BY BETH BECKMAN | www.lilkidbigcity.com
Look Up! An amazing view from a farm in NYC, on a rooftop of dreams.
What feeds you? At City Growers, they feed on farm education and advocacy. City Growers connects urban communities with agriculture, food and environment. Their hands-on educational programming across the city aims to give inner city residents meaningful opportunities to interact with agricultural worlds. Students learn where food comes from by engorging in fun inquiry-based activities that cultivates an appreciation for nature, and empowers them to create a positive change within their own communities.
Today we visit a very special program of our own! City Growers is helping us replant the egg-carton garden we have so carefully grown, and give it a new forever home.
Excited to be sharing this experience with friends! The children ran at the opportunity to experience this unique rooftop farm together, and to plant a memory that will last forever.
Brooklyn Grange is an incredible place. Despite its name, the Brooklyn Grange flagship location is actually in Queens and occupies an acre of land on the roof of a local building. A second, slightly larger farm sits atop the historic Navy Yard in Brooklyn (we explored this sister location last year!). Together, these two farms comprise over 100,000 square feet — a little more than two acres, and produce around 40,000 pounds of produce each year. How incredible!
City Growers is the non-profit educational partner to Brooklyn Grange, and hosts over 17,000 students for educational tours and workshops on the roof each season. They have their own special plot of land within the rooftop farm for teaching purposes.
Love the colorfully painted bricks. A beautiful and creative way to mark the gardens contents!
Each vegetable variety was lovingly marked with a brick. Such a brilliant idea – we made a note to add bricks like this to our garden at home!
We carefully unpacked our project. Our Egg carton garden grew beautifully! Amazing to see these little seeds sprout and come alive before our eyes. How special to have grown this at home with love.
We grew: Carrots, cucumbers, watermelons, radishes, squash, and green beans.
Time to replant our garden so the roots have more space to grow!
Dig a small hole. The kids used small sandbox shovels to create a perfectly sized hole. A spoon or utensil would work as well.
When digging, be sure to keep enough spacing between seeds so the roots will have enough room to grow. Check your seed varietals for recommended spacing before planting.
Because the egg carton is fully compostable, we sectioned each seedling and planted directly into the ground.
Place the seedling into the hole and cover with dirt.
Gently push the dirt over the roots – leaving the plant stem above the ground. Pat down lightly to ensure that the soil is packed around the roots.
Repeat for all others!
Don’t forget the labels! We used the stakes which were included in our egg carton garden kit to label each of our plants. So fun to watch grow and know which seeding is which. Our little guy loves seeing the differences in leaf shapes, colors and sizes of the seedlings.
Team work is the best work! Friends helping friends to be sure all seeds are perfectly planted.
Watering time! The seedlings are quite fragile; gently water each lightly so you do not flood the roots.
Be sure to give each plant a good drink of water. The roots will be thirsty after replanting!
You’re done! A beautifully replanted garden.
Can’t wait to see our babies grow!
After planting, we explored the rest of this amazing rooftop farm!
The farm is always abuzz with activity! On the day we visited, we had the opportunity to see the honeycomb frames from the bee hives!
Amazing to see these up close! Brooklyn Grange produces hundreds of pounds of New York City honey each year from the on-site apiary. What an incredible learning experience for the children.
More excitement – they were also harvesting carrots during our visit! The carrots were brilliant in color, and beautifully arranged in bunches.
They were so kind to share some of the harvest with the children. “Look – my favorite vegetable mommy!” The children were ecstatic – and had fun carefully counting the number of carrots within each bunch.
A tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit with the resident feathery friends! The children loved feeding the chickens and even broke out into a chicken dance!
An amazing day on the farm!
A huge thank you to City Growers for helping us replant our garden!
Fresh Kids is bringing the farm experience to New York City this fall! The Festival will teach kids through experiential play and activities, where food comes from, how food grows and lessons of sustainability. Most important, kids will taste and enjoy healthful good foods in a fun, festive and safe environment. The Festival serves as a community benefit to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations working in NYC to fight childhood obesity, hunger and poor nutrition – including our friends at City Growers. Planting a seed will be just one of the many farm experiences for children at the Farm Fresh Festival on September 17th, in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport neighborhood. Find more information on the amazing Farm Fresh Festival HERE