When can I stop by the farm and volunteer?
Our volunteer days change every semester and with the changing seasons. Check our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org first with your availability on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between the hours of 9am-2pm to find out if volunteer opportunities are available.
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 big is the farm? How much do you grow?
The farm is almost a third of an acre. Yield depends on what we grow – tomatoes are a lot heavier per square foot than lettuce, for example. In 2013, we grew over 3,000 pounds of fresh produce.
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.
What is there to be done by people who wish to volunteer on the farm? What skills
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 and to students through weekly produce distributions. During the summer and fall semesters, KCC students can visit the Farm or Access Resource Center (V231) on Thursdays at 11:30 (we alternate location each week) to pick up a selection of freshly harvested vegetables for FREE!
How many students work on the farm?
We hire 5-7 students each semester, 2-3 additional interns, and many volunteers. Farm courses provide opportunities for an additional 50-150 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 went down to a level tolerable for vegetable crops. Our crops are happy as ever!
What kinds of courses do you offer?
Through Continuing Education, we offer a variety of courses in gardening and preparing food with the harvest.
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, cover letter, and course schedule to email@example.com!