January 29, 2013 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Within New York City’s approximately 305 square mile radius and amid its vast stretches of concrete and high rises, there is a school without borders whose mission is to cultivate modern day urban farmers who will become the future leaders of their city’s food justice movement.
Farm School NYC is an educational program of the non-profit organization and pioneer of sustainable food models, Just Food, developed in partnership with some of the city’s grassroots leaders including urban farmers, community gardeners, and anti-hunger and food justice advocates.
Launched in 2011, the school fits within Just Food’s broader vision for building self-reliant urban communities, providing a framework for healthy and accessible local food systems, and inspiring positive local action around social, economic, food and racial justice issues.
Farm School NYC students learn by doing, using as their classroom the epicenters of the New York City’s urban agriculture and food justice movements–visiting and studying hands-on in a variety of the city’s community gardens, urban farms, and indoor spaces.
In addition to exposing a divers group of New York City residents (some who have never grown anything) to a variety of urban agriculture experts and growing techniques, Farm School teaches community organization and leadership skills related to food justice, while also providing the necessary business and marketing tools to make bring participants’ efforts to fruition.
Moving forward, Just Food envisions Farm School NYC ultimately serving as a resource and support system for New York City urban farmers, part of a larger vision for increasing local urban food production and access, at the same time encouraging other cities to support the cause.