Yearly Archives: 2011

Bushwick Campus Farm/Greenhouse


On November 18th, the Bushwick Campus Farm officially opened with a ribbon cutting celebration. The project, pictured in an earlier post, is a joint effort between the Academy of Urban Planning, Ecostation:NY and Boswyck Farms.

Faculty, staff and students from the Bushwick High School Campus who have been working on the project were out in full force, celebrating the beginning of the farm and also the culmination of service week at the school. Event highlights included delicious food made by Sean-Michael Fleming of Ecostation:NY and a performance by the African drumming group inside the hoop house. Some students even got to sign their names on the hoop house wall.

Drumming the Hoop House

Now, Boswyck Farms and Ecostation: NY are fundraising via Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to support the project through the next year- filling the greenhouse up with everything it needs (including hydroponic systems!) The goal is $15,000 by December 30th.

For more information and the opportunity to donate to this project, click here!

Final Harvest of the Season

While the rooftop farm withstood the short taste of winter that blew in for Halloween, the end of November (and with it, diminished hours of daylight) brought the growing season to a close. The past two weekends have been spent cleaning systems and mats and reservoirs, getting all the equipment set for a few months of storage.




That said, the last harvest was a marvel in itself. Check out the colossal collard plants below, winners of the Last Plants Standing Contest 2011.



And of course, a huge thanks to our friends Keith, Quin and Barry who made it all happen!

Alex Middleton, Innovation Hero 2011

Boswyck Farms is proud to announce that one of our very own hydroponicists, Alex Middleton, was presented the 2011 Innovation Hero Award for Region X by the American Association On Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The Innovation Hero award recognizes an individual or organization promoting innovative ideas and solutions that transform disability services. Alex was selected for this award in light of the work he is doing teaching hydroponics at United Cerebral Palsy here in New York City.

From all of us at Boswyck,  congratulations Alex!

Why, hello Winter.

Just as we were settling into the cozy,  crispness of fall, the city gets blanketed in snow. For our plants at the Bushwick Starr, this wasn’t terrible news- kale sure loves it some cold weather. The rest of us in the city, however, were not as pleased.  We hope those brave souls who did venture out on that historic Saturday popped in to the Calabaza Fest, presented by our friends at EcoStation:NY. Even though the snow forced the event indoors to PS 123, spirits were high, costumes were creative, and the pumpkins were plentiful.

While the weather seems to have returned to normal (for November), the Boswyck Farmers are gearing up for winter’s official arrival. This winter we will unveil: The Hoop House.

Hoop houses are great for outdoor hydroponic growing. Chances are good that even if you don’t recognize the term, you have seen one before. Take the long hollow pipe of a chain link fence, bend it into a half circle, repeat a couple of times, cover them with plastic and voila! A hydroponic long house (and a throwback to 5th grade social studies.)

If Halloween weekend was any indicator of what winter will be bringing this year, we will be needing to keep the hoop house plant roots toasty warm. Our plan? The ultimate in repurposed materials: COMPOST! Thanks to the composting expertise of Maggie from Ecostation:NY, Boswyck Farm’s hoop house will be rocking out a custom compost heating system all winter long.

This past weekend, Boswyck Farms had a hoop house raising at the Academy of Urban Planning, at the Bushwick Campus. As we start to winterize the systems at the Bushwick Starr, we will start building and populating systems in the hoop house. More photos to come!

New season, new news.

Happy fall fellow farmers!

Summer is winding down and school is starting up. After collaborating with the folks over at the Academy for Urban Planning in the summer months, construction is nearly finished on hydroponic systems that complement an already impressive soil garden at the school.

With both farming approaches  running side by side, students will get to sharpen their math and science skills as they collect and compare data on their produce. Viva hands on learning experiences!

The systems at CDSC are humming along quite nicely these days as well. In fact, the successful partnership between CDSC and Boswyck Farms has earned us a spot in this year’s Seed Grant guidelines as a featured Urban Farming Specialist/Consultant . We are quite grateful that they included us in their documentation and look forward to bringing more greens to the communities that need them!

