Category Archives: Community Outreach

All posts concerning Boswyck Farms being awesome should go here.

Daniel’s Visit to Sunsetview Aquaponics

Produce packaged up and ready to go.

Produce packaged up and ready to go.

Last week I (Daniel) took a trip out to Gap, PA to visit the nice folks at Sunsetview Aquaponics and tour their innovative greenhouse. Sunsetview is run by a second generation Amish plumber with the help of his family and a pair of beautiful bovines. Despite its name, it produces all of its produce using Aeroponic systems. With a capacity for 4000 plants from floor to ceiling, strolling through the lettuce orchard is a magnificent and futuristic experience.

Sam, the owner and head grower has been working on designing their own aeroponic systems that were under development, so I couldn’t snap any photos, but what I can say is that they have some truly impressive and innovative systems that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Who doesn't love chickens?

Who doesn’t love chickens?

A large part of the philosophy at Sunsetview is to include the local community and schools with enriching opportunities to participate throughout the growing process. Once a week a group, of handicapped students from the local school district comes in to help with everything from seeding to harvesting. Engineering students from Messiah College helped to develop the water dispersion cap that delivers nutrient solution to the roots in their growing towers. The greenhouse also serves as a community hub for sustainable and green-focused workshops.

When lettuce monsters attack.

When lettuce monsters attack.

My good friend Dr. T.H. Culhane from Mercy College took the trip down with me to give a presentation for local community members on biodigester technology to create natural gas, compost, and liquid fertilizer all from organic waste.

Sam’s greenhouse is truly beautiful – vertical, focused on simplicity and easy maintenance. Sunsetview does tours throughout the year so if you’re interested in touring their greenhouse for yourself give ’em a call! (717) 768-3597

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath & Helping NYC

The day before Hurricane Sandy, Lee harvested over 35 pounds of produce from the Bushwick Starr rooftop. We shared it with our friends and neighbors.

We’re glad we got all of that good stuff, because after the storm, we came back to this.

And this, really, is nothing. Our farm and neighborhood were not hit hard by the storm, which devastated many New York neighborhoods as well as places up and down the East Coast and as far south as Cuba. Our thoughts are particularly with Added Value, an amazing farm in Red Hook. Red Hook is one of the neighborhoods that was worst hit.

If you are looking to help New Yorkers this week, please visit NYC Service, a terrific 311 site for volunteering. There are a lot of needs, even as power is coming back on and hot water is more readily available. It will take a long time to recover. We feel very blessed that we sustained so little damage.

You can see a full Hurricane Sandy aftermath photoset on our Photobucket. We also have a video showing the damage on YouTube.

Boswyck Farms: Serving the Bushwick Salvation Army

Meet Ms. Heidi, our contact at the Bushwick Salvation Army. With the bounty of produce coming from the roof of the Bushwick Starr, we’d been searching for an ideal partner for food donation. Given our supporting food pantries and soup kitchens at other places, we were hoping to connect with a soup kitchen in our area. The Salvation Army has been a perfect match, and Ms. Heidi is their kitchen manager. A great person to know!

So far we’ve made three sizable donations to the soup kitchen, including several kinds of lettuce, basil, arugula, giant Japanese mustard greens, and kale. We were hoping for a fourth donation before the end of August but the end of summer hailstorm had other ideas. We’re so happy to be feeding some of our neighbors in need, and to show that yes, there can be a farm in Bushwick!

Bushwick Campus Farm/Greenhouse

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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.

Drummin'
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Drumming the Hoop House
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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!


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.