Session 2 | Urban Agriculture

Understanding Your Urban Soils for Growing Food

Room: HM 138

This workshop is designed to appeal to a diverse audience of various knowledge backgrounds in soils. The format of the workshop is interactive, so that the audience can help direct the workshop with their specific needs and interests. The material will be presented with the aid of a ppt. This will be combined with interactive discussion and many hands-on activities (soil tests) and demonstrations (of soil properties).        

Speakers: Tatiana Morin, Director, NYC Urban Soils Institute; George Lozefski, Environmental Consultant; Bharath Prithiviraj Ph.D., Research Associate / Adjunct Asst. Professor, Dept. of Biology, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College & CUNY


Building a Grassroots Commercial Composting Service

Room: HM 438

Organic waste hauling and composting services create accessible local jobs while improving ecosystems. bk RoT started with one worker collecting 300lbs/month and grew to process 6,000lbs/month, employing 6 workers, and serving 80 households and 5 businesses. We will share 3.5 years of lessons learned and dialogue on scalability, replicability, and financial sustainability.

Speakers: Sandy Nurse, Founder, Co-Facilitator, BK ROT; Renee Peperone, Co-Facilitator, BK ROT



Panel: This Land is Our Land

Room: HM 433

As more and more communities of color are returning to their agricultural roots, urban farming is becoming an increasingly popular and viable low cost alternative for residents to feed themselves and their families with healthy locally grown produce. Once forgotten by city government, these decades long vacant lots have now become green oases improving the appearance and quality of life on the blocks that they occupy; but in NYC and cities across the country, they are now in the sights of gentrification fueled housing development as prime real estate to build up. This panel discussion will take a look at how, through advocacy efforts, cultivating community support and coordinating with local officials, two Bed Stuy gardens were saved from slated sale to developers and conveyed to the NYC Parks Department and deemed "park" land. These gardens are now able to continue feeding their neighbors, supporting local food pantries, reducing food waste through composting and to offer a safe space for children and seniors. You will hear from the farmers themselves as well as an elected official, a community housing developer and a land access advocate who believe that the public should have a say in what happens with public land.          

Moderator: Keith Carr, Manager, Community Engagement, Brooklyn City Harvest 
Panelists: Ena McPhersonCommunity Farmer, Tranquility Farm; Alice Forbes SpearCommunity Farmer, 462 Halsey Community Farm; Mara KravitzExecutive Assistant, 596 Acres; Lisa BoydChief Operating Officer, Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development (NEBHDCo); Robert Cornegy, NYC Councilman 

Urban Agriculture