Archive | July, 2013

City Farming Chronicles

22 Jul

Harlem 8th graders learn about hydroponic farming in their health science class. Photo Credit: Onaje Scott

In this post I want to share some of the amazing projects in which I am currently involved, working with dynamic leaders in urban sustainability and farming. How I came to meet and work with these folks was through my work with Greenproofing, Inc., a consultancy to public school and community-based sustainability projects.

One major component of Greenproofing is our undergrad course at the City College of New York (CCNY), entitled the Economics of Environmental Entrepreneurship which was developed with funding that our group received from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The course has a service- learning component that connects the classroom to an actual sustainability or farming project in the city. In 2010 we published an article about our model for the Metropolitan University Journal. For the past year we’ve been working for Harlem Grown, a non- profit urban farming program that transforms underutilized city land to farms with public school students from elementary thru high school involved from seeding to harvest to food prep.

Harlem Grown youth installs hydroponic greenhouse

Harlem Grown youth construct hydroponic greenhouse on vacant city land. Photo credit: Harlem Grown.

Harlem Grown's founder, Tony Hillary in the farm.

Harlem Grown’s founder, Tony Hillary in the farm where they yielded over 500lbs of produce in 2012. Photo Credit: Onaje Scott

In addition to assigning CCNY students project management tasks, Greenproofing links resources to Harlem Grown including pro bono professional services (such as engineers for their hydroponic project) and we are currently working to secure a commercial space for Harlem Grown’s farmers market (finger’s crossed, we are currently in negotiations). Harlem Grown is lead by a dynamic transportation entrepreneur turn urban farming entrepreneur Tony Hillary who leverages his Hollywood connections towards resources for underserved youth in Harlem.

NY EcoStation is the other group on which we’ve been focusing our energy. We were introduced to them through our work with EcoStation’s flagship site Bushwick High School Campus Farm. Adam Schwartz an educator and leader in Brooklyn’s sustainability effortsworked with CCNY students and me in developing his first service learning class.

Bushwick Campus Farm Greenhouse

Bushwick Campus Farm Greenhouse, where veggies are harvested for farmers markets and restaurants. photo by me.

Maggie Cheney Director of Programs at NY EcoStation

Maggie Cheney Director of Programs at NY EcoStation

Greenproofing was able to secure funding through Youth Service America (YSA) for the construction of a small hydroponic system by and nutrition / farm to table workshops by Chrissy’s Cooking Club for the teens at Bushwick Campus High School.

Bushwick High School Campus was one of Greenproofing’s first public school partners, whose chemistry class taught by Carrie Brown participated in our 2nd bi-annual sustainability / environmental science symposium and poster session in 2007.

CCNY Students in Greenproofing supported Soil Science Course with Dr. Federica Raia.

CCNY Students in Greenproofing supported Soil Science service-learning course with Dr. Federica Raia.

This year we will continue to support the students and teachers at Bushwick Campus through our work on EcoStation’s advisory board.


Also check out prezi and slideshare that was presented a few years ago on some other projects.

In the next blog I’ll discuss our work in green affordable housing projects.

Shout out to my friends, c0-authors, Greenproofing co-founders: Kevin Foster and Jon Jelen.##