We are proud to present our first garden in Manhattan, and at such a prestigious institution; the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum is the last Dutch farmhouse in Manhattan. When the Dyckman family returned to the island from Upstate in 1784, they found the original farmhouse, the orchards, and the crops burned to the ground. It took five years for the enslaved people who lived in the Dyckman’s household, the servants, and the Dyckman family to build a second house, now a city landmark and a museum since 1916. The farmhouse is a real gem hidden among old Locust trees in Inwood, on Broadway and 207th street.
The first Dyckman ancestor was Jan Dyckman; he came in the early 1600s to, at that time, New Amsterdam, and in partnership with Jan Nadal, bought acres of land in Upper Manhattan. At some point, the Dyckmans own 280 acres of land that run from the East River to the Hudson River up to 218th street; land that hosted crops of wheat, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course their food staple, apple and cherry trees. In the late 1800s, there were still 78 standing apple trees a few blocks away from the farmhouse; underneath the trees, amateur archeologist Pelham Fitz found sixty Hessian Huts for the Revolutionary War and a burial site. Ceramic pottery, bones of dogs, ashes, food, plant remains, and arrowheads were also found, indicating Lenape People lived in the area.
As they called themselves, the Lenape people, or the Lenni Lenape, lived in Manahatta for 3,000 before the first European arrived. Lenape means ‘the originals ones,’ ‘the pure ones’; Manahatta means ‘the island of many hills’ and what is now called Inwood, to the Lenape people, it was known as ‘Sharapacok,’ or ‘the edge of the river.’
Garden Kitchen Lab is proud to offer its programming at this historic landmark and excited to include food-history in its repertoire. We have developed new lessons for the summer that immerse the children in an experience of the senses, learning about Lenape foods and food as medicine, using food as a lens to learn about the Dutch culture and its kitchen, about African and African American cuisine, and the Dominican Republic Kitchen.
Our reach does not stop there; in partnership with the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum and NY Common Pantry, we have created a new program, Growing Uptown, which aims at showing the local community how to start, grow and sustain a food garden at home. The partnership delivered herb seedlings last summer to twenty families to start an herb garden. This year, more families are receiving Grow Kits to show them how to start an indoor vegetable garden and prepare recipes with their harvest. Stay tuned because there is so much more happening with Garden Kitchen Lab, Gowring Uptown and other plant and food related programs the Founder of Garden Kitchen Lab and Director of Education, Fabiola Cáceres has plan for this year!
Thank you NYC Parks GreenThumb for building these beautiful Cedar raised beds, and for the support you have given the program over the years! @greenthumbgrows