Unknown to many Bronxites, the borough is home to the Bronx River Foodway, the only food forest inside a city park.
Located in Concrete Plant Park along the Bronx River in Hunts Point at Westchester and Whitlock Avenues, the Foodway was launched in 2017 to examine how a sustainable food landscape can be integrated into a public park.
The Foodway offers access to a variety of edible plants including medicinal plants like echinacea, nut trees, an assortment of native berries, as well as a section dedicated to kitchen herbs and recognizable veggies.
“I think the Foodway Program is a great way to teach our residents about sustainability and I look forward to promoting school partnerships in our district so that our youth can continue to be educated and have hands on experience with what it means to build a sustainable community,” said Community Board 9 Assistant District Manager Shirley Alonso. Concrete Park is in CB2, but straddles the CB 9 border.
Nathan Hunter, Foodway coordinator, explained to the Bronx Times that since its inception, people have drawn to the edible forest.
He has seen people propose there, harvest mint or simply enjoy nature and the food. He encourages Bronxites to walk in the garden and view the beauty it offers.
“We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Hunter explained. “It’s been very well received and we’re advocating for more Foodways in the future.”
The site is cared for by community members, NYC Parks, the Bronx River Alliance as well as partners, including The Point CDC. Additionally, Parks will be assisting the Foodway team/ Bronx River Alliance with various resources such as mulch, compost, plants, advisement and maintenance.
The Foodway has been hosting regular weekend programming opportunities every first Saturday year round. It started initially as winter work days and has continued to into the warmer months with First Saturdays at the Foodway.
Hunter stressed that the Foodway has made a difference in the community.
“They don’t have to be just places where you sit and look at trees,” he said. “It’s been a real space for healing as much as for sustenance.”