HARLEM — Kevin Bacon doesn't mind getting his hands dirty.
The "Footloose" actor learned to compost at Harlem Grown’s community garden and greenhouse on 134th Street at Malcolm X Boulevard Wednesday during a visit aimed to drum up support for the grassroots organization.
“It blows my mind,” he said of the nonprofit. “There are so many good messages here: sustainability, nutrition, education.”
Harlem Grown runs several community gardens in Harlem where local school children learn about sustainability, composting and how to grow their own food, which they get to take home. Leftovers are given to neighbors for free. Last year they grew 2,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Bacon toured their garden and greenhouse with Harlem Grown founder Tony Hillery. After the tour he met some of the kids involved in the program, who showed him tomatillos they grew and how their compost station works.
Not all of them recognized the actor. One of them asked him if he was Superman.
The visit was a surprise for Hillery, who was stressing about organizing the garden's Dec. 9 fundraiser at MIST Harlem when he got a phone call.
“It was random, it was a call out of the blue he just called me yesterday,” Hillery said. "I was banging my head against the wall and here he comes."
Bacon found out about Harlem Grown through his own charitable organization Six Degrees, which pairs up celebrities with grassroots organizations to get them more exposure.
“Basically I called Six Degrees and told them I feel like doing something tomorrow, what’s going on?” he said.
Money from both the Six Degrees fundraiser and next week's event will help maintain the gardens and expand their youth program.