From the Farmer- Week of February 20th

Published on February 20, 2017 under From the Farmer
February 20th, 2017

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the 2017 Youth Farm CSA! This will be our 7th season of offering a weekly bag of seasonal veggies and farm fresh blooms to our Brooklyn members, and we couldn’t be more excited about what we have planned for this season! Each year, we do our best to improve the variety, quality, and ease of membership of our CSA for our members, and you can be sure that this season will be no exception. We are excited to introduce some new varieties of local flowers and nutrient-rich veggies as well as returning some tried and true favorites. Like previous seasons, those interested in a vegetable share will have the option of picking up from our friends at Shambhala Yoga and Dance Studio in Prospect Heights on Mondays, or at the farm during our Farmers Market on Wednesdays. And after a successful pilot at 61 Local last season, we are happy to offer 3 pick up options for those interested in a flower share this year, Mondays at Shambhala, Wednesdays at the farm, or Fridays at 61 Local.

When you become a member of the CSA, you provide our farm with funds that are crucial for running educational programs, purchasing supplies, and providing food for our Crown Heights community. In return, you will receive a weekly share of organic flowers and/or vegetables and herbs, harvested fresh that day from Brooklyn! Wondering what a full season veggie or flower shares might look like? Check out our Instagram page for pictures of weekly shares from the 2015 and 2016 season, using the hashtag #yfweeklyshare.

To officially kick off the 2017 season, we are joining with CSA farmers from across the country to celebrate CSA Day on February 24th. This is an important time of year for us to get new members signed up because we are in the process of making the investments that will result in a successful harvest many months from now. So, if you are thinking of joining us this season as a CSA member, please consider signing up on February 24th and helping us start our season with a bang!

In other farmy news, we’ve been preparing and planning for another season of learning and growing with our wider NYC community! Our 2017 Internships will begin in March – if you know of someone looking for experience in urban agriculture or youth leadership, please direct them to our opportunities! We are currently looking a Youth Programs Intern and for 2017 Urban Agriculture Interns. Here are two 2016 interns, Dhira and Josephine:

Our new adult farming students are set to arrive on the farm April 17th, and Molly and Erin are busy planning for their arrival preparing materials, workshops, and supplies. We are also planning spring volunteer days with New York Cares, a renewed partnership with Sacred Vibes Apothecary, and an exciting new Teacher Development Day set for Thursday June 8th, 9:30a-3:30p, where early childhood, middle, and high school teachers will get to come on to the farm to learn about how to bring gardening into their classrooms to cover common core lessons! More details to come next month! You can also email Molly for more information.

This week, in a nod to the quickly approaching spring, Farmer Molly delivered 36 bags of seed starting mix to the farm and delighted/reeled in seeing daffodils sprouting up! Our beds, not frozen, appeared somewhat ready for cover crop incorporation, their soft green carpets of clover and rye threatening to grow too quickly if this warm weather pattern continues! We are definitely looking forward to waking up the farm in about a month with some spring cleaning and seed starting, but we are also enjoying this time for planning and pre-season organization!

In community,
Molly, Erin, and Sawdayah

Meet the Farmer
Janelle Carter-Small

Many of our readers may know Janelle, founder/owner of the Brooklyn Greenhouse, and Field Trip Coordinator at The Youth Farm. She is planning and preparing for the upcoming field trip season, so what better time for you to meet Janelle, if you haven’t already! We so admire and appreciate Janelle for her passion for her culture and East Flatbush community, her talents for igniting children’s interest in science and the natural world, her service to community on community boards… did we mention she is a mother of 2, and married to Mark, who is equally passionate about STEM education and community?! They are quite a pair and if you are interested in early child STEAM based education, please get in touch with us – we will be looking for field trip facilitators this spring! Janelle is also a fantastic writer, and recently published an article, “Caribbean Cuisines Merge and Evolve in Crown Heights,” on MoFad City (the teaming up of Eater + the Museum of Food and Drink) — check it out HERE!

Hi! My name is: Janelle Carter-Small
Role on Youth Farm: Early Childhood STEAM Coordinator and Field Trip Coordinator

Business Name / Year founded, Mission:  The Brooklyn Greenhouse, Inc. 2015,
Our mission is to increase the diversity of children who are interested in Agriculture STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) careers through innovative access to quality  STEM based enrichment to families of children ages 2-14.

Where do you live: East Flatbush, Brooklyn

When did you begin farming?:
2015 as an apprentice on The Youth Farm, though farming is a part of my family legacy in the Caribbean.

Why is farming important to you?:
As a 1st generation Caribbean American It was important for me to learn how to grow my own food for my family in order to maintain that connection to the food my grandmother and her grandmother used to care for their families and how I care for mine. Slavery may have taken our native tongue but I can communicate with the entire African diaspora through our food and medicineits a beautiful language.

What drives your passion for STEAM education?
When I began to teach science to my 4th graders in 2008, I was alarmed at how disconnected my students were to the science they were learning.  When my oldest son showed a deep interest in science, I could not find any STEM activities for him in our neighborhood. Everything seemed to be connected to science living in an urban area, from the water testing being done in the school, to the engineering needed to create new rooftop farms and the science used to test the soil, yet our students and my children weren’t learning about the STEM behind farming and all of the careers in agriculture. If a 2 year old can recite every song, learn to use the iPad, and name every character of their favorite book or cartoon, then they can also learn the parts of a seed and plant and the water cycle. The AgriSTEM Kids curriculum of The Brooklyn Greenhouse let’s us get the babies interested in farming and agriculture STEM careers.

