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  • Writer's pictureNatalya Murakhver

Garden and Food Ed Funding Call

Today we had a great call to discuss our asks from the Speaker’s Office by way of garden and food ed funding.

Present on call:

Andrea Strong NYCHSFA Founder

Nina Salzman, Dir of programs of NY Restoration Project

Julia McCarthy, Director of the Food Ed Hub,

Hilary Gardner, Garden Educator, PS 261

Emma Taliaferro, Farm workshop manager at City Growers, Kathy Park Price, co-director of Garden Train District 15

Andrea would like to ask for garden seed money ($2000 per school) for every school to start some sort of farming. Andrea would also like to ask for funding for Garden and Food Ed Coordinators who would manage 2-3 neighborhood schools and ensure food education is implemented and that garden is kept going and who would also offer PD to staff and encourage schools to use the garden as a form of instruction. Salary $50K per Coordinator. Ideally this person might be able to do some education too? Other educators?

Emma shared that at City Growers they run residency with one coordinator and two eductors and that they offer teachers training for cross curricular tie ins. She suggested that ideally a coordinator would be a master gardeners with two educators who work together and do lesson planning together.

Hillary said it’s great to have two educators to keep all hands busy and engaged.

We spoke about the need to get some buy-in from DOE and to integrate garden and food ed into curriculum. Garden should become an integral piece of the city’s science curriculum

The landscape is amorphous in terms of ownership fo school gardens. Is it DOE school food or DOE office of sustainability. We feel that the DOE needs to add a position of Director of School Gardens because it’s unclear if its school food or sustainability? Need a DOE liasson here.

We agreed that we should prepare a one-sheet for our meeting with Speaker’s office where we outline the impact of garden and food education and also reference the Berkeley program which is currently in place in which every school has both a garden and a full time garden coordinator who teaches food and garden education. Julia is doing a call with the folks at Berkeley and can include me on that call.

Julia also mentioned that NY State has removed school gardens from SNAP ed programming so all the direct service organizations who were providing garden education are no longer able to do it. So that makes a strong case for NYC to supplement it now because NY state is not funding it.

In our One Sheet we want a story, a great picture and a compelling narrative around the power and impact of garden and food education.

Julia also said they have data from their A is for Apple report we can use on the inequality of food education across the city and shared that NYC DOH is also recollecting that data now which will be useful for our pitch.

We agreed to go pie in the sky with our ask and then work together to find a more realistic starting point.

Andrea also to reach out to Meredith McDermott Director of Sustainability to touch base with her on these ideas.

Nina also suggested that we try to make the case to DOE to tie gardens to the science curriculum and make gardens a play space science education. Hilary for instance is teaching K and 1st grade in the garden instead of the science teacher and we can make the case that is can be integrated into science curriculum. Hilary cant see kids alone yet but is getting her substitute teaching license which would allow her to be alone with the class for garden ed but she says it’s preferable to have two adults with all those kids.

Next steps are

  • Kathy invited everyone to a Garden Train panel on the current landscape and future of school gardens on Dec. 12. She will send out info

  • Andrea to prepare one sheet for our Speaker’s ask and share with group for comments

  • Julia to invite Andrea to phone call with Berkeley about school gardens

  • Once we have our ask we will be organizing a Lobby Day at City Council in early January/February to ask all council members to support our asks to the Speaker.

Thanks all!


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