Una Sorpresa! National Hispanic American Heritage Month Celebration with City Green at PASCS!


On Tuesday, September 25, 2023, the 5th and 6th-grade students at Passaic Arts and Science Charter Middle School enjoyed a surprise celebration of National Hispanic American Heritage Month which included a presentation by City Green, a nonprofit based in Clifton. City Green shared samples of salsa made with locally grown ingredients.

Erin and Miranda prepare to distribute their salsa

Erin Baniaga, the Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator at City Green, and Miranda Madrazo, a program associate, came out to show the 150 students how delicious fresh salsa prepared with farm-fresh veggies can be. Baniaga explained that we were getting to taste some of the last tomatoes of the season, as their season is now ending. The students were invited to try the salsa and then rate it to see if they loved, liked, or didn’t like it. Almost everyone loved eating fresh, organic, and local vegetables, and inviting their participation in rating the salsa got them thinking about the tastes they enjoyed. Federal dietary guidelines show that eating fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet is likely to reduce the risks of some diseases, but research by the Centers for Disease Control shows that very few school-age children are eating enough fruits and vegetables (for more see HERE).

To help Clifton families access more vegetables and fruit, City Green operates a Veggie Mobile which stops at Clifton City Hall, a farm stand, and an eco-farm in Clifton where they offer activities for all ages, including workshops, community celebrations, and other events. They also offer Good Food Bucks, New Jersey's only statewide SNAP-doubling farmers' market incentive program. Every time a customer spends $1 of their SNAP benefits at any participating farmers' market or farm stand, they receive an additional $1 in Good Food Bucks for more locally-grown fruits and vegetables! City Green will be hosting an Open Saturday at their Eco-Farm in Clifton on October 14, 2023, focused on celebrating the harvest. They will also be hosting a Harvest Festival on October 21st at East Side Park in Paterson.

National Hispanic American Heritage Month has been celebrated from September 15 to October 15 by Presidential Proclamation every year since 1989. The text of President Biden’s 2023 Presidential Proclamation can be seen HERE. September 15 was chosen as the starting date because it is the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores, which marked the start of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. The Mexican-American War (1810 -1821) marked the collapse of Spanish rule over the New Spain Colony, which became the independent country of Mexico. The 30-day period also includes many dates of importance in the Hispanic community: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their anniversary of independence on September 15; Mexico commemorates its independence on September 16; and Chile commemorates its independence on September 18.  The Clifton Times has covered many of the flag-raising celebrations, including the Second Annual Mexican Flag Raising in Clifton (see HERE.)

City Green offers programs to foster equitable access to local food and green spaces in support of sustainable, healthy communities. One of their main missions is to provide nature-based learning opportunities for urban school students from pre-K to 12th grade by partnering with local schools to build customized educational programming to bring nature into the classroom and the classroom back to nature. Please check out their website for more events and information and our article HERE.

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