Yearly Archives: 2012

New York City Council Investigates Urban Sustainability

Last week, Boswyck Farms’ Alex Tyink and Alex Middleton had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting with members of the New York City Council and Columbia University’s Workshop in Sustainable Development. Boswyck Farms worked in conjunction with Columbia University to present information on urban farming and what the council can do to incentivize New York City building owners and farmers to be a part of the urban farming movement.

Alex Tyink spoke at the meeting about the educational, therapeutic, and job training possibilities available through urban agriculture. He outlined that one urban farm is capable of providing multi-disiplinary education programs that provide hands on health awareness and science based inquiry. He expressed the need for the city to provide clear policy about the regulations and financial incentives provided by the city and government as a whole, so urban farming is more accessible and affordable to schools and other non-profits with limited resources and discretionary funding.

Boswyck Farms believes that urban farming can be expanded throughout the city as a restorative, community-buidling tool capable of closing the achievement gap, while being environmentally responsible and providing the freshest, healthiest food to those who need it most. We are hoping to integrate as many of these forward thinking ideas as possible with FoodWorks, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s 86 page plan for a sustainable food system. This ground to garbage approach is providing a blueprint for every phase of the food system, including agriculture.

Poland banning GMO corn.

Here at Boswyck, we support the use of heirloom seeds wherever possible. Our own seeds come from Johnny’s, the Hudson Valley Seed Library, and Rare Seeds. You know where they never come from? Monsanto.

Luckily, Poland’s seeds aren’t coming from Monsanto either. Or at least their corn won’t. Poland joined the list of EU countries opposing GMOs this week, calling for a complete ban of corn strain MON810. More information here. The United States has also made some progress in this direction. Contact Just Food or your local advocacy group to find out how you can get involved in the fight against genetically modified foods.

Los Sures: building community through hydroponics.

We’ve been hard at working building a system with Los Sures, a social service organization in South Williamsburg. Robin, our main contact there, was kind enough to send along these photos that she took of the progress so far.

It’s been amazing to work with this team. Their dedication to grassroots community support is amazing. Plus, we’ve gotten to practice our Spanish — an important skill when you’re working in New York City.

The first seedlings were planted and they’re already sprouting! We’re looking forward to supplying the Los Sures Community Choice Pantry with ultra fresh, maximally local produce.

Hydroponics as a solution to food stream issues in the Philippines.

Here at Boswyck Farms we’re always excited to hear about global trends (or advances!) in hydroponics. As more communities around the world (especially in urban areas) turn to farming as a viable way of improving their food supply, hydroponics can be an awesome option for those who lack access to clean soil.

So today we’re especially happy to share this video from Scientific American about hydroponic installations in the Philippines! This project is community based, improving access to fresh, healthy food, and a good low-cost solutions: all the things we like to see. Enjoy!

Hydroponics Bring Low-Cost Solution to High Food Prices

Ribbon Cutting at United Cerebral Palsy

Ribbon Cutting for New Hydroponic Systems

Ribbon Cutting for New Hydroponic Systems

Last week we enjoyed cupcakes and music with the consumers at United Cerebral Palsy Day Habilitation 5, where we recently installed a brand-new hydroponic grow room. The systems installed are fully accessible to consumers at almost any level of physical disability, which we find really exciting. They grow 57 heads of lettuce and incubate 57 seedlings at a time.

The ribbon was cut by Lee and a consumer from UCP, after a speech by Program Director Melissa Shields. We were also proud to hear a speech from our own Alex Middleton, who has been working with UCP consumers on an ongoing basis.

All attendees at the event were invited to enter a raffle. The prizes? Free lettuce from our systems, and soda bottle planters to take home. For more photos of this fun event, check out our slideshow here.

BFC blogs about Bushwick Campus Greenhouse!

Brenna from the Brooklyn Food Conference wrote a little post about our goings-on at the Bushwick Campus Greenhouse. We’d love to share it with you. Thanks, Brenna! Read all about it here.

