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Our good friends

By EunYoung Sebazco

We have been gearing up for the new season with a lot of new activities. We are fortunate to have wonderful friends who support our exciting events throughout the season at Randall’s Island. I would like to introduce some of them now, but more to come… Stay tuned-

togei01   Lisa Nishimori is the owner of New York Togei Kyoshitsu ( ) She is donating recycled clay for our Seed Bomb project. Togei Kyoshitsu was established in 1994. They offer classes using traditional artistries that are still used in studios across Japan. Her generous support will help us make our wildflower meadow rush and a sustainable approach of wildflower meadow maintenance.

shino   Shino Takeda is a ceramic artist ( demonstrating how to make SAKURA NO HANA NO SHIOZUKE (cherry Blossom Salt: 桜の花の塩漬) during the Cherry Blossom festival at Randall’s Island. She will also share how to utilize cherry blossom salt. We are very excited to have her at our first Cherry Blossom Festival at Randall’s Island. She was a formal General Manager at Blue Ribbon restaurant group. Romy Northover is a English ceramic artist will also join our event. They started a ceramic project KATAKANA 2012 which offers body adornments, homewear design, supper clubs and workshops.

IMG_20120618_115736   MiHyun Han is General Manager at Don’s Bogam (, which is the finest Korean restaurant in New York.  She has been supporting our urban farm and we are happy to have her back this year. She will demonstrate Summer Roll making during one of our rice programs. She will use fresh vegetables from our urban farm and show us how the rice is used in other cultures.

IMG_2055  Yoshihiko Kousaka is Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC  ( ), we are honored to have him back this season for our rice program. He will demonstrate how to make Onigiri (Riceball) and Oshinko (fresh pickled salad). He has exposed us to other food cultures and inspires us with his passion.

teaPlant   Tea Tree Farm (제주 넓은 농장) is located in Jeju Island in southern part of Korea. The farm is the one of few the organic green tea farms in Korean. It is very hard to harvest the tea tree seeds but we are lucky to have them. Thank you for sharing with us! We planted them early last spring with lots of excitement and they are 2”tall now! Due to the different climate, they have been growing very slowly. However, We are very proud of the challenge to grow the FIRST tea plants in NYC.


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Imagining Apple Orchards

By Nick Storrs

Its still a little early but I have been catching myself walking out through the Apple Orchard ‘just to check on things.’ IMG_5169The buds may not be swelling yet, and when the wind blows hard the blossoms still feel an age away. But most of the young trees look like they are just getting large enough to need their branches trained.  So this spring we will start selecting the ‘scaffolding’ branches which will make up the main structure of our adult trees.  We will start to train them to spread at strong healthy angles, and to be spaced so that light will be able to enter the tree and encourage blossoming all the way to the IMG_5171trunk. A little bit of work now will create stronger healthier trees for years to come. It can be easy on cool windy afternoons, to get lost in dreams of what the orchard and farm will look like in years to come but that is half the fun!

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The Start of a Whole New Season

Nick PhotoBy Nick Storrs


Here at the Urban Farm we are just beginning to get ready for the upcoming season. We have been going through field trip requests and starting to fill out our schedule for the spring and summer.  IMG_5164 But maybe most excitedly some of the earliest seeds are just starting to germinate. Under the soft glow of a grow light beets and lettuce have already started to germinate.  We have three varieties of beets and two of lettuce that have just broken free of their seed cases and are reaching for the life. We’ll keep them protected until the ground is warm enough for them to go outside. But if the weather stays sunny the cold frames will be nice and toasty! It is incredibly heartening to IMG_5168see another season on new life break through the soil surface. Here’s to a good season in 2013.


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Urban Farmer Internship 2013

Urban Farmer Internship/Randall’s Island Park


Thank you everyone for your Interest: The Position has been filled for 2013


About Us:
The Randall’s Park Alliance (RIPA) is a nonprofit organization that, in conjunction with City leadership, works to realize the island’s unique potential by developing sports and recreational facilities, restoring its vast natural environment, reclaiming and maintaining parkland, and sponsoring programs for the children of New York City. For more information about RIPA, its mission, and its programs, please visit

The Learning Garden/Randall’s Island Urban Farm is a 28,000 square foot organic vegetable garden composed of 55 raised beds. The garden includes 11 fruiting shrubs and a rice paddy. We grow a diverse variety of crops including but not limited to corn, asparagus, tomatillos, herbs, and Asian eggplants. In 2012 over 1,800 public school students visited the garden. The Learning Garden is a farm-to table program that focuses on edible education.  In 2013 the Urban Farm will expand by 8,000 square feet.

