Ilona and Hans from Harlem Grown visited our greenhouse this past weekend. They too are passionate about bringing much needed green environments to communities and students inside our cities. We can’t wait to collaborate with NYC!
In many ways this is our favorite time of year at the farm. The weather is perfect for spending whole days outside, the plants are manageable and orderly, and possibilites abound. We are training our pea plants to climb the sides of our tent to provide shade in anticipation of summer. And Claytonia, a fresh tasting unique green is thriving in the coolish weather.
Urban agriculture can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. It was even popularized recently (relatively speaking) as victory gardens during the first half of the 20th century. The present day economy presents its own unique set of challenges, so when we were formulating just how the heck to grow vegetables in urban areas in 2008 and survive, the SPIN (small plot intensive farming) guide became an invaluable resource. They have recently updated it and it’s worth a close look for anyone looking to break into farming, or looking for new marketing or growing ideas. From SPIN:
SPIN-Farming, which is the sub-acre production system in use at Garden State Urban Farms, has released the latest print guide in its learning series for urban and suburban-based farmers. SPIN-Farming 2.0: Production Planning & Crop Profiles quantifies exactly how much money a farmer can generate for 40 crops grown on less than an acre. SPIN stands for “small plot intensive,” and it is a system that combines intensive production with a direct marketing business model.
With SPIN-Farming 2.0 crop profiles, for the first time ever, sub-acre farmers can benchmark their sales revenue from selling produce directly to consumers at farmers’ markets. The benchmarks were compiled by Wally Satzewich, creator of the SPIN-Farming system, based on his experience at his multi-sited backyard urban/peri-urban farm operation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
“Agriculture is one of the most extensively researched, analyzed and documented industries in the world,” says Satzewich. “But not much of the data and analysis are relevant or useful to the SPIN farmer whose success depends not on hundreds or thousands of acres, but on producing high yields from small land bases and selling locally.” According to Roxanne Christensen, co-author of the SPIN-Farming guides, “Crop prices at farmers’ markets have not been tracked because, until recently, it wasn’t a big business. But direct marketing of local foods has become a $1.2 billion industry in the U.S. and has grown exponentially over the past decade. SPIN-Farming is working to encourage and support the professionalization of an industry that has historically been fragmented, unorganized and unrecognized, and one that will have significant economic impact, especially in cities.”
Our good friend Steve Ritz last weekend gave a talk at the Manhattan Tedx conference last week. Check out his inspiring presentation! The best 15 minutes you will spend all week or your money back.
(The savvy viewer may notice a few photos of our Orange Greenhouse)
Founder and President Lorraine Gibbons surveys the latest crop of bok choy, chicories and mizunas. We’re approaching 20 months in our greenhouse and it still has the power to make you take a moment to admire the beauty that nature has to offer.
The city’s hot summer has given way to a beautifully cool autumn (outside of that odd October snow storm). We say goodbye to the tomato for another year, but don’t fear because the cool weather greens and root vegetables are just at their peak. And there’s not much better than pumpkin pie.
At our farm at Newark Beth Israel we’re growing collards, carrots, radishes, broccoli and spinach. Every Thursday throughout the fall and winter we will continue to have our farmers market inside the hospital. On Fridays we are selling our wares (weather permitting) right from the farm.
And we’re excited to announce the debut of our Thanksgiving farmers markets. On the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Thanksgiving we’ll be open for business. We’ll be outside on the 21st and 23rd, and indoors on the 22nd. All of our produce will be for sale, along with wonderful greens from our Orange Greenhouse and some delicious fruits and veggies from farmer friends of ours. Cant wait to see you!
Yesterday GSUF was the recipient of a Jersey City Green Award for urban innovation. We were honored alongside other great ventures such as Bike JC, Tanya Marione-Stone’s Adopt-a-Lot Program and Grove Street Bicycles.
Check them out and support local!
We’ve recently partnered with the Jersey City Food Co-op to provide historic downtown Jersey City with a beautiful farm stand. It is conveniently located right next to the Grove St. PATH station. We are open for business on Mondays and Thursdays from 4-8pm.
Beautiful hydroponic lettuce from our Orange Greenhouse is available, as well as seasonable vegetables from the Farm at Newark Beth Israel and Jersey City’s very own container farm. Last week’s haul included African and Thai basil, oregano, chocolate and orange mint and a few varieties of heirloom eggplant. Come check us out on your way home!
In 2009 we had the privilege of working with St. Benedict’s students and their journalism teacher Noreen Connolly. They planted and tended to a wonderful garden plot right on the grounds of their school. Since then, Noreen has won an amazing opportunity to travel this summer with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
They are currently traveling through North and West Africa, reporting on health, food security and even a run in with Al Qaeda. Follow her blog entries online here, and in particular check out her fascinating take on gardening in Burkina Faso.