This past Sunday, we harvested the last standing sunflower, mugwort plants and Indian mustard. We took some soil samples too. So –fingers crossed– soon we will be reporting on the results of the first season of phytoremediation. Especially the sunflowers grew strong roots, so we are hoping they are saturated with heavy metals.
but this Sunday was not about phytoremediation at La Finca. The farm was filled with children in costumes, enjoying a pumpkin hunt and face painting. The greenhouse was turned into a a haunted house and a Garifuna band from the Bronx entertained the crowd in the afternoon.
Founded in the late winter of 2009, La Finca del Sur was the brainchild of a number of individuals and organizations working in the South Bronx. These groups had a vision that an empty, unsightly lot on 138th Street could become a beautiful, community-led farm. With the guidance and support of MoreGardens!, a group of volunteers was mobilized, and La Finca del Sur was born. In 2010, La Finca del Sur incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, whose goal is to address issues of food access, environmental justice, and community empowerment for women of color and their allies in the South Bronx – and to tie these issues to broader systemic inequalities and global justice. La Finca is much more than a community farm. It is meeting place, an event venue. it offers Yoga, fitness classes and belly dancing classes. On Friday nights, an open mic session draws youth from the area wanting to share their poetry in a surreal setting, where surrounded by the lush green of the plants, the sound of a metro north train every few minutes dictates the rhythm of the performance. It is a place where Bronx Green Up, the community program of the New York Botanical Garden hosts hundreds of Bronx school children each year to teach them the first steps in farming or adults who want to become certified composters. I feel very lucky to have been part of this diverse group and activities. In a few weeks, we will be packing up for the winter, but until then I encourage everyone to visit and enjoy the last rays of sun at the Farm of the South.