Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Urban Delights Farmstand Celebrates Its 20th Year

Katie Zilcosky

Just about three hours into their first day at the Downtown Syracuse farmer’s market, and Urban Delights is already selling out of some of its produce. The program from Jubilee Homes aims to provide affordable and accessible food to the community and teach teens lessons in entrepreneurship and nutrition.

Urban Delights is now in its 20th year, and Manager Kristina Kirby says she’s an example of what can be learned from this summer job.

“I started off as a site supervisor,” said Kirby. “So I’ve been a part of the program for 11 years. We want to also show the youth the careers paths that you can create from positions that may just be like a summer job from. So my summer job led to me not only working with Urban Delights and being the manager, but I’m also the fiscal manager of Jubilee Homes as well.”

They’ve expanded plenty over two decades. They started growing and harvesting produce on Syracuse’s Southwest side in 2014. Kirby adds they also had a few years of sparse funding, but now are able to fully staff the program. This allows teens who work for Urban Delights like Ariana Castro to build more skills, learn about new foods, and share that with her community.

“We have like little cooking classes,” said Castro. “The teach us what to do with what we are growing. Every year we grow something different. It’s really interesting, and the cooking classes do help because they tell us how we can use them. And it’s something we can take home and show other people.”

Another way Urban Delights is sharing what they learn with the community is by offering free raised beds for Syracuse residents. Chritina Kirby says about half of their plot of land is dedicated to this.

“We provide them with any technical assistance that they may need,” said Kirby. “If they need seeds, if they need equipment. We have an irrigation system so they don’t have to worry about where they’re going to get their water from. That’s a second step that we’ve taken to say ‘Okay well not only can you guys come, and if you want to purchase from urban delights.’ We can actually show you how to be more sustainable and plant and grow your own things as well.”

Urban Delights has even made a recipe book for sale full of ideas on how to use their produce. They will be at the Downtown Farmers Market each Tuesday until the season ends in October.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.