October 27, 2015
The Food Justice Youth Leadership program from Queens Community House, Pomonok Community Center visits the Brooklyn Grange
reflection piece by: Wanbesley Nacelus, Age 16
I recently went on a trip to the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm with the Pomonok Food Justice Program. We took the bus and the train to get there and had the special experience of having the head grower give us a tour of the facility when we arrived. During our tour I saw they knew how to compost. We learned that people use food scraps, like egg shells, to make fresh soil. We checked out the hen houses and saw that they had several different breeds of hen. We saw several bee hives and learned that people want to make honey and the bees will help pollinate the flower so the plants can bear fruit. I saw beds of vegetables that were grown in the spring and summer time. I saw some carrots, herbs, kale, and various other vegetables on the rooftop garden. I was amazed how people can live in an urban society and still have values like growing their own food and educating people on what is healthy to eat. At the end of the tour we took a group photo with the Manhattan skyline to our backs!
August 15-18th, 2015
Agatson Urban Nutrition Initiative travels to North Carlina.
Reflection piece by: Angel
Angel visiting Clagett Farms in Upper Marlboro, M.D and SEEDS in Durham, N.C
East New York Farms! visit Rockaway Youth Task Force
Reflection piece by: Dajean Owens
On Tuesday, August 18 2015, I visited the Rockaway Youth Task Force along with other interns from East New York Farms. When we got there, I met the Rockaway Youth Task Force’s youth and staff. they told us about the history of the garden and we learned about the mission of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, which is to empower youth in the local communities through civic engagement and volunteer opportunities.
The staff at RYTF gave me and my fellow interns a tour of their garden. They showed us many things like their solar powered office and tool shed. They also had a large greenhouse and chicken coop. The most memorable part of the trip was when we got to taste the tomatoes. It was also interesting how the RYTF ways of agriculture was similar to our work at east new york farms. For example, they had a rainwater collection system tank and a composting system as well. On the next trip, I look forward to learning about another organization, how and why it was created and the work they do. It was a rewarding experience because of all that I learned and the amazing people I met.
Reflection Piece by: Solomon Aniemeka
On August 18, 2015 a couple of East New York Farms! interns and I journeyed to Far Rockaway to visit a garden site known as the Rockaway Youth Task Force. We were welcomed by two staff members in the program, Kaleel and Jasmine who welcomed us to their garden. Before we started the tour, Kaleel and Jasmine thought it would be a good idea if we could introduce our names and state why we love gardening. During this activity each person learned something new from one another and that gardening has affected our lives in similar ways and that all of us had a common goal to spread gardening throughout our communities.
When we began the tour around the garden, I discovered a few interesting facts about the program. To begin with, the RYTF had a strong connection with their community to the extent that people from different sections of the community will come to their garden to plant their own produce. This is extremely important because the RYTF has opened a great opportunity for people to have access to grow there own produce which will better benefit the community in which the use of healthy produce will increase in the environment, thus reducing the production of fatty substance that can weaken and harm the human body. Furthermore, even though the RYTF program hasn’t been around for a long period of time they are still able to access a solar panel that powers electricity throughout their garden. This is really marvelous because ENYF”s program has been here longer than the RYTF, however we only have one solar panel that powers our greenhouse. This goes to show that the smallest garden can accomplish so much with dedication and hardwork. For the next farm trips, I’m looking forward to learning about other youth farm programs and their impact on their communities.
August 17, 2015
Summer of Solutions Hartford Visits Soul Fire Farm
Reflection Piece by: Son Owens and Drashawn Jones
July 25th Myself who is an Coordinator with Summer of Solutions for three years, and my cousin who is also a interns from Summer of Solutions Hartford went on a trip to the Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg New York, a two hour trip from their home town in Hartford, CT. Before leaving Connecticut we met up with a group of strangers. These folks was not strange we just haven’t met them before, but as we approach them they were more than welcoming. I have been emailing some of these folk and the folks from the Soul Fire farm to prepare for this trip to the farm, I was truly comfortable as we was boarding the school bus with these new people we have never met and driving away from my city. “I was shy at first and standoffish, because I didn’t know nobody” said my cousin Drashawn, “after a few hour I was relax and felt like I knew peoples for months.” Said Drashawn. These individuals we whom a leaders, farmers, and educators throughout Connecticut. During the bus ride, Drashawn and I started to Connect with Nivina, who organized this whole trip, we realize she does similar work with us, and started to connect with and discussing ways we can help out as far as our program organization.
