In big cities you can only have small farms, but a study by the UN shows that small farms (not big farms) have the power to feed the world! We will be visiting urban farms, investigating what grows and where. We will learn the concepts of Permaculture, which is all about designing sensible, organic solutions to the problems our environment face.
Monday: Visit Smiling Hogshead Ranch, an urban farm built on old train tracks in the middle of industrial Long Island City. Learn elements of permaculture design.
Tuesday: Build tree guards to protect baby trees on Liberty Avenue, Queens, paid for by the city of New York, after lobbying by Sustainable Queens (SustyQ).
Wednesday: Visit Queens County Farm, the oldest working farm in NYC, and the only farm in the city with permit to have livestock, such as goats, sheep, and alpacas.
Thursday: Visit 7 Pastures Greenroof on Randall’s Island, on top of the NYC Parks and Recreation building. This is the most diverse green roof in the world!
Friday: Visit Flushing Farmer’s market. Buy some farm fresh produce to compare in a blind taste test, with commercially grown produce from a grocery store. (Try some fresh Chinese dumplings on the way back to the train:)
1. There is no waste!
We learned about composting food scraps and dead plants to create rich fertile soil. Did you know worms are a huge help to this process? Did you know the soil gets hot as it breaks down, and creates energy that can be harnessed as electricity? Did you know that green roofs can use rain for crops, while solving storm water issues the city deals with and spends money on each year?
We learned that mono-culture, where a space is used to grow just one crop, is not the best idea–because one environmental problem, like hungry bugs, can put the whole farm at risk! That is why so many farms end up using pesticides, which harm the soil, our water, and ourselves. Instead, biodiversity, where different species of plants are farmed together in the same space, can solve many of these problems before they ever start! Species protect one another and help give each other what they need. It looks cool, too!