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Men’s Health

I BELIEVE GOOD FOOD IS A RIGHT. SO I’M TEACHING KIDS TO FARM. Brendan Parker is manager at Red Hook Farms in Brooklyn, where they grow greens, root vegetables, tomatoes, and future farmers. …

I’m an urban farmer, but more broadly I’m an educator that empowers youth to see farming and food as a form of social justice. It’s funny, because I used to hate working in the garden. …

When I went to college for environmental studies at Stony Brook University, no one in my program looked like me. I couldn’t point to someone in the history of farming who was Black to follow their lead. People called me “nature boy” and “hippie,” and my first farming experiences were in the Hamptons on Long Island, where I felt out of place in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods.

But I pushed, even though my parents wanted me to pursue a profession with more stability, and I carried the magic through my first farming jobs, my work at Edible Schoolyard NYC, and eventually Red Hook Initiative.

COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations haven’t changed our mission at Red Hook. They’ve solidified it. Good food is a right. Farming is political—especially to farm on a small scale, in urban areas, and organically. It’s a political act because for so many years the kind of farming our U. S. government supports has been the complete opposite of those things: large, rural, and nonorganic.

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