If you’d like to support the Bushwick Campus Greenhouse project, this week we’re having another Eat to Give event. Local restaurants (including Bushwick favorites Northeast Kingdom, Café Ghia, Tandem, Momo Sushi Shack and Guacuco) will be donating a percentage of their profits to the Greenhouse project on March 29. For a complete list of participating restaurants, “like” Boswyck Farms and the Bushwick Campus Farm on Facebook.

Hydroponics on an island paradise

The island nation of Barbados was host to Agrofest 2012 last month.  The theme of their event, hydroponics powered by renewable energy.  Given that Barbados is one of the most densely populated islands in the world with no shortage of sun, it seems an obvious route.  While on your next tropical getaway putdown your umbrella drink and check out one of the many hydroponic farms the island nation has to offer.

Find out more at:


Kickstarter Celebration at the Bushwick Campus High School


Last Saturday, Feb. 25th, Boswyck Farms and partner Ecostation cut the ribbon on a new greenhouse at Bushwick Campus High School.2012-02-25_16-40-53

The greenhouse will serve as a classroom and season extension for their already impressive farming program. It currently features three hydroponics systems designed by Boswyck Farms – including an NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system for leafy greens, an NFT system for peppers, and an aquaponics system which will be holding lots of tilapia in the near future!


We’d like to especially thank Chrissy’s Cooking Club, who worked with students to supply food for the party, and all who donated to the Greenhouse Kickstarter campaign. We couldn’t have made it happen without your support!

The event was well-attended — lots of people from the Bushwick neighborhood as well as visitors from further afield.


Chloe, Boswyck Farms’ Communications & Outreach Specialist explains, “It was great to give greenhouse tours and explain the full range of programming that’s going to happen in the space. We also had delicious snacks cooked by high school members of Chrissy’s Cooking Club, and were visited by two tv stations: Brooklyn Channel 12 and BCAT“.



Keep an eye out for us on those channels, and stay tuned for our upcoming events and workshops! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!

Workshop at the Horticultural Society

Boswyck Farms had a blast this past Wednesday, the 22nd, at the Horticultural Society of New York giving our “Intro to Hydroponics” lecture, followed up by our famous soda bottle workshop.


We had a great group of 15 students who had varying levels of experience with hydroponics. Some had never seen a system, and this workshop was their first real exposure to what hydroponics is all about. Others in the class had not only seen a setup before, but maintained their own hydroponics and aquaponics system in the past (something Boswyck Farms will also be venturing into in the near future).

Our lectures and workshops are geared towards anyone who is interested- regardless of experience level, and all the students had a great time learning from us and each other, asking questions and getting hands-on experience building their own mini-hydroponic system.

Our next workshop will be this Saturday, February 25th at Just Food, where we will be giving the soda-bottle workshop. All you need to do is sign up, bring the bottle, and have a great time learning a new skill! Sign up here!

Check out general info on our workshops here. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the latest news on when and where our next workshops will be held.

Boswyck Farms’ Sample NFT System

Lee explaining nutrients to students

Chloe instructing during the workshop

Lee Starting the Lecture

United Cerebral Palsy Construction

Done for the day!This past Monday, some of the Boswyck team headed over to United Cerebral Palsy to set up their new hydroponic system. We are thrilled to work on this project partially because it gave us the opportunity to show off our customization skills. Being that the individuals who would be learning from and working with the hydroponic system at UCP are those with disabilities, we had to consult with UCP and figure out the best way to customize the system to fit with their needs. For example, many people at UCP use wheelchairs, making it difficult for them to go directly up to the bed to plant, harvest, or maintain. We designed this setup to be higher than normal, making wheelchair access possible for easy access.

The construction of the actual bed was done at Boswyck Farms, which was then transported to UCP and put together on site. Lee, Alex M. and Alex T., and Sara helped set this whole system up, including the lights, reservoirs, and tubing in about 2 hours.

We also took a really cool time lapse video of the process from start to finish (you can even see the clock ticking on the wall).

Check it out here!

Reservoirs and Tubing

Putting the Legs on the BedDrilling the hanger on for the lights

Working away

LED lightingDrilling the hanger on for the lights