Talk about food for thought!
Kingsborough Community College will introduce an urban farming program this spring, making it the first New York City college to host a full-fledged farm worked entirely by students.
“Urban farms are becoming very popular in Brooklyn and agriculture is an important part of our future,” said Dr. Stuart Schulman, the Kingsborough professor who is in charge of the project, called Build a Garden in Brooklyn. “We want to show students the whole farming process, from the planting, growing and harvesting.”
The farm is still in its early stages, as Schulman and his team are looking for the right spot on the 70-acre Manhattan Beach campus to begin planting up to 30 beds of vegetables and herbs. Schulman says that he will recruit student volunteers for the initial planting, but wants to have a formal curriculum developed by fall 2011.
Students won’t be able to major in farming, but will be able to take “Farm” as an elective or as part of course work for other classes, like the culinary arts program.
“Perhaps down the road, students will be able to earn an associate degree in agriculture,” Schulman said.
As an added bonus, the farm’s produce will be used by Kingsborough culinary students, and will also be served in the school cafeteria, Schulman said.
Schulman hopes to open the farm work to non-students living in nearby neighborhoods, perhaps through a continuing education program.
“We’d really like to bring new folks onto the campus to learn about farming,” Schulman said.
The program is being funded by DeLoach Vineyards, a California-based wine company that got involved with the college through Kingsborough professor and wine country photographer Sara Matthews.
To aid the Kingsborough Farm, DeLoach will donate a portion of proceeds from 5,000 bottles of wine sold in New York City stores. DeLoach will also run seminars on organic farming on campus.
“As stewards of the land, our responsibility lies not only in fostering best practices within our own methods, but also in sharing the breadth of our knowledge with our communities,” said DeLoach owner Jean-Charles Boisset. “We’re happy to participate in the Kingsborough Urban Farm as it helps educate young people about what we have so passionately believed in for years at DeLoach Vineyards.”