Believe it or not, there is a little slice of farm-life right in the middle of Mott Haven. There is so much going on in Brook Park, which sits in the middle of the block between 140th and 141st streets and Brook and Willis avenues. From a thriving garden of produce, including peppers, raspberries and collard greens at the moment, to sunflowers that tower overhead to a buzzing beehive that dares you to come take a closer look, there is so much opportunity for Bronx kids to get in touch with nature.
I definitely want to revisit Brook Park and its many assets in future posts, but today I want to focus on one of its most unique feature–the chickens! In the middle of Brook Park, you will find a hustling, bustling coop full of chickens. And these ladies aren’t just for show, they lay eggs that are enjoyed by the volunteers who care for them.
Children love to visit the chickens. They move in such interesting ways and their sudden squawks can be thrilling. A visit to the chickens could also lead to interesting talks about where our food comes from, how we came to eat the way we do, what makes the eggs hatched by Brook Park’s resident hens different from those we buy at the grocery store.
To learn more about the hens, check out their official blog. (Well, hens aren’t writing the posts, but you know what I mean…). Also, here is an interesting article from “Edible Bronx” on the chickens, with mentions toward the end of the intriguing possibility of getting to adopt and name a hen this fall (?!?).
BOOKS TO BRONX WITH:
A Chicken Followed Me Home, in which you learn a lot of practical and really interesting info about different kinds of chickens, how they live, what they eat, how they lay eggs. Children’s nonfiction can be a little tricky to do well–sometimes too lengthy or too busy, filling the page with lots of insets. This book does a strikingly great job of sharing a lot of interesting facts about our hen friends in a concise and engaging way.
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County, in which a young lady waxes poetical about her love of chasing chickens and chronicles her quest to catch her elusive favorite. I loved the Queen’s voice and spirit. And Shelley Jackson’s illustrations blend watercolor and multimedia collage to create dynamic, wild yet nostalgic images that will draw you in and make you laugh. And might make you wish you could knew the thrill of chasing chickens yourself! (Don’t give in to the temptation!).