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.
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.”
Our 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.
CEWD programs (Project Rise, Northeast Resiliency Consortium) serve as pipelines to college enrollment, specifically enrollment at Kingsborough. Our programs provide educational training needed for college-level work, the opportunity to bank college credit, preparation for the CAT (CUNY Assessment Tests), and enrollment assistance when participants decide to move on to higher education. Pretty awesome, right? It gets even better:
Kingsborough just announced that the College has been recognized as Leader College—a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps—at Achieving the Dream. KCC has shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Upon hearing the news, KCC President Farley Herzek said that the college is “committed to helping students walk away with a sense of confidence and readiness for four-year study or for the workforce.”
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.
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.
This summer 14 high school juniors and seniors participated in the Brooklyn Science Innovation Initiative (BSII), a program generously supported by the AT&T Foundation. BSII, a collaboration between CEWD–led by our very own Dr. Edgar Troudt–and KCC’s College Now program–led by the program’s Director Robert Pero–provided college-level Earth Science and Entrepreneurship classes. During this 5-week program, student groups developed virtual business based on what they learned in class.
Photo via Jessica Nieberg at Kings County Politics
Last week, these students presented their businesses to a crowd of over 50, including the president of AT&T Foundation in New York, Marissa Shorenstein, KCC President Farley Herzek, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Businesses included a system using oysters to clean the ocean, the development of metal cell phone cases to protect and limit radiation exposure, a proposed design for a prototype machine to clean the bottom of the ocean, a solar-powered water filtration system for countries with limited access to clean drinking water, and an app to help make learning earth science more enjoyable.
Today’s story is about staff distribution, one of the most exciting times of the year. We hope you enjoy!
The sign outside the farm gate seemed simple enough. It told the staff and faculty what time the distribution of vegetables began. 11:30 A.M. on the dot, never a second too early, and never a second too late. From the back of the farm looking out, the farm crew could see a sea of bodies. Bodies of people who had dedicated themselves to two things. The first was serving the Kingsborough community to the best of their ability, the second was getting their farm fresh organic veggies before our stock ran low. This crowd had been waiting all year as students came and went as they pleased to student only distributions of produce. They were ready, they were hungry, and we were ready to serve them.
We’re excited to introduce KCC Urban Farm’s new Farm Manager, Cris Izaguirre!
Cris completed the Ecological Horticulture Apprenticeship at the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz, California (the same training program as our previous, Farm Manager, Silvia Torres!). Previously, Cris worked on permaculture and Native Hawaiian farms on the Big Island of Hawaii, while also assisting elementary school gardening classes at Honaunau Elementary School. Having worked part-time as a Farm Assistant pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy at KCC Urban Farm, Cris feels like they are returning to their farming home.