Job Description:
Season: April 1 –October 31, 2013
Hours of work: 7:00 am – 3:30 pm (some weekends and overtime may be required)
Salary: According to experience and qualifications
Reports to: Urban Farmer

Responsibilities include:

  • Soil cultivation, digging, mulching, watering, raking, weeding, edging, pruning, seed sowing, bed preparation, planting, and composting
  • Works with the Urban Farm to liaison with GrowNYC, the co-sponsoring organization of The Learning Garden, to help coordinate and implement all activities in The Learning Garden. Tasks include preparation of the garden for student visits, lesson planning, creation of educational materials, and scheduling volunteer and student visits.
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with all educational activities in the Learning Garden
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with record keeping of harvest yields, disease and pest control efforts
  • Writes a blog once a week about The Learning Garden/Urban Farm.
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with planting, preparation and maintenance of the urban farm
  • Ensures all equipment is secure and well maintained
  • Performs duties in a manner consistent with a public garden serving multi-generational families and in accordance with directed practices and procedures
  • If the Urban Farmer is not available on a day a class is scheduled to come to The Learning Garden, the intern should be able to take over the educational portion of the day.
  • Set-up and cleanup of materials and site on a daily basis
  • Assists with other horticultural activities of the Horticultural Department, which could be helping with volunteer projects, weeding, planting and watering.


  • Strong gardening skills, including familiarity with organic seeds and seed propagation
  • Demonstrated knowledge of vegetable growing, pests and diseases
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Willing to work in all types of weather, under strenuous conditions
  • Team player, creative and organized
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work both alone and in groups
  • Enthusiastic, work to high standards and ability to take direction
  • Strong work ethic
  • Excellent attendance
  • Some weekends required
  • Drug Testing and background checked required prior to employment

Preferred Skills/Qualifications:

  • Experience with educational children’s programming
  • Drivers license preferred
  • Knowledge of composting a plus
  • Knowledge of propagation a plus
  • Basic carpentry skills a plus
  • Course work in introductory biology/ecology or related field
  • Experience teaching or working with children  (elementary through high school)
  • Strong Communication skills
  • Strong computer skills, MSWord, Excel

Please email resume and cover letter to:

No phone calls please.

Randall’s Island Park Alliance. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, US Veteran status, or any other factor protected by law. Applicants must successfully complete a drug screen and background check prior to hire.

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We’ve Made It To The Big Time

phyllis photo for blogBy Phyllis Odessey

The Learning Garden is featured in Olivier Le Bras, new documentary film, The Big Green Apple.  Hear Nick Storrs talk about why growing food and educating kids is important.  Here is the link, you can find us around minute 17:

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What Came First The Chicken or The Egg

phyllis photo for blog

By Phyllis Odessey
The Parks Department has a wreath exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery (Parks Department headquarters) every Christmas season.  Anyone connected with the Parks Department can submit a design for a wreath and if accepted, the wreath becomes part of the annual show.
chicken wreath rightside up

At Randall’s Island, we love to put our heads together and see what we can come up with. 2012 was the year of the chicken at The Learning Garden and in honor of our “livestock”, we created a wreath full of photographs of the children who visited the chickens.

We gave the chickens to an organic farm in Long Island, where they are now laying eggs and seem to be extremely happy.  We have just ordered a new batch of one-day old chicks which will arrive for our first class of kids in the Spring of 2013.

If you have a class that is interested in visiting The Learning Garden

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Reasons to love Randall’s Island

magazine coverIMG_3487

The Rice Paddy is Number 27 on New York Magazine’s Reasons to Love New York.
For us, The Learning Garden and the Rice Paddies are always Number One on our list of reasons to love New York.
from the everyone at the Randall’s Island Park Alliance.
Stay tuned for our new rice paddy adventure in 2013.

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