Students dig in to help Boynton farm

At least a dozen Palm Beach County students picked Boynton Beach to sow seeds, rake leaves and pull weeds as part of a re-planting event this month.

As a community service project, the kids worked Sept. 7 with the non-profit food tour Taste History at the Urban Farm in downtown Boynton Beach, which is operated by Boynton Beach Community Caring Center.

It is the first time that Taste History has adopted the farm as a project, said Lori J. Durante, the food tour’s executive tour director.

“The students tilled the soil and helped to usher in the re-harvesting season with the first planting at the Urban Farm,” Durante. “They raked, shoveled, pulled weeds, laid soil and planted seeds.”

The students came from several local high schools, including Atlantic High in Delray Beach and American Heritage School in Plantation and Boca Raton.

Members of the Palm Beach Lake High School National Honor Society in West Palm Beach also participated.

“It was just a nostalgic experience about doing farm work, minus modern technology,” Durante added. (The students) felt they made an important contribution, with getting their hands in the earth, planting seeds for food.”

She said going forward Taste History will recruit volunteers for the farm’s first planting the first Saturday of September.

It’s part of their way to participate in the national Let’s Move campaign, created by first lady Michelle Obama to encourage urban farming and ultimately reduce childhood obesity.

Durante said farming was once work that people tried to move away from, but a new attitude about healthy eating and increases in childhood and adult obesity have people thinking twice about the foods they eat.

“It was the industry that people wanted to leave to do something more modern and work in something that was viewed as being more favorable,” Durante said. “There has been a change in the tide, a renewed interest in urban farming and agriculture.”

And for the kids, Durante said, volunteering at the farms makes them realize what it takes to grow the food they eat.

“It exposes them to the process of growing food, it exposes them to the career of being a farmer, the physical work it takes to prepare a farm,” she added.

Part of the fruits, vegetables and herbs grown at the farm are used at Secret Garden Cafe, a farm-to-table eatery run by the Boynton Beach Community Caring Center.

Some also are used for farm-to-fork cuisines created by local chefs and bakers who are members of the Culinary Incubator Program or

delivered to needy senior citizens through the farm’s Senior Veggie Mobile.

Both the Urban Farm and the Secret Garden Cafe are part of the Taste History Culinary Tour, where guests visit the farm and can then taste food in the cafe prepared with fruits, vegetables and herbs from the farm.

The tours, which are offered by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History and sponsored by Macy’s, are held on the second Saturday of each month in historic Lake Worth and Lantana and the third and fourth Saturdays of each month in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.

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