Category Archives: KCC Urban Farm

Mara Gittleman, KCC Urban Farm Education Manager, Researches Stormwater Runoff in NYC

gittleman-farmCongratulations are in order for KCC Urban Farm Education Manager, Mara Gittleman. Her paper, Estimating stormwater runoff for community gardens in New York City was just published in the journal Urban Ecosystems!

“Community gardens are critical ecological infrastructure in cities providing an important link between people and urban nature. The documented benefits of community gardens include food production, recreational opportunities, and a wide number of social benefits such as improving community stability, reducing crime, and physical and mental health benefits. While much of the literature cites community gardens as providing environmental benefits for cities, there is little empirical evidence of these benefits. Here we examine the stormwater runoff benefits of community gardens by comparing two methods to estimate absorption rates of stormwater runoff in urban community gardens of New York City. The first method uses general land cover classes as determined by a land cover dataset; the second methods adds a land cover specific to community gardens — raised beds, typically used for food production. We find that in addition to the stormwater mitigation performed by pervious surfaces within a garden site, community gardens in New York City may be retaining an additional 12 million gallons (~45 million liters) of stormwater annually due to the widespread use of raised beds with compost as a soil amendment.”

Read the entire article here:  Estimating stormwater runoff for community gardens in New York City.

 

Free workshops with KCC Urban Farm!

KCC Urban Farm and the Farm FIG are offering a number of workshops next month. These workshops are open to all KCC faculty, staff, and students. Please RSVP!

  • Planting Seeds for your Vegetable Garden @ KCC Urban Farm
    • Part 1: Tuesday, 5/3, 5pm-6:30pm
    • Part 2: Tuesday, 5/17, 5pm-6:30pm
    • Join us to plant summer crops! Learn about the ins and outs of germination from seed. Participants will plant seeds both on the farm and in trays to take home. Please plan to attend both sessions. Space is limited: RSVP required.
  • 5/11, 11:30am, room M-391: Farm FIG shared curriculum Dropbox
    • Join us for our second Farm FIG meeting of the semester, where we’ll walk through a shared Dropbox of curriculum resources for teaching about food & agriculture. Have something to contribute? Let us know!
  • 5/25, 10:20am, room M-391: Training of Trainers: Learn how to lead our “Intro to Food Systems” workshop with your students
    • Our third Farm FIG meeting of the semester will include a mini training-of-trainers for leading a participatory workshop on defining “food system.” This workshop is highly adaptable – we’ve used variations of it in farm tours, classes, and events.

Want more? KCC Urban Farm’s popular Intro to Organic Vegetable Gardening class starts May 4, 5:30-8:30pm, and runs weekly for 8 weeks. More info and registration here.

Please let us know if you plan to attend any of these. See you on the farm!

Upcoming food & green career panels & job fairs

Some upcoming opportunities to network and learn about jobs in the green world and beyond…
  • Urban Agriculture and Green Careers Symposium – Friday, 3/25, 1pm-4pm – RSVP HERE – The Brooklyn College Student Center at 1 Campus Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11210 in the Alumni Lounge (4th Floor)
    • When you picture careers in sustainable agriculture in the 21st Century, we want you to think beyond Old McDonald and his farm. At the Urban Agriculture and Green Careers Symposium, get inspired by a panel of  industry professionals who are thinking differently about the ways we produce food, the spaces where we farm, and the communities that are involved in agriculture. We’ll be speaking with New York City industry leaders about their personal path to these non-traditional careers, the
      opportunities for education and job pathways in this sector, and their vision for the future of agriculture in our cities. Remember to bring a photo I.D. with you in order to access this event.

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A Community Chef for Bringing it Home

Bringing it Home (BiH) has begun! Well, not quite yet. Our Community Chef, Maya Stansberry, has just come on board to organize and lead BiH. It’s a big task, but we have no doubt of her ability to make BiH a huge success! Check out her background:

10615500_786735728015111_2491788180558449339_nPrior to taking on the responsibilities of BiH’s Community Chef, Maya was a student of Kingsborough’s Culinary Art’s program and also worked as a student aide at KCC Urban Farm. After graduating in 2015, she went on to study sustainable agricultural practices at the University of California Santa Cruz. In the midst of getting her hands dirty, Maya deepened her awareness of the inequalities throughout the current food system, further fueling her desire to be a resource to others and develop ways to make cooking a part of their unique lives. In addition to her work with BiH, Maya is attending Hunter College’s Food Science and Nutrition program.

