When can I stop by the farm and volunteer?
Our volunteer days change every semester. For the remainder of the fall semester and for the duration of the winter inter-session, KCC Urban Farm will be closed to the public. Check back in April 2014 for our new volunteer schedule. Non-KCC affiliated volunteers need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org first.
Where is the farm?
The farm is at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn) between T8 and T2.
How long has the farm been around?
We broke ground on the farm in April of 2011, and grew the farm in partnership with Project EATS for the first two years.
Why is there a food garden at Kingsborough Community College?
KCC Urban Farm provides students with urban farming expertise and first-hand experience building a more sustainable food system. Training through credit, non-credit and workforce development programs emphasizes hands-on experience and practical knowledge. Our goals are to prepare students for careers in the rapidly expanding local food economy, build a greater understanding of food systems through growing fresh fruits and vegetables, and educate students on the benefits of leading healthy lifestyles. We work with departments across campus, including English, Biology, Earth Sciences, Sociology, Behavioral Sciences, Culinary Arts, and Early Childhood Education to incorporate the farm into courses as an outdoor classroom.
What types of produce and herbs do you grow?
KCC Urban Farm grows mostly vegetables, herbs, and flowers, although we’ve started to add fruit as well. Vegetables include salad greens, kale, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatillos, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, and more. Herbs include parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, lovage, lavender, nettles, lemongrass, basil, lemon balm, chives, cilantro, bee balm, feverfew, and more.
How do you grow the food on the farm?
We grow using sustainable, organic practices. We promote soil health and biodiversity, making our own sprays out of hot peppers, soap, and/or neem oil if pests get out of hand. We make our own compost to add to the beds for fertility and we make a compost tea to feed the microbial life in the soil. We grow a variety of crops and flowers to ensure active agricultural ecology and rely on nature as much as possible to keep weeds and pests in check.
Can I bring my classes to the farm?
Yes! All Kingsborough classes are welcome to visit. Please schedule your class in advance. We have several templates for class visits.
What is there to be done by people who wish to volunteer on the farm? What skills are acquired?
Students manage our compost pile, using food scraps from the culinary program and wood chips from the trees that fell during Superstorm Sandy. They plant seeds, care for seedlings, and bring them to harvest. Students also harvest and cook with the produce. They build raised beds, do carpentry, maintain perennials and pathways, and do pest management. Students also water the crops and keep our tools and equipment in good shape.
Where does the food go?
Food from KCC Urban Farm goes to the Culinary Arts Program, cooking demos around campus, the KCC food pantry, students enrolled in farm courses, student volunteers, and student aides/interns, as well as for special events on the farm.
How many students work on the farm?
We hire 5-7 students each semester, 2-3 additional interns, and over 100 volunteers. Farm courses provide opportunities for an additional 10-30 students each semester.
What happened after Superstorm Sandy? Is the soil okay?
Luckily, our soil is fine. We were flooded during the storm, and initially soil tests revealed high levels of salt. However, after a long winter of rain and snow, salt levels in our soil have gone down to a level tolerable for vegetable crops. Spring crops are in the ground and happy as ever!
What kinds of courses do you offer?
For credit, we offer a summer course through the Culinary Arts Program: CA8201: Special Topics. Any student can enroll in this course as an elective, no cooking experience necessary. Through Continuing Education, we offer a variety of courses.
How can I get a job on the farm?
If you are a full-time KCC student looking for a job as a student aide on the farm, send a resume and cover letter to email@example.com!