Etain’s 1,500 page MMJ application being officially filed!
We mentioned in our last post that our LED research for MMJ growing was leading to an exciting announcement. Now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. As many of you may already know, New York State is approved for medical marijuana growing as of July 1st, 2015 (yesterday!). We’re thrilled to say that we’ve partnered with Etain, and are in the running for one of the state’s few MMJ growing licenses.
Etain is a family-run company based in upstate New York. Amy, Hilary, and Keeley Peckham, who founded Etain, hope to use the company revitalize the economically struggling area in Warren County. The Peckhams worked incredibly hard to put together the 1,500 page application with our support. If the project goes forward, we will be serving as the hydroponics consultants for their company, designing systems, and teaching Etain the best practices for growing. We hope to develop custom trainings on this subject — just as soon as we’re granted the approval to do so!
The state will be announcing the recipients of the licenses next week. To say that this represents a major development for us, both as a company and as a state, doesn’t even begin to express our excitement. We’re hoping to get back to you with excellent news very soon.
Our friends at Project ORE (a program for Jewish Elders that’s a part of the Educational Alliance) have become avid hydroponic farmers after 8 weeks of classes with us this summer. They’re growing lettuce, basil, arugula, thyme, and other salad greens and aromatic herbs to use in their cafeteria, or to enjoy at home.
Project ORE is using a raft system with four reservoirs: two for smaller plants, and two for larger plants. Although there is some natural light in the room, we installed some additional lighting to make sure that the plants are healthy and strong. The systems are surrounded by drawings made by Project ORE clients, as well as some hydroponic fun facts that we all put together.
Congratulations to our newest “crop” of farmers. L’Shana Tova/Happy New Year to all!
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.
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.
Last Saturday, Feb. 25th, Boswyck Farms and partner Ecostation cut the ribbon on a new greenhouse at Bushwick Campus High School.
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“.
Boswyck Farms is proud to be a part of an ongoing project with United Cerebral Palsy. Check out our recent cameo on NY1, where you can see our Operational Hydroponicist Alex Middleton giving a lecture on the basics of hydroponics, and part of our hydroponic set up at the facility.
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 www.feednyc.org.
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!
We’re excited to announce our new grow room at the Child Development Support Corporation in Bed-Stuy. CDSC has asked us to design and install a 250 square foot grow room designed to supply their food pantry with fresh produce year-round. We’re excited for our first Bed-Stuy partnership, and look forward to expanding to other neighborhoods that are perceived “food deserts” throughout New York City.
Lee and our team of dedicated volunteers and interns have been hard at work. As usual, we’re trying to use the construction process as a way to teach people the basics of hydroponic installation — if you spend time with us, you’ll quickly find yourself with a hammer in your hand, as you’ll see in the following video. This is a stop-motion animation of one construction day. It was a great opportunity for us to test out our brand new video camera, as well as to show you our project in process.
We planted the first bed with lettuce seeds in November and 5 weeks later the first harvest took place. It is very exciting to see the members harvesting the lettuce. It was then used for salads in the cafeteria.
The rest of the beds planted will be planted and in full production by the end of the year. We hope to be harvesting around 40 heads of lettuce each week by the middle of February. The members at Fountain House will be planting, monitoring and harvesting. We are also teaching carpentry skills along the way. It has been a lot of fun working on the project and the help from members, especially Vincent and Gary, has helped make it all possible. We all have been nibbling along the way and I hope to eat some of the salad this week. I have learned as much as I have taught. Three of our interns (Chris, Victor and Logan) have pitched in with the construction work. We will keep you up to date and give more details of how the systems work in future posts.
It’s been quite a blast building the grow room at Fountain House, a NYC non-profit dedicated to helping adults with mental illnesses. We’re hoping that this room will supply most–if not all–the greens they need for their cafeteria. The size of the room we have to work in is 165 square feet. To date Lee, our volunteer carpenter Chris and some of the folks at Fountain House have built 4 flood & drain grow beds for greens. They’ve been seeded and we’re looking forward to the first sprouting!
All in all 16 tiered flood & drain systems will be built with a total of 128 square feet of growing space.