Plant Talk

Bronx VA Medical Center Personnel Receive Fresh Produce from NYBG’s Edible Academy

Posted in Behind the Scenes on May 11, 2020, by Stevenson Swanson

Stevenson Swanson is Associate Director of Public Relations at The New York Botanical Garden.

Photo of VA center staff receiving vegetables

Ann Feder (left) and Ananda Taylor (right) of the James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center welcome the arrival of fresh produce from NYBG’s Edible Academy.

Greens from the first crop of spring produce harvested at The New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Academy were recently donated to the James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center in the Bronx.

More than 65 medical center employees who are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic received bags of freshly harvested kale, spinach, and cilantro as an expression of gratitude for their life-saving work. Because of NYBG’s temporary closure, educational programs that would have used the produce have been suspended.

This was the latest in a series of donations by the Botanical Garden to organizations that provide vital services in the Bronx, never more necessary than during these uncertain times. Montefiore and Jacobi medical centers received 400 potted flowers that NYBG horticulturists ordered last fall for spring displays throughout the Botanical Garden’s grounds.

Earlier in April, bundles of kale and collard greens from the Edible Academy were delivered to Part of the Solution (POTS), which provides food and other services to 30,000 Bronx residents a year.

NYBG and the James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center are partners in an important program for veterans. In January, the Edible Academy and the medical center’s Resilience and Wellness Center launched THRIVE, a program that combines horticultural therapy and gardening activities to help heal the minds and bodies of veterans who are being treated for a wide range of mental and physical health challenges. That program has been paused during the Garden’s temporary closure.

The Edible Academy school partnership program was able to shift gears and provide fresh, organic produce to important Bronx organizations through the support of the New York City Council and others. NYBG especially thanks Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Councilmembers Andrew Cohen, Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Salamanca Jr., and Ritchie Torres.

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