvest festival,” said Dan Giacolone, steering committee leader and liaison between the garden, the Center for Family Life and the schools. “The theme of it is to teach the kids nutrition and urban gardening.”

The event was sponsored by the CFL. Fifty pumpkins and apples were donated by Food Town.

Among the favorite activities for the kids were the pumpkin tossing game, a bug hunt and gaining hands-on experience in gardening. Students from kindergarten all the way through high school participated in the festivities.

“The purpose of us doing these events is to raise awareness in the community about eating healthy food, learning about where your food comes from, and also participating in the activities of the garden,” said Jon Alvarez, food justice activity specialist from P.S. 503. “The kids love it. They always want to come to the garden and they love working with the plants and they get to take home flowers.

“The back of the garden is dedicated as a youth garden. It’s set up specifically for all the kids,” added Giacolone. “They grow their own seeds in the greenhouse and they harvest them.”

Jorge Muñiz, a community liaison for Councilmember Carlos Menchaca was impressed with the transformation of the garden over the years. “This is so beautiful to see this space out here. It used to be an abandoned car lot 14 years ago,” he said. “The community came together and took action in cleaning it up. We’ve seen what it’s become now. It’s a thriving community space where kids from local schools come out and get involved.”

Giacolone was thrilled by the sizable attendance. “It’s been crowded from the beginning of the day,” he said. “We’ve had over 150 people showed up so far.”

The event was deemed a success by those who attended. “They learn about the natural world around them,” said Alvarez. “We have books on literature for kids so they get to read about insects and flowers. It’s an educational and recreational day at the same time.”

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