By Phyllis Odessey
28 Volunteers from Disney came to work at the Urban Farm. And I do mean work. We are expanding the farm to accommodate more students and adults. With an extra 8,000 square feet we will have a mobile kitchen area, a gathering place for students, 40 plus new beds, 3 rice paddies, experimental gutter planters for micro-greens and a brand new chicken pasture plus our coop will find a permanent home at the farm.
We started the morning off by dividing Disney volunteers into teams. The first team worked with Horticulture members and John S. and James B. on building 3 new rice paddies. In addition, Gerard Lordhal of GrowNYC worked with volunteers. With the success and interest in the rice paddy, we felt it was necessary to re-build the rice paddies so they could be sited in one location instead of being spread out in different locations in the garden. With new central location, we can water the rice paddies in a more sustainable fashion. The rice paddies are made with large, heavy, recycled bricks, each one laid by hand, a plastic liner is then place inside the structure and the last course of bricks keeps the plastic liner in place. The last phase is to fill the paddies with compost. For the next volunteer project, we will face the paddies with bamboo.
Eunyoung Sebazco, Horticulture Manager always has ideas, many ideas. She read about a garden that created planters using roof gutters. We decided to give it go. A group of Disney volunteers worked Winnie L., James C. and Eva F. on transforming the gutters into planters, attached them to a fence and lastly planted this new growing space with a variety of lettuces.
Jeff T. and Ulises H. worked with another group of Disney volunteers enclosing the new 8,000 sq. ft. space. The sound of fence pounding was heard throughout the day. We check that task off our list, it was finished by the time volunteers got on the bus. In tandem other volunteers rolled out 8,000 sq. ft. landscape fabric and covered the entire area, secured it with anchor pins. All was finished by 11am.
Another group worked with Nick Storrs and James N., and Rachel Brauser from GrowNYC on our new brick patio. This area will be the home of our mobile kitchen and a locus for instructors to give workshops and/or talk to students about nutrition and discuss new ideas. This group proved that everyone has a variety of skills. One of the Disney volunteers was an expert bricklayer. He took charge and showed us the way. We now have a 15 ft. brick patio in the shape of a circle. It is perfectly level and looks like it was built by professionals.
Some of that Disney magic came to the Urban Farm yesterday.
Thanks to everyone from Disney.