The Science Barge

Last summer, I joined students and their teacher Carol Kennedy from the EcoLeaders program in the Bronx on a trip to the Science Barge. This floating facility teaches about urban farming and sustainable energy. The barge moves from one location to another; sometimes you can see it docked in Manhattan, but in July 2011 it was on the Hudson River in Yonkers. The barge grows hydroponic vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce, uses solar/wind energy and vegetable oil, and recycles its wastewater with the goal to “to stimulate the sustainable development of New York City.”

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Urban Farm at the Battery

“This is the first urban farm at the Battery since the Dutch planted their cottage gardens in New Amsterdam in 1625,” says the farm’s website. This new garden is located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, a place known for ferries that run from here to Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty. Wall Street and Stock Exchange are just a few steps away. Today I have observed high school students from a transfer school volunteering in the garden, picking up vegetables, and helping with a new farmstand selling fresh produce. Hundreds of tourists pass by every hour, many of them make it to the garden, which is open for everyone. I think that most visitors are amazed like I am by the combination of surrounding skyscrapers and this urban farm with its smell of tomato leaves, compost, wet soil, and lavender.

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

TV studios and repair shops topped with a green roof with a panoramic view of Manhattan skyline and East River… This is the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, New York. I was lucky to go there earlier this week with Carol Kennedy, a high school science teacher, and her students from the Bronx. Students said they have never seen green roofs, and after this trip they would like to see one on top of their school in the Bronx.

Fish in the Bronx River

Christine Alfsen of UNESCO-NYC and I went to Rocking the Boat for the Community Rowing event on the Bronx River. We got on a boat and rowed upstream to the Concrete Plant park. On our way we’ve seen several fishermen, one of them with this big fish. Photo: Cicy Medina, program assistant at Rocking the Boat, demonstrating the fish to curious community members in her boat.

A-frame garden

A vertical garden shaped as the letter “A” allows urban communities to grow food in a compact space. Students at ACTION (the Point CDC, the South Bronx), have constructed an A-frame to grow strawberries. Adam Liebowitz, the Community Development Director at the Point, says that growing food for inner-city communities if one of the goals of this education program.

Older students teaching younger students

High-school students in ACTION at the Point CDC are teaching younger students to plant vegetable seeds. Tomato, pumpkin and cucumber plants in the Point CDC garden will produce healthy food to feed the local community in Hunts Point, the Bronx.