Any social service providers who are interested in building hydroponic systems to supplement their pantry food supply should check out the grant guidelines here at

And with a new season comes a new face-lift for the loft farm. Over the past few weeks, the Boswyck Farmers have been working on a complete redesign of the systems at Dekalb Ave. While the rooftop farm at the Bushwick Starr has been our summertime pride and joy, we are eagerly looking forward to having the loft looking just as lush and lovely this winter as the Starr has been these past few months. We are reusing our building supplies as always, looking to re-purpose whatever materials we can.

PS. Keep an eye out on Chrissy from Chrissy’s Cooking Club, she is working magic with our produce at the farmers market in Bushwick! 

NY Bounty Visit

Earlier last week, Boswyck Farms welcomed Margarida Correia from New York Bounty to the rooftop of the Bushwick Starr. Check out her interview with Lee, held at our “Willy Wonka-esque” farm full of heirloom produce varieties long unseen in supermarkets. Don’t forget to keep reading once you get over there– New York Bounty has plenty of fact-packed articles and updates about the rise of urban agriculture in NYC.

Believe it or not, roof top hydroponic farms can handle hurricanes just fine!
Once the winds and rain of Irene abated, we found the rooftop of the Bushwick Starr unscathed, save for some missing seedlings. Many thanks to Peter and Jacob from NYFloristics for their help getting our systems extra ready to withstand the storm conditions.

Chrissy’s Cooking Club

Chrissy, of Chrissy’s Cooking Club, recently stopped by the Bushwick Starr, the location of our rooftop research and development. Chrissy’s Cooking Club (find them on facebook here) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes and facilitates all natural, from scratch cooking. You can find her at the Bushwick Farmer’s Market every Saturday cooking up some delicious foods, like french toast, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, and made to order grilled cheese sandwiches (pictured on right). The Corbaci Pepper, which was our first pepper of the season, was featured on many of the sandwiches and added a rich, sweet flavor.  The Corbaci Pepper (pictured on left) is an heirloom variety that originated in Turkey and is a voracious producer, giving us unique yellow to red fruit. As more foods come in, we look forward to working with Chrissy and her crew to get our awesome local produce into her delicious meals!

In Brooklyn, It’s Mad Easy Being Green

Stephanie Berzon from the Brooklyn Food Coalition stopped by in May to check out the farm and interview Lee for the blog, “It’s Mad Easy Being Green”.  She wrote a great piece about our farm, that you can check out here. This is a wonderful blog that follows the green movement in Brooklyn and the greater NYC region.  She covers a lot of the urban farms that are popping up in the region and various local foods related news that’s happening.  We love getting visitors to the farm and are fortunate that there are so many bloggers, journalists, filmmakers, and the likes, that are interested in what we are doing! Thank you Stephanie for stopping by!  We highly suggest that after reading our article, you check out the rest of her blog because there is a lot happening with the greening of our neighborhoods and she does a fantastic job of covering it!

The Point

For the last several months, Boswyck Farms has been working at The Point in the South Bronx to teach an after school program with hydroponics.  As the school year has ended, we have wrapped up our time with them, but are looking forward to partnering with this amazing organization in the future. The kids, mostly 4th and 5th graders have learned various grow systems and have built their own soda bottle systems which are currently growing fresh herbs. They learn basic botany, team work and get a chance to get their hands dirty in the coconut husk mixture we use in some of our systems. The kids also built two different types of drip systems using 5 gallon buckets and a raft system based in a Rubbermaid tote. They’ve even participated in aquaponics (although not with us).

The Point Community Development Corporation is a non-profit dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. Each of The Point’s programs is based on the principles of asset-based community development.  Their programs and projects embrace the belief that the residents of the South Bronx, especially the young people, have the inherent vision and ability to transform their neighborhoods.  For The Point, at-risk children and teens are not bundles of problems – they are wellsprings of solutions.

Lee with the kids at the Point