Please join us in welcoming her!

Read more about Bringing it Home at the program’s homepage.

Dahlias: from the Aztecs to Brooklyn

 

IMG_4802By Anastasiya Novikova, KCC Farm Student Aide

When I recently began working at the farm, the first thing that came to sight were all of the Dahlias in the hoop house. They were all in full bloom on an early September day. My admiration came from the colors. They were beautifully sprouting yellows, purples, whites and pinks. I also analyzed how the petals create a very interesting shape. I knew from that day on that I wanted to maintain and keep them growing to the best of my abilities. A couple of months passed at work and I grew a deeper appreciation for these flowers when it came to arranging bouquets with our Farm Manager, Cris. I was so happy to learn a new skill and decorate our vegetable distribution for students with our carefully sorted flower bunches. The best part was after our mini farmers market, I got to choose my favorite vase with Dahlias the size of my face.

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Bringing it Home at KCC Urban Farm

KCC Urban Farm was just awarded a grant from Ample Table for Everyone, a non-profit that works to “mitigate food insecurity in the five boroughs of New York City by addressing the key causes: lack of time, lack of money, inaccessibility to nutritious food, and unfamiliarity with a variety of healthy ingredients, cooking methods and recipes.”

distribution fall15Our program, Bringing it Home, will teach participants basic cooking skills using both familiar and unfamiliar produce. BiH will empower everyone with the skills and confidence to cook at home for themselves and their families.

Visit Bringing it Home on the blog to find out more about the program including the schedule of workshops and recipes that have been created by students and staff.

See you on the Farm!

 

KCC Urban Farm Veggie of the Week: Ground Cherries

groundcherries

Recipes by student Farmer Chef Lilja with the assistance of Farmer Mike

KCC Urban Farm Veggie of the Week: Ground Cherries (Physalis Pruinosa)

FACTS

  • Ground cherries are thought to be originated in Central and South America.
  • The ground cherry is a species of Physalis, and it is technically a fruit. It is part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplants, and tomatillos.
  • It is best to plant ground cherries indoors 6-7 weeks before transplant. Transplanting takes place after the danger of frost has passed, and the soil is warm.
  • Ground cherries can produce up to 300 fruits per plant, and can keep going until frost season.

RECIPES:

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A Slice of Farm Life: Mount Compost

By Benjamin Hanon, KCC Urban Farm student aide10559659_777328102289207_4604875111502288765_n

 

Today’s story is about turning our compost pile, with the help of the nice folks over at the Liberty Partnerships Program at Kingsborough.

In the deepest depths of the kingdom of Kingsborough’s Urban Farm, towards the T1 building and behind the student beds lies the mysterious Mount Compost. Rumor has it that this mountain is made of garden waste and the bodies of fruits and vegetables that never get eaten. They say that mysterious figures wearing sun hats and farm clothes add to the mountain every week. It is believed that otherworldly forces transform this plant matter into soil. I know the truth. Mount Compost is made of much more than just the bodies of our fallen plant brethren. Mount Compost is composed of a network of of Bacteria, Fungi, and Protists that digest plant matter and convert it into the rich soil that we use on the farm.

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Farm Hands

By Lilja Walter, KCC Urban Farm student aide11222936_1021180417903973_6387449318426881408_o

Every day I look at the progression of the tan on my arms. I trace over the marks and splotches that the plants have bestowed upon my epidermal layer. They are the gentle kisses that the farm leaves behind after a hard days labor. On the train I am wrapped in my cozy dirt blanket. The light dusting protects all of my exposed parts from the cold train car, allowing me to rest rather than shiver. As I am lulled into sleep I admire the soil locked behind my fingernails. I feel my fingers worming through the land as I try to free my loves from the saboteur weeds stealing their nutrients.

I dig my arms deeper into the soil.

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