As we arrived onto the farm we were welcomed with open arms from Leah her son and the staff that worked on the farm, Leah asked us to choose anything thing on the farm that best describes us, we used those things in the welcome circle and explained what and why we choose what we picked. While in the welcome circle we played a little chair game with questions about our daily uses of things helping the world. We didn’t understand at first until Leah explained how certain things we use help plants grow or takes away from its growth. As the day went on we toured the 3 acers of the land she used as the farm. It was so much to offer, beautiful rows of different kinds of kale, broccoli, collard greens and other types of greens. Next row consist of beets, carrots and other vegetables in that nature. We saw different types of green houses. They had one for eggplant and peppers. They had one for tomatoes, all kinds big juicy green one all the way down to little red grape tomatoes. There were a moveable chicken coop to fertilize the grass. They also had metal wires around the chicken coop to outsmart the deer’s in the area, the metal wiring was there to stop the deer from jumping into the area holding the live chicken stock. After touring for about a hour we ran into Leah’s husband building a garage with visitor space on the second floor for guess to sleep. Next we picked fresh fruit and vegetables for lunch. We ate a very healthy and bright lunch (white rice, fried beans, shredded cheese, salad and wraps) while we chatted and became close friends. About an hour after lunch we planted a couple of rows of different vegetables (spinach and radishes) as we teamed up with the others from different garden programs. After planting the real fun begin after learning about different reasons why people were forced off their farms back in the early 1600s. It was more exciting to reenact it and make a play out of it. As we brought the plays to an end Leahs son showed us an exciting way to plant hard to reach areas with a method he called seed bombing. First you take a nice hand full of soil and damp it with water after the soil is damp you take a handful of clay and round it into a ball. After the ball is complete we slid our fingers into the center forcing seeds into it and rounding it back closed.
If I had to say what was an important part of the field trip to the Soul Fire Farm would be learning all about farm rights in the early 1600s. Just to hear about families being force off they land for the government to build different things like parking lots and buildings on their land had me willing to learn as much as possible. Later on some of these families was rewarded with some money and some was just grateful to get their ancestors property back. Another helpful experience was from Leah’s son, his seed bombing method lets you be a kid again as you plant hard to reach areas.
“One memorable moment about the trip has to be watching Leah husband build a garage alone while we visit his home. Speaking with him has taught me so much about carpentry.” – Drashawn Jones
“ a memorable moment from me, was that the family was also from Hartford or the Husband at least and he’s no living on the nice farm, with his family, and my dream is to live on with my love one, it was just inspiring and made me want succeed and live me goal” – Sonsharae Owens
August 5, 2015
East New York Farms! visit BK Farmyards Youth Farm
Reflection piece by: Josh Wilson
My recent trip to BK Farm yards on August 5th, 2015, located at [the Youth Farm], was worth the experience of a summer vacation. At the site, there were mostly young educated youth farmers, and a few farm educators, two being Charlexia and Sawdayah. Their information was useful and installed a lot of value that I can apply to my present position as a crew leader at East New York Farms . I participated in several farm fun fact activities, one called the nutrition/food chain and I took the role as a distributor and played different scenarios.This really stood out to me because our main focus was on understanding where our food comes from and how it affects us as consumers. However the nutrition/food chain and the different stakeholders made us aware how complex the process is in getting the food to our plates and what procedures and measures that people take in the food and handling industry. In addition, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages that face business investors and consumers, and its impact that many residents who live in close proximity to the different industries face.
My most memorable moment of the trip was picking plums off the tree because they were delicious and there was only a limited amount that we had access to. My second most memorable moment of the trip was also interacting with youth from different areas but we all shared one thing in common; agriculture. For the next farm trips and program visits, I’m looking forward to more exposure to different non-profit organizations and youth-led activities. This exposure to Bk Farmyards made me focus more on making the world greener and a better place.
July 30, 2015
Bushwick Campus Farm Summer Youth Interns (Ecostation:NY) visit the Red Hook Community Farm (Added Value)
reflection piece by: Marieangely Calasanz