Currently we have basil, cilantro, Swiss chard and lettuce varieties deer tongue and star fighter growing. Since we first received the Gardens with funds from a GrowNYC grant we have been collaborating with David Hyman, the Sustainability Coordinator at The Calhoun School and his students for advice, ideas and seedlings. David brought his students two years ago to visit FLACS and help us build the gardens. Yesterday, along with the Garden Crew, we had the opportunity to visit David and talk with his students over at their school.
After a quick subway ride to the Upper West Side, we were greeted by David in the Calhoun lobby. Our visit began with a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Bobo and his amazing kitchen staff. The meal was their interpretation of a Canadian Thanksgiving meal which happened to be on the day of our visit. Cornbread Stuffing with Chicken Sausage, Glazed Carrots, Butternut Squash Soup and a Turkey Sandwich with Cranberries...not to mention the salad bar and fresh fruit! After lunch we were given a tour of the kitchen by Chef Bobo where he told us about their day to day operation and how what is grown in the Tower Gardens and rooftop garden are incorporated into their menus.
After lunch it was up to the rooftop garden. High above the 8th floor there was basil, arugula, kale, eggplant and more growing. David explained how these herbs and vegetables get incorporated into the lunch program and serve as an educational tool to teach students about the growing process. Our students were able to walk around, touch and smell the crops. We then headed downstairs to David’s classroom where he showed us his seedling station. At any time there are over 100 seedlings growing which he uses for Calhoun’s 3 tower gardens as well as supplying other school around the city, including FLACS 1, 2 and 3.
Our final stop on the tour was to go back down to the lobby where two of David’s Garden Club students met with our Garden Crew students to talk about what their responsibilities are in taking care of the Tower Garden. It turned into an exchange of experiences and challenges all centering on their work in their respective schools. It was clear that all the students had enthusiasm for the work they were doing and it was interesting to see the similarities in their experiences. It opened the door for future collaborations between our two schools that all the students were interested in pursuing.
Please take a minute to observe what is “growing” on in our Tower Gardens. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask myself, Jason, Victor or Ousmane. And be on the lookout for our first harvest when we will serve the Tower Garden lettuce on the salad bar! To see photos from our trip click here and don't forget to follow us on Instagram