Urban Farmer 2012

By Phyllis Odessey

I am the Director of Horticulture for Randall’s Island Park.   In 2012 The Learning Garden will expand in square footage and so will the responsibilities of our Urban Farmer.

What does it take to be an Urban Farmer on Randall’s Island?

Hands-on farming skills, teaching edible education to public school kids, participating in community-wide farming events, blogging for the learning garden, maintaining accurate garden records are all part of the Urban Farmer’s responsibilities.  It’s a big job.
From seed propagation to putting the garden to bed in November, the Urban Farmer position has special challenges.  The Learning Garden is maintained organically.  This means that any diseases, pests or viruses must be dealt with sustainably.  Everything we do in The Learning Garden is a teaching opportunity. Composting and rain water collection as well as recycling and eating what we grow are all part of our Edible Education program.

The Randall’s Island Learning Garden is an oasis in the concrete jungle of the city.   There are very few garden locations in the city  that are adjacent to large open green spaces.   This unique setting allows us take chances.  We can experiment with unusual vegetables and grains.  We can grow the standard tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, but we can also grow many vegetables from other cultures that reflect that population of our urban school kids.

The Urban Farmer is our ambassador.  We look forward to hiring the Urban Farmer for 2012.


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