KCC Urban Farm Tour

Templates/Ideas for Class Visits to KCC Urban Farm

 

Tour request form

Please schedule any visits at least two weeks in advance. Tours and other visits are increasingly popular, so let us know your plans as soon as possible so that you get the date(s) you want.

Please direct all inquiries to Mara Gittleman, Farm Instructor – kccurbanfarm@kbcc.cuny.edu

Farm Tour~20-30 min
Led either by a student farmer or by Mara Gittleman, Farm Instructor, the tour covers all of the basics. What is the KCC Urban Farm? Why is it here? Where does the food go? We look at what’s growing, the compost pile, and the hoop house. We also discuss how students can get involved.

Volunteer work
Depending on the needs of the farm and the size of the class, there may be opportunities for students to “dig in.” Tasks for large, unskilled groups include turning compost, moving soil, weeding, picking up trash, chopping garden scraps, and more. Students MUST be told in advance that they will be doing farm work and must come dressed appropriately. The professor might want to host simultaneous alternative activities for students who do not wish to do farm work.

Plant something on the farm
~30-60 min
Depending on the needs of the farm and the size and goal of the class, students may be able to plant something on the farm, either by seed or via transplant.  The class should plan to come back to the farm to observe plant growth and to harvest. Since our crop plan is already in place, students/professors will not have the opportunity to decide which crops to plant, and are encouraged to work with what we are already growing.

Plant something to take home
~30 min
Students learn how to make newspaper pots for planting seeds. Each student will make one pot, fill it with soil, and plant one crop. All pots will go home with students with instructions for care.

Plant something to keep in the classroom
~30 min
Students will plant bean seeds in clear plastic cups covered in newspaper, to be kept near a window in your classroom. When the plant is established, the newspaper can be removed to reveal the roots! Great for Early Childhood Education, etc.

Harvest something
15 minutes – 1 hour
Depending on the time of year, there may be crops available for students to harvest. Contact Mara for a schedule of when certain crops are likely to be available. Harvesting can take anywhere from 15 minutes (fruiting crops like cucumbers) to one hour (salad greens). The professor should have a plan for use/distribution of the harvest. Ideally, this class would have come out earlier in the season to either plant crops or monitor their growth so that they get an idea of how long food takes to grow and the the amount of work that goes into it.

Make compost
~ 1 hour
What happens when we throw away food? This workshop takes a look at the KCC Urban Farm compost pile. KCC Urban Farm receives food scraps from the Culinary Arts Program and mixes them with garden scraps, wood chips, and sawdust to build our compost piles. Watch how waste can turn into a valuable resource by turning the pile! Students MUST be told in advance that they will be doing physical work and MUST come dressed in clothes and shoes that they don’t mind getting dirty. This workshop should be coupled with a lesson on our food system, waste, or physical sciences.

Class lessons
Talking about food or the environment in class? Consider hosting class outside! Professors are encouraged to bring their classes to the farm for a lesson that would normally be held in-doors. If additional support from farm staff is required, notify Mara in advance. This is also a great idea for art, drawing, video, journalism, writing, photography, and any other creative arts classes.

Research
How can you incorporate the farm into existing course modules? How can students use the farm for class assignments? How can you incorporate the farm into your own research? Thinking broadly, the farm is an outdoor lab, and can be used to research/study any number of things:

  • Impacts of gardening on students (stress, physical activity, thoughts on food, environmental awareness, etc.)
  • Adding different ingredients to compost and monitoring impact on plants
  • Look at soil life and/or compost under a magnifying glass or microscope
  • Crop yields from year to year or season to season
  • Impact of garden on campus-wide biodiversity
  • Impact of exposure to garden on student eating habits

Events
Did your class talk about food or farming this semester? Consider hosting an event on the farm during the semester to showcase your students’ new knowledge. Some ideas:

  • Final presentations on the farm
  • Students can host planting workshop or cooking demo
  • Students can host food-related workshops that are open to the KCC community – how to eat healthy on a budget, where to find a farmers’ market, some ideas for simple recipes to cook at home, what is organic?, how do we build a more sustainable food system? etc