Posts Tagged ‘composting’

composting in tight quarters workshop

April 6, 2011

That is one ginormous compost pile.

Curious about compost? Come to a workshop I’m leading next Saturday, April 16 at the New York Botanical Garden Midtown Campus!

Mastering the Urban Garden Saturday: Composting in Tight Quarters
Experience the alchemy of composting. Learn how to create nutrient-rich amendments for your garden bed while diverting food and yard waste from the landfill. Explore a variety of methods and uses for diverse settings, including indoor vermicomposting (worm composting) for small spaces and a range of outdoor bin systems.

Saturday, April 16
12:45 to 2:25pm

NYBG Midtown
20 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036 (btwn 5th & 6th Aves)
Tel. 718.817.8747

$31 for non-members, $28 for members

Reserve your spot in the class!

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farm city, here i come!

September 9, 2010

I’m super excited to be participating in the Farm City Fair this Sunday (9.12), part of the larger 2-week-long Farm City event. I’ll be leading a worm composting demo and tabling all day alongside the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn. If you come to the event you’ll also get a chance to learn some other great DIY skills from some of my favorite people, like:

  • Foraging with Leda Meredith (Leda’s Urban Homestead)
  • Pickling with Kate Payne (Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking)
  • Honey Extraction with Meg Paska (Brooklyn Honey)
  • Sausage Making with Tricia Okin (BK Tactical Meet Labs)
  • and much more!

(Thanks to Adriana Velez & BFC for making it possible!)

Full details on the day’s events below:

The Fair is a wild new take on the traditional County Fair.

Join us for a day-long celebration of art and food grown in Brooklyn!

The Fair aims to collapse the boundaries between consumer and producer, reducing disconnect between city dwellers and sources of our food stuffs.

Festivities engage all the senses:

Featured artists premiering new works include:

Featured Chefs putting Brooklyn into the local diet include:

  • Sean Rembold, Marlow & Sons;
  • George Weld, Egg; and
  • Chris “Ted” Jackson, Ted & Honey;
  • Tom Mylan, Famed Butcher from The Meat Hook

Sunday, September 12, 2010
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Invisible Dog Art Center

51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn 11201
FREE!

(Except for The Food Experiments, where you can also have some fine libations courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery)

eco fun in greenwood, brooklyn

July 7, 2010

Come out to Greenwood Brooklyn this summer for some fun hands-on workshops for kids of all ages!

I’ll be co-leading a workshop on worm composting on Saturday, July 17. We’ll show you how to set up an indoor composting bin and how to care for your new friends, the red wigglers.

what’s going on?

May 10, 2010

Yeah, I know. This blog has been very quiet. But that’s only because my life hasn’t been. A lot more doing and a little less documenting. So here, in a nutshell, is a rundown of some of the good stuff I’ve been up to.

Growing Power

If you haven’t heard of Will Allen or his magical agricultural oasis in Milwaukee called Growing Power yet, you must not be paying attention to the sustainable urban agriculture movement. Oh wait, according to Will it’s not a movement, it’s now a revolution! My understanding of revolutions is that they are loud… can’t you hear the roar, the passion in Will’s voice?

We went to one of his Growing From the Ground Up weekend workshops a few weeks back. I just got around to uploading the pictures. Check ’em out!

Master Composter Certification

Soil is the basis of life on earth. Without its nutrients and hard-working microorganisms, plants would not grow, we would all quickly starve. In the city, we’ve got some pretty horrendous soil. Poisoned with petrochemicals and heavy metals, compacted, often just dead. Compost brings life back to the soil. I’m having a great time learning all about decomposition, soil organisms, and all of the challenges city composters put up with in the Master Composter training through the NYC Compost Project in Brooklyn (at the lovely Brooklyn Botanic Garden). I’ve met some really cool, passionate people in the class who all love to geek-out on all things compost.

