The New Agtivist: Urban farmer Annie Novak aims sky high
By: Aeire Faerie, Grist.org
Urban farmer Annie Novak is on a mission to inspire New Yorkers to grow, cook, and eat good food — and to nurture the relationships that make it all possible.
Born in Chicago, she is the oldest daughter of an artist mother and a father who worked for the Chicago Board of Trade, where he dealt with corn and soybean futures in the marketplace. After college, farming became central for Novak, 27, who is now a passionate advocate for sustainable practices. She helped start Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, New York — a test farm utilizing green roofing materials for growing vegetables. In its second growing season, the farm has become a center of community, with a weekly market, a popular volunteer program, and farm talks on subjects like composting, artisanal food businesses, and chicken-raising. It has also already inspired similar projects. (See Grist’s previous coverage.)
Somehow, Novak finds time to run an education program she also cofounded, called Growing Chefs and work as the Children’s Gardening Program Coordinator at the New York Botanical Gardens. She participates in triathlons, and can be seen zipping around town on a bike that she built herself.
I spoke with her recently about her passions for growing food in the city and community organizing.