Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
The Farm School NYC project is the result of demand from the community gardeners and urban farmers that Just Food supports and with whom we partner. The project continues to be developed and led by an enthusiastic and diverse community, which involves over 60 individuals and organizations from the urban agriculture community representing all 5 boroughs of New York City. The current Advisory Board, four subcommittees, and Business Plan team are equally diverse, consisting of individuals ranging in age from early twenties to late seventies; spanning multiple races, ethnicities, academic and cultural backgrounds. The planning group includes members who are volunteer community gardeners, government employees, staff of botanical gardens and other local and international nonprofits. The School will continue to rely on these partnerships for involvement with the Advisory Board and committees, outreach and promotion, curriculum development, classroom space, faculty, and more.
Faces of Farm School NYC
Karen Washington is a community activist, striving to make the Bronx a better place to live. As a community gardener, Karen has worked with neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens; as an advocate, she has stood up and spoken out for garden protection and preservation; as one of our City Farms Trainers, she has helped people all over the city grow more food and build healthier neighborhoods; and as a member of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden grown and farm fresh vegetables to her neighbors.
For Anne O’Neill, a Curator at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, love of gardening began at the age of three, when she tended her own "secret garden," behind the wall of her mother's garden in Carlow, Ireland. In pursuit of her passion, she later earned a bachelor's degree in commerce with a concentration in horticulture from University College Dublin. Now in her 70s, Anne strongly believes that public gardens are a necessary resource for people because they fulfill a human need on many levels, including cultural, aesthetic, scientific, emotional, and spiritual ones.
Bilen Berhanu is an Outreach Coordinator at GreenThumb, the largest community gardening program in the country. GreenThumb supports community gardens in New York City – serving more than 20,000 city residents through a network of over 600 member gardens. Bilen plays an integral role in providing support to help strengthen gardens, gardener skills, and communities. GreenThumb's services take the form of materials and technical assistance, including educational workshops.