Rich compost from the Lower East Side Ecology Center site

Fellow Master Composters dig in and get dirty

In the next few weeks, I’ll be working with a classmate on some fun compost-related projects in order to fulfill our community outreach hours. And then there’s the Masters of Succession presence at the Figment Festival happening in the middle of June. Learn more about that here.

The Work Office (TWO)

These days I’ve got compost on the brain. So I’ve poured this love for black gold into creative expression.

The Work Office (TWO) is a project put together by Katarina Jerenic (aka Katsie) and Naomi Miller that mimics the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) role in employing artists and other public workers around the time of the Great Depression. I worked for TWO last week in order to promote a new event – Compost Awareness Week – via mixed media poster made from upcycled and natural materials. You can visit the work at 156 William St (corner of Ann St) until next Thursday, May 20 (hours here).

Herbal Medicine Making

Wednesday nights are spent with Robin Rose Bennett at the Open Center making herbal tinctures, decoctions, and infusions. It’s a joy to make medicine with my own two hands while singing with my classmates and putting ‘good energy’ into our jars of botanical concoctions.

My growing herbal medicine collection

worms are going to eat my garbage!

April 23, 2010

I’m very excited. Today, I got worms. Red wigglers. The kind that eat trash – food scraps to be exact. Now I won’t have to cart my compostables to the Union Square Farmers Market (a train ride away).

I’m a little concerned about the timing, since we’re heading to Milwaukee tomorrow to attend a Growing Power workshop. But I think I set it up so they’d be cozy enough until our return.

The worm condo

The future bedding

Worms need water, too

This isn't milk

It's full of worms who've been in there for 3 days!

All ready for the wormies!

My new pets

Worm food, aka frozen coffee grounds

I put in a few other little scraps of food for them. I hope they like their new home enough to not crawl out while we’re away!

skills to pay the bills (or at least save a little dough)

August 26, 2009

Got a hankerin’ to make stuff, but don’t know how? In a time when people are pinching pennies out of necessity or just to consume less for the good of the planet, it helps to know there are some free ways to learn a few new tricks.

Check it out…

Thursday, August 27 (that’s tomorrow!)

Lori Gibbs and Atom Cianfarani want to teach you how to GreenIt Yourself this Thursday with a green roof and gardening in small spaces Workshop. At the Toyota Children’s Garden (one of New York Restoration Project’s babies) from 7 pm to 8 pm. And there will be refreshments!

Toyota Children’s Garden
603 East 11th Street, New York, NY

Friday, August 28 (in prep for Saturday, October 10)

Okay, this one’s a little bit preemptive, and maybe not so free, but it comes pretty darn close. This concert, featuring local bands, will help fund a day of skill sharing on October 10 at the Brooklyn Skillshare.

On Saturday, October 10, you’re gonna learn all kinds of crazy stuff: ricotta-making, liquor-infusing, kombucha-brewing, screenprinting, and a whole lot more. The door price is based on a sliding scale ($10 suggested), so pay what you can.

The fundraising show that’s this Saturday, on the other hand, is $7 and features local acts like The XYZ Affair and Gunfight!.

Get all the details for the event and the fund-raising-music-show at the trusty e-newsletter of my favorite borough, Brooklyn Based.


Monday, August 31

So you want to use a reusable shopping bag but don’t want to shell out the dollars to get one? How’s about making one for yourself? Learn how at this free workshop – 3rd Ward’s Sweatshop Social. You supply the fabric (an old t-shirt perhaps?), they supply the notions and the (cheap) beer. Bring your own cup and the suds are just a buck.

[via Brooklyn Based]

And for all you green thumb wannabes…
More free events coming soon to Brooklyn Botanic Garden through their GreenBridge Program (these are free, but ya gotta register – so sign up right quick!).

Street Tree Care
Thursday, September 17, 6 to 8 pm
Thursday, November 5, 6 to 8 pm
Street trees do much to improve our environment, but they often receive little care. In this class, learn the benefits of street trees and how to improve the health of a street tree by caring for its bed. Get tips on amending soil, mulching, watering, pruning, and tree-bed gardening. Bring your street-tree care questions and find out more about the city’s efforts to increase and protect the urban forest canopy.