What’s your favorite food to eat in Brooklyn, and where do you eat it?:
I’m slowly becoming a Pescatarian and while I don’t have a favorite food, I can not live without food from different countries around the world: Barbados, Trinidad, Thailand, India, Japan, Mexico, Belize.  I’ve noticed that I don’t have a favorite food as much as I have favorite spices and seasoning. I’m drawn to any food that uses ginger, thyme, peppers and/or curry. If they can add mango or avocado (pears) then it’s a welcome bonus. My favorite place to get some of these spices and fruits is Labay Market, they import fresh fruit and fish straight from the Caribbean every week. I’m hoping we can have some of their fruit in The Youth Farm’s Market or CSA one day soon.

What advice would you give to up and coming farmers and farmer-entrepreneurs?
For urban farmers, my advice is to grow with the community in which you grow not for them. Get to know the culture, the food, the dishes that are a part of the fabric of the community if you are not from there. Replenish the soil. Even if you are a hydroponic farm, find land in the community in which to replenish. How can we have growing hands and not be a part of the cycle of growth? Be a part of seed saving. No company should own seeds. Farm entrepreneurs, create a business plan, seek out mentors, and follow your passion.

How can we build food justice in our communities?:
Food Justice advocates must speak up when education, black lives, women’s rights, immigration rights are threatened or their foundation is moot. In communities like the one where I live, where people of color live daily knowing that their bodies and homes are vulnerable it is hard for me to speak of these same “communities exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food,” when the bodies and land the food will nourish are under attack. Yet this is exactly what we do and were the first to do so in New York City in lots that were abandoned. Food justice can be built through education of our children because it is their birthright. They will teach their peers, families and communities that their education is connected to their food which is connected to their health. We as adults just need to show up and support them.

Historical Fact of the Month

Many folks are aware of Araminta Harriet Ross Tubman’s escapes to and from the South with enslaved Africans to freedom. Her service in the Union Army as a nurse and spy are also pretty common knowledge. Most, however, are unaware of her intimate relationship and knowledge with plants, the seasons and movement of celestial bodies, and the Earth. Harriet Tubman’s father was a lumberjack and was well acquainted with the plants, woods, waterways, and natural landscapes of Maryland, sharing many of this with his daughter. Harriet’s knowledge of plants would aid her and other Africans fleeing slavery in surviving the elements in the dangerous journey North. She knew which plants to forage for food, hydration, and medicine to sustain her crew until they reached their destination. She also used her knowledge of plants for culinary purposes (skills taught to her by her mother who was a cook for the plantation owner she was enslaved by) and ran kitchens to pay for supplies to help others escape enslavement and help them establish lives in the North. Learn more about Harriet Tubman’s relationship with the Earth at NPR.

Farmer Sawdayah’s Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce over Meatballs
If you attended our winter Farmraiser at 61 Local back in December, you may have tasted these deee-licious meatballs. The sauce is a tad sweet, a tad spicy, and the combo is a super yummy crowd pleaser, great with a side of kale! This recipe made a lot of sauce for a lot of meatballs. A family of 5 could 1/2 this recipe!

-4 cans (15 oz) of tomato sauce
-2 or 3 cans of stewed tomatoes (15 oz; seasoned with Italian herbs)
-1 cup of apple cider vinegar
-8 oz of your favorite hot sauce (Ideally a mix of YF Red + Green Hot Sauce:)
-2 tbsp ground mustard
-1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
-1/2 cup raw honey
– Crushed Red Pepper
– Cracked Black Pepper
– A dash of garlic powder, chili powder, and thyme
– 2 tbsp smoked paprika
– Sea Salt
– Chopped Onions
-Water to thin
Simmer all ingredients in a large pot until you reach desired texture and flavor is smoky, tangy, and sweet with a spicy finish.
Savory Meatballs:
Fleishers Ground beef (or grass fed; you will taste the difference!)
– Sage
-Sea Salt
-Black pepper
-Smoked Paprika
-Seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
-2-3 eggs


Feed your family, support your farmer!

We’re celebrating #CSADay on February 24th! CSA farmers across the country (including us!) need your support now for a successful harvest this year. It’s the most popular day of the year to sign up for a CSA! Right now is when we are making investments in seeds, equipment, and the labor it takes to grow for our CSA. Join our CSA and help us grow! Sign up for our 2017 CSA or get more info by visiting our website or emailing


Registration, Scholarships and Volunteering Opps available now for this
amazing citywide conference!
See Agenda and Buy Tickets HERE!


March 25, 2017
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

The “GTGT” is the official kick-off of the community gardening season in New York City! The day will be packed with 30+ workshops on garden related topics including: food systems education, kids’ activities, vegetable growing techniques, and designing your community garden for the present and future. Farmer Sawdayah will be there with several HSPS Leadership Council students offering a workshop on Worm Bin management!!! The conference will also include a panel discussion on ways to sustain your garden legacy. This year’s keynote speaker is Tony Hillary and is the Founder and Executive Director of Harlem Grown. Tony founded Harlem Grown to address the health and academic challenges facing public elementary school students in Harlem. This year’s youth speaker is Kadiatou Ba and has been a youth participant at Harlem Grown since its inception 5 years ago. Read more about GTGT keynote speakersHERE. FOR MORE INFO on registration head HERE.


2017 Internships are now open!

Youth Programs Intern

Youth program internships are currently open! Sawdayah is looking for enthusiastic agricultural and/or food systems students to assist in managing youth programs. For more details on the internship please check it out our website and email Sawdayah at

Urban Agriculture Interns

Join us for a full or partial season as an Urban Ag Intern at the Youth Farm. Learn what it takes to run an urban farm and experience the transformation of the farm throughout the growing season, from early spring plantings, to summer harvests, to fall cover crop and garlic sowing. Internships are especially suited for those interested in small-scale production farming, restaurant and CSA sales, and local flower wholesale. Check out our website for more info and to fill out an application!