Excitement was in the air for Week One of The Urban Design and Sustainability Program (UDSP). All students were introduced to the new learning-friendly design of the garden and its different plants. Students were treated to a special visit by BOD Executive Director Monica Ibacache, whose workshop showed students how they are already designers in their everyday lives. Inspired, they executed their first outdoor designs of the garden. Beyond Organic Design had many repeat participants who stepped up and became leaders.
The UDSP isn’t just gardening, though. Among other activities, the kids learn about nutrition and cooking. Week 1 emphasized the usefulness of canning for food preservation, tying into one of the 12 Permaculture Principles: Produce No Waste. Permaculture is a design system based on how nature designs itself, plus a fusion of indigenous farming practices and modern science. The students made pickles out of extra vegetables, instead of throwing them away. They also used browned bananas to make delicious muffins.
One class focused on seeds. Students planted radishes, lettuce, and arugula, to be observed and nurtured during the 5-week program. They were thrilled they would harvest their own plants, knowing they will later use them in a cooking class. This theme continued with the kids planting "Thought Seeds" during their Plant A Wish Arts & Crafts activity. They drew and wrote what they’d plant as a “seed” in the world to make it a better place, creating a colorful display of beautiful wishes for their families, peers, and all global citizens..
Unlike humans, nature creates no waste. The students geared up to use permaculture principles, as well as science, math, engineering, and art to understand why this is and how people can emulate nature. They reflected upon what habits we need to change to become less wasteful so we can enjoy a greener planet. They also made insect mobiles out of trash, which otherwise would have gone to a landfill or wound up in the ocean.
Kids love to get out of the classroom, so our field trip to Roosevelt Island, Grow To Learn Garden, was an opportunity to breathe fresh air and see a thriving example of urban agriculture in action. It is a magical and inspiring place for gardeners and sustainability enthusiasts. We admired their beautiful perennial and annual gardens, learned about the giant solar oven, and watered plants with rainwater from rain barrels. The children tasted fresh veggies and edible flowers, harvested carrots, and created beautiful art with plant parts. A wonderful end to Week 1 of the UDSP.
June is ending, as is 2018-2019 school year! We celebrated a fantastic year of growth and community coming to a close. Check out our final harvest of spring crops:
The ever-talented Cassandra Brown is back to teach with us for another summer season. We also welcome Gavriela Lagner, one of our two summer interns, to our Beyond Organic Design family.
Summer begins June 21st and it heralds the beginning of our 4th annual Urban Design and Sustainability Program July 1st. We will have another wonderful group of young people for 5 weeks who are ready to learn and have fun with all of us! There is much planned and a lot of exciting activities and field trips to come this summer. We are always grateful to our amazing partners at The Renaissance Charter School and our funders at NYC’s Department of Youth and Child Development (DYCD).
Greetings from Beyond Organic Design! It has been awhile since you’ve heard from us and we have been busy.
BOD had a great summer and our 2018-19 school year is going strong. Our innovative STEAM programming that blends design, agriculture, arts, culinary, ecology, and sustainability is continuing to be a hit with children, parents and teachers alike.
During our third summer of the six week Urban Design and Sustainability Program (UDSP), 40 Queens students ages 8-10 joined us once again at The Renaissance Charter School (TRCS) rooftop garden. Special thanks to our school partner at TRCS and funder at NYC Department of Youth and Child Development (DYCD).
This fall we returned to teaching our program and rooftop garden at YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood to students ages Preschool to Fifth grade. We diversified our composting by adding vermiculture, our students are mostly fascinated with our earthworms and their black gold casting.
At Central Park East 2, this is our third year of partnership.This Spanish Harlem elementary school has invited BOD to guest teach weekly their indoor heated greenhouse that includes a hydroponic system. We will be able to grow vegetables year round! This project also brings in a third partner and new collaborator with the Children’s Aid Society of NYC.