Our blog has been quiet for a while, but don’t worry, fall semester has started, so we’re back to show you some of what CommAg has been up to this summer and what our plans are for the next couple of semesters.
Filling up the beds with fresh soil
Maggie and Alex assembling our new bench
A few dedicated members and a very committed advisor have been working hard all summer to beautify and update our Washington Square Village garden. The wood of a lot of our beds had completely rotted through, the soil we had was so nutrient-depleted after many years of use that it hardly grew anything (even weeds!), and the space in general needed a lot of loving. Alex, Christina, Maggie, Morgan and Nick began meeting weekly to update the garden in May. We requested some new beds and fresh soil, built some new beds and lined them, redid our compost area in the back, added a bench and planted tons of flowers and veggies.
Cherry tomatoes and basil, with sunflower sprouting in the back
Some of our new beds with happy sproutlings
Spinach and beans
A midsummer lettuce harvest
The garden is already blooming with big tomatoes plants, zinnias about open and bean stalks climbing up their trellises. We can’t wait to spend a lot of time in the garden with you all this fall semester and to continue working on the garden. We’re even hoping to use some of the produce to make delicious snacks for our meetings and use the garden to learn about agriculture in the city. We’ll be sending out meeting information over our OrgSync list (join here), on Twitter and on Facebook. We hope you’ll join us this semester!
After long delay the NYU Urban Farm Lab is about to be established at an accelerated pace. Over the next four days — Thurs. May 30th to Sun. June 2nd — we are going to transform the patch of ground at Silver Towers from bare dirt into neatly laid out garden beds, mulched paths, and hopefully even start planting. In order for this to happen, your help is urgently needed for several intensive work days.
On the first day we will be marking out and shaping the beds. On the second and third days we will be further digging the beds and spreading mulch on the paths. On the fourth day these activities will continue and it is hoped that we might also be planting.
This is also the time for people who want to be involved in a committed and responsible way to become familiar with the garden and to talk about planning. In Food Studies Professor Matthew Hoffman’s absence, some people will have to be responsible for planting and transplanting and for watering whatever gets planted. On Saturday he will lead an introductory workshop on garden planning so that those who want to take responsibility for it can know how to organize planting in time and space.
If you are willing to volunteer, be it for an hour, a day, or several days, please follow this link to the official volunteer page and sign up for one or more time slots between 10am and 7:30. The NYU Farm is located on the north side of Houston Street in front of the Silver Towers building on the corner with Wooster, here. Make sure to dress appropriately for work: trousers in which you don’t mind kneeling in the dirt, sturdy shoes, gloves if you don’t want to dirty and roughen your hands, and generally clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty and abrading. If you happen to have a garden fork or spade (the digging kind) bring it along. On Friday-Sunday a pointed shovel will also come in handy.
We won’t be able to get this done without a lot of help, so if you are at all able to volunteer, please do. This will only happen once — be a part of history! We will have a lot of fun and you will have ample opportunity to learn one of the most fundamental skills of biointensive gardening: how to prepare garden beds. Join us!
Thanks for you help!
The Farm Crew
What? Help CommAg plant greens, radishes, carrots and more! Learn about succession planting, and how you can become a part of the garden this summer to reap all the delicious benefits!
When? Saturday April 28, 2012, 1-3PM
Where? Wash. Sq. Village Garden (Walk South down Schwartz Plaza, cross W. 3rd, and walk under the big #1)
See you there!
<3<3 NIKKI and CommAg Friends >^..^<
We had a fantastic meeting last week with a great turn out. Thank you to everyone who came and helped us make seed starter pots. We are so excited for this planting season! If you missed out or are just interested in making more seed starter pots on your own, I attached a DIY video to the end of this post for simple pots from just a sheet of newspaper.
Where is this beautiful bundle of crocuses and sunshine, you may ask? No where other than the garden a few days ago, in late February! Thoughts on this year’s early bloomings? See what the New York Times has to say about the early buds and concerns of climate change, along with the lack of pollinators and fears of a sudden turn of weather: Much to Savor, and Worry About, Amid Mild Winter’s Early Blooms.
How about stopping by the garden this weekend to see? And while you’re there start visualizing how you want the garden to look come springtime!
We also had Justin from Ethikus stop by and share Shop Your Values Week (SYVW) with us. Ethikus is a great organization focused on getting New Yorkers to “vote with your wallet” by highlighting businesses that ethical and sustainable, based on how the business engages with the community, supports its employees, addresses its environmental impact, and how its products and services are sourced. Shop Your Values Week is a week long event that is being organized now, for the beginning of May. Ethikus gave us a grant last year and for that we are very thankful! And they want to continue to collaborate with us, which is great! But as Justin put it well, “we want our relationship to be a mutually beneficial one”! A.K.A. If you want to get involved with their great organization, check out their website or send them an email (Or talk to us and we’ll put you in touch with Justin!). They have a Meetup coming up next week where they will be talking more about Shop Your Values Week and anyone is invited to join in and collaborate!
Check out their social media pages: ethikusNYC Twitter , Facebook , Blog , Meetup !
Come to our first meeting of the semester
THIS THURSDAY AT 6:30 PM IN KIMMEL 901
for good company, some updates on the garden, upcoming events, and moreeee!
Keep an eye on agrowculture, they are supporting urban farmers by connecting them to their communities. Find a farm near you, petition for one, or start your own!
Watch this video of an adorable 11 year old boy talking about what’s wrong with the food system.
And grab a student discounted ticket for the 2012 Just Food Conference with food talks, workshops, panels, a Good Food Jobs Fair, and a keynote address from Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen A. Merrigan. Read more here!
We didn’t get to talking about hydroponics or aquaponics at the wonderful meeting tonight, as we were amazed by the concept of in vitro meat as an alternative food production system, but if you are interested, here is the lowdown. Hydroponics is a system of growing crops without soil by exposing the roots to a nutrient-rich water solution. Aquaponics combines hydroponics with aquacultures through a symbiotic relationship between the crops grown and aquatic animals that are raised in the underlying water solution.
So check out this short, awesome TED talk by Britta Riley who started Windowfarms, a vertical hydroponic growing system designed with our new york apartments and dorms in mind and let’s get to building our own!