Starting a Children’s Garden
Thursday, October 15, 6 to 8 pm
Would you like to develop a children’s garden at your school, block association, or neighborhood organization? This workshop will provide tips for adult leaders who want to organize a children’s gardening program. Learn how to plan your program and what tools and plant materials are needed to get growing. You will receive a free activity booklet and visit our children’s education greenhouse for hands-on activities.

Getting to Know Your Soil
Wednesday, October 28, 6 to 8 pm
Interested in knowing more about your soil? Concerned about safely growing food in urban soils? This class will demonstrate several easy diagnostic activities for learning about your soil. How to take a soil sample for testing will be demonstrated as well as interpreting lab results. You’ll also receive tips on improving urban soils.

Rainwater Harvesting
Thursday, October 22, 6 to 8 pm
Learn the benefits of reducing your dependence on NYC water and minimizing storm water flows into our sewers by collecting rainwater for use in your garden. It’s easy to use roofs from nearby buildings and garden sheds to harvest rainwater. Come learn about the different types of rainwater harvesting systems being used throughout NYC community gardens from simple pickle barrels to large tanks, and get tips on how to build your own.

Introduction to Permaculture
Tuesday, November 10, 6 to 8 pm
Permaculture is a design approach based on interpreting natural patterns for human benefit. Learning how to read the land and planning for long-term development are two objectives of this workshop. Permaculture works on all scales and levels. Discussion will cover topics ranging from choosing and using plants in groupings to observing and utilizing the elemental forces of wind, water, and sun.

do chickens get seasick?

August 19, 2009


Below the BQE, in a barren industrialized part of Brooklyn, was docked the Waterpod

Do chickens get seasick? Does sea air help or hinder the tomatoes? If you get a chance to visit the Waterpod – 3,000 square foot living ‘art-installation’ barge – could you do me a favor and ask these questions? A combination of heat and a weekend’s worth of permaculture lessons fried my noodle when I went to visit the operation on the Brooklyn waterfront last Sunday.

Here are some things to look forward to on your visit (they’re currently docked in Staten Island):


Bucky, eat your heart out.


Hey, your squash is hanging out!


These ladies are just minding their own business.


Grey water filtration system – awesome!


There shouldn’t be a mutiny on this bounty. (Ouch!)


Looks like a healthy tomato crop – no scurvy here


Some worthy shipmates saving amaranth seeds


Inside the living room – it was pretty cozy I’ll have to admit

Get the poop on the Waterpod

And some press on
NY Times

follow this man: will allen

July 6, 2009

If you didn’t catch this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, you missed out on an article about one of the best role models for young Americans, and heck, old ones too. Will Allen — urban farmer, master composter, down-to-earth guy — is creating a community of people who care more about the food they put in their bodies, especially city dwellers who don’t have access to healthful food.

An excerpt:

Like others in the so-called good-food movement, Allen, who is 60, asserts that our industrial food system is depleting soil, poisoning water, gobbling fossil fuels and stuffing us with bad calories. Like others, he advocates eating locally grown food. But to Allen, local doesn’t mean a rolling pasture or even a suburban garden: it means 14 greenhouses crammed onto two acres in a working-class neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northwest side, less than half a mile from the city’s largest public-housing project.

And this is why Allen is so fond of his worms. When you’re producing a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of food in such a small space, soil fertility is everything. Without microbe- and nutrient-rich worm castings (poop, that is), Allen’s Growing Power farm couldn’t provide healthful food to 10,000 urbanites — through his on-farm retail store, in schools and restaurants, at farmers’ markets and in low-cost market baskets delivered to neighborhood pickup points. He couldn’t employ scores of people, some from the nearby housing project; continually train farmers in intensive polyculture; or convert millions of pounds of food waste into a version of black gold.

Read the rest