November 8, 2010 by USA Post 

NYC, NEW YORK – No one expects to find beets and carrots in a South Bronx strip located between the tracks of Metro-North Railroad and a busy elevated highway.

But there are, along with the end of the season eggplant, tomatoes, basil and habanero peppers, all grown in a pocket-sized farm called La Villa del Sur in Spanish South Farm.

Former weed choked vacant lot will be a classroom for a new company called Farm School in New York: The City of New York School of Urban Agriculture.

Since January, the school will offer a two year course aimed at developing “the next generation of leaders working to use urban agriculture to transform their communities into healthy food communities,” said executive director Jacqueline Berger.

The school is not yet accredited, but Berger said a number of universities have expressed interest in partnering with the Farm School to offer accreditation in the future.

Once operational, the farm school will join an urban agriculture movement that includes increased energy former professional basketball player Will Allen, which operates farms in Milwaukee and Chicago, with the aim of creating “a just world a community food security at a time. ”

The movement has a bimonthly magazine, Lexington, Kentucky-based Urban Farming. Editor of the magazine, said Lisa Munniksma Farm School would serve a useful purpose because “a lot of people who are interested in growing food for themselves or for others in the cities or suburbs have few agricultural skills.”

One of the Farm School instructors will be Karen Washington, a farmer of urban life and a founder of La Villa del Sur, which sells its products in the market for a farmer.

Washington said he hoped the Farm School will serve as a prototype for other urban centers, providing “an incentive to say, you know what? We can do the same.”

On a crisp autumn afternoon, Washington stopped on his way to The Farm to pick up the chickens for a community garden in another part of the Bronx. It is legal to keep chickens in New York but not ccks – too much noise. Beekeeping was legalized this year.

She grabbed a handful of earth and said: “This is life here. This is what we call” black gold “because it is fertilizer. Smell it.”

Washington said he hopes to train students for jobs such as working in the school system to monitor school gardens or packaging, and sale of local products.

A lifetime New Yorker who grew food for 20 years, Washington also works as a physiotherapist.

His routine of getting up early to the farm before heading to his day job is not so different from the lives of many small farmers in rural America, but up to 300 acres instead of three.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the family home average farm in 2010 received only 11 percent of their income from agricultural sources. The rest is largely non-agricultural work. Sixty percent of the nation’s family farms are small farms with annual gross sales of less than 10,000.

For Farm School students hoping to earn a living in agriculture, the second year of the program include training in creating business plans, said Berger.

But for many the primary goal is to produce nutritious food in the neighborhoods where the shortage of fresh produce contributes to health problems like obesity and diabetes.

“When you grow food in the city is an act so visible,” said Berger. “He has a visceral impact as the surrounding neighborhood.”

Farm School will begin with 10 students to commit to one night and one weekend day each week. Another more informal group of students will have a class at a time. Registration is on a scale from 1 per hour and of course.

Farm School is a program of a nonprofit organization called Just Food, which also promotes agricultural initiatives in New York.

Berger said the school will have classroom space for Manhattan office Just Food, but most classes will be practical and outdoors.

One of the first students Tanya Campos, an activist from the Bronx, said he believes in urban agriculture “as a tool for community development.”

Fields did not start as a farmer. “I really do not have a green thumb,” he said. “I do not know how my acrylic tips are going to feel about it.”

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