The AgriCultural Education program seeks to lead students toward food and land sovereignty, introducing them to food growing and earth stewarding through after school programing and summer internships.
Students enter the AgriCultural Education program via the Urban Agriculture Basics course at Newburgh Free Academy. Upon completion of the course, students are eligible to begin an internship in urban agriculture. Our Core collaborates with the Summer Youth Employment Program to teach soft employment skills during their internship at the Downing Park Urban Farm.
Our goal is to maintain an ongoing, paid 3-year internship for our students at the farm, focusing on skills that will help them become entrepreneurs, community leaders and innovators. This will ensure their ability to make a difference in our community by addressing the unique needs of urban growers, or combatting nutritional and environmental effects of poverty by educating and influencing neighbors and political entities regarding growing food and caring for the Earth.
For many of us, our relationship with food begins after it is cleaned, cut, packed, ready to cook. This disconnect between us and our food diminishes our regard for and understanding of the ecosystem. AgriCultural Education seeks to rebuild the relationship between people, their food, and the earth.
Staff from Land to Learn (formerly Hudson Valley Seed) and Our Core, Inc. assessed their programming and identified a gap in agricultural services provided to youth in Newburgh. As a first step toward closing the gap, we have been we have been working together on a portion of our urban agriculture internship to provide a unique educational experience for Newburgh youth. Each of our interns completes the 5-week internship, choosing one of the 3 tracks below:
Interns spend the bulk of their time at the farm working directly with plants and soil. They are responsible for utilizing new knowledge of planting, space requirements, compositing, plant pests, diseases, and harvesting.
Interns work in multiple settings: Downing Park Urban Farm; Newburgh Farmers Market; & finally, a pop-up market of their own. They harvest, package, market, and sell produce to the public. They record, prep, and pack food for donation to feeding programs.
Interns spend 4 days each week at school gardens and summer camps for younger children, teaching them the importance of gardening and necessary growing skills.
Interns turnkey practices they learn in classes and internship into lessons for elementary students in camp gardens.
In addition to developing the relevant skills per their respective track, all interns work on basic growing skills. They build beds; shovel compost and soil; plant seeds; care for and transplant seedlings; weed; and nurture seedlings into mature plants. They develop work skills, including promptness, attention to detail, taking initiative and ownership, communicating to resolve conflicts and problem solve. They learn corresponding math, science, decision-making, problem-solving and people skills.
Check out our YouTube channel to see our AgriCultural Education interns -in colaboration with teens from other programs in the Hudson Valley present a pitch they put together for Farm Tank!
These teens, already invested in growing and working hard, collaborated in their new teams to innovate a unique agricultural invention, and pitch it to the farmers - all in only 15 minutes!
Other AgriCultural Education Initiatives
AFTER SCHOOL URBAN AGRICULTURE CLASSES
Urban Agriculture Basics and Urban Agriculture II are classes taught in Newburgh Free Academy North's after-school program. These are courses in growing food within city limits. Students learn farming history and modern techniques. They not only study soil, seeds, pollinators, and planting, but they also put their skills to work in our school gardens.
YOUTH MOBILE MARKETS
To expose our students to entrepreneurial possibilities in farming, we host pop-up markets at the Newburgh Free Library and at The Youngest Brother Pizzeria.