Reflections from the Compost Queen

Hello! My name is Passion Jackson and I’m a Crew Leader. I’ve been working at the 170 Farm Stand since the very beginning. Back in 2017, when we opened, I learned the logistics and navigated the stand. I assisted customers. As the season went on, I learned to account for sales and how to work on a team. Every staff member is important to the function of the stand. I’ve built relationships with the people I work with and the customers.

Part of working at the stand is knowing your customers. We base our orders to Greenmarket Co on what people have in their kitchens or not. The Mt. Eden community is composed of Hispanic, African American and Asian people. So we try to get produce particular to a variety of backgrounds. We also introduce a mixture of fruits and vegetables the population may have never heard of. Customers are excited to see what we sell every week, from purple potatoes to Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

Over the years, I learned the importance of food justice. We see food injustice daily and we don’t notice what it does to our neighborhoods and cultures. Around 170th and Townsend we’re surrounded by fast food chains. All over the Bronx we have food swamps, which means it’s our jobs to build up our neighborhoods with healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods. Community Food Action works by helping small farmers sell their produce.

The second year gave me the opportunity to be the Compost Queen. In between the stand and Farmers Markets for Kids tents, a GrowNYC Compost Drop off site was stationed. My responsibility was to educate the community on sustainable living and composting. I learned from firsthand experience how to compost using a worm bin, which was fascinating and fun. There are so many ways to compost in your own home without any smells: you can freeze your food scraps or seal them in a container in back of your refrigerator. There you go – Compost.

When the season ended in previous years, I was encouraged to continue to take part in the New Settlement community. I enrolled in the Girls Program, where I made friends and learned skills. For example, in the self-defense class I learned how to protect myself in a close combat situation. I also was a part of the Poetry project, which really helped me mentally and made me feel confident in a safe space, judgment free.

In the future I hope to continue to achieve food justice. I take Community Food Action with me by spreading the word and educating others about our mission. I loved working with the children at Farmers Markets for Kids this season, leading me to think about being an educator as a career. This program sculpted me in many ways, making me aware of the media, myself, and others. I hope more youth can have the experience I received.