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Are you aware of any farms in New York City? In the city itself? No. I'm not specifically aware of farms. I have my own tomatoes that I grow in my backyard. Cause since, like, New York has a lot of buildings- -you really don't see much of like, like, big farms around here. You mostly see a lot of buildings, some community gardens and tress, but- -not a farm. No. I don't think, no. Because I come to the city. New York. Never. In New York state itself? Actually in the city. In the five boroughs. No, I do not. In the city itself? No. The farm was settled by the Dutch in 1697- -when pretty much all of New Amsterdam, which is now New York, was farms, farmland settled by the Dutch. And so this is the last remaining homestead of that era really. So it's really special. And it pretty much was family owned until the beginning of the 20th century. I saw pictures of food being trucked- -to the East River and brought over to Manhattan. I mean, the north of Manhattan were farms. As the city grew, the farming land basically disappeared. So now the urban farms, in a certain way are, looking back at the past. Trying to bring back food production within the city. Food production that existed. And it's gone over, over time. I don't know how many generations now, it's probably a number of them- -but Americans used to grow their own food. And I think there are a lot of people who still have backyard gardens. But it's definitely not the vast majority of those 18 million living in New York City. Something that's really interesting is that- -our school summer break, um, the reason that was institutionalized- -was so that children could help with the harvest. But now we're so disconnected from that that we do need- -other more creative ways to educate our children and our adults about food- -and where it comes from. Come here, Joe. See how they peck at it? When a lot of this area was being developed in the 70's- -luckily this, this particular piece of land, Jim Trent the president of our board- -and Senator Frank Padavan sort of teamed up and- -protected it. Luckily. So now we're overseen by the parks department and Historic House Trust. And this land. This piece of forty-seven acres, actually, is protected. And will never be developed. So we became the non-profit Queens County Farm Museum in the 70's. The beauty of this job is that no one day is like the next. And twice a day, around 8am and around 4:30pm- -we do animal chores. And that's, it's a nice, it's a nice constant. We have a small little livestock team. Nine goats, seven sheep, two-hundred laying hens, two cows. And we raise about six pigs a year. So we rotate responsibilities for animal chores. Go eat. Go eat, Domino. I work with an awesome team of, as it so happens, women. And, we do have a couple of guys that come in and out of the crew. Which is great, male energy is really important. Especially when you have so many women. It's funny, because I mean on, there is a stereotype- -that farming is sort of a male-centric profession. I hear it all the time. Like, 'oh you're not wearing overalls'. And, 'you're not an old man on a tractor'. And- I think if you've met a farmer you probably have a very- -like, cartoony kind of picture in your head of overalls and a hat. Maybe a piece of straw. And a tractor. When I have worked on farms in the past with men- -there is a different energy. I mean, I think that there's this assumption that men operate the tractors. Or that men, you know, operate the weed-whacker. Any sort of like machinery based thing, the guys will take care of it. You know it's funny to fall into those roles. It's true. I mean, it's happened on farms where I am- -and I'm reluctant to sort of, I had been reluctant to sort of- -push myself to know more about machinery or tractors. And I guess at the end of the day, yeah, we all feel really empowered. We feel pretty fearless. I don't think that we're lacking at all by not having... ...men. Unfortunately, there's, there's a reason why there's this upsurgence of young farmers- -and people trying to reclaim some sort of sense of where food is coming from. And to try and understand where we went wrong. And why fast food and the fast food culture has sort of took over. Every time that there is a food safety crisis- -people realize how fragile the system is. Every time there is E-Coli cases or, I don't know, tainted meat cases- -people suddenly think about that. But they also tend to forget. That's something that really, I find it very interesting in the American food system- -how fast consumers forget. I think that kind of what happened in rapid succession was- -that we had a food scare. A couple of food scares. Where there was E-Coli on spinach, and a couple of things like that. And that got people really asking questions. Is my food supply safe? Is my food system safe? And the answer to the question I think is if you know your farmer and you know where your food is coming from- -your food is that much safer. So that created an incentive for a lot of people to sort of figure that out. You know, thinking about food in ways that are not just about what's in your dish- -but also what's behind that. And how that dish gets to your table. We have become a very food conscious culture in so many ways. And I think people know a lot more about food now- -than they ever have in the past. And at the same time there's this dichotomy because we're so much less connected to the land. Being, living in cities and even in suburbia. When I worked in the South Bronx I met kids, you ask them, you know- -where do vegetables come from? Well, they come from the super market. You know, because that's the only place they've ever seen them. And so does Lucky Charms. A friend of mine worked in, in agricultural education- -in the sense that they would bring farm animals to school groups. Once brought a, once brought a small calf to a, to a school in, in the Bronx. And asked the kids a question; where does milk come from? And one of the kids' answer was- What, you think I'm stupid? It comes from the store. Right, so. But you get that sense that even adults are divorced from where their food comes from. What the processes are. There's more awareness now than there has been in the past. There's a real disconnect between food and where it comes from. They have this amazing urban farm in the middle of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. So one day one of the boys in the program- -his job was to go in and collect the eggs from the coup. And he was doing that, and he picked up an egg and he was like- Oh my God, this is like an egg. An, like this light bulb comes on for him. That like eggs come from chickens. And so that sort of tremendous disconnect really is part and parcel of city living. But I think every single one of us the first time you walk into a garden- -or walk onto a farm field and pick a leaf off a lettuce plant and eat it- -you're making this tremendously different connection between the source of the food- -and the fact that this is the food that you consume. It's sad, I think. And I think to grow and eat healthy, fresh food is, is not a hard thing. But it's apparently not a, not as common. As such we have a farm stand here open five days a week during the height of the season. I definitely think that people embrace what we do. This has been our fourth season. I would say we've gone from- -being open two days a week for our farm stand. Now almost seven days a week with a lot of demand. So that's heartening to know that people like what we grow and want more of it. All set? So I've been living in New York City all my life, right? The whole New York City. I lived in- everywhere except the Bronx. So the train behind us, like I used to be on that train and looking- I said what are these guys doing down here? They cannot be growing anything, right? And so one day I actually got a flier. About a farmer's market. So I tried it out. I realized they were hiring, and I said- Wow, I've always wanted to do something like this. This may be the closest thing I would do for free. Right. This or be a first responder. I'm from Park Slope, Brooklyn. So I grew up in the city. And then I got interested in farming at- -where I went to school. In Poughkeepsie. At Vassar. When most people start our program at East New York Farms- -they don't have generally a lot of experience. Not a lot of folks have like a current connection to food. You know they eat fast food. And they don't know how to grown things. So they're coming kind of with an interest in helping the community and making a change. And we kind of go from there. This side's going to be higher, so... When I was in 8th grade the farm supervisor, she came to my school- -which is UFT. And she talked about the farm, and what we could do to help the community. And I was very interested so I signed up. I just like farming because I never was interested in farming- -so that would be something new.

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Duration: 1 hour, 24 minutes and 1 second
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 24
Posted by: nickcaccese on Mar 28, 2016

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