By Rachel Dahill-Fuchel
You might not know this if you pass the garden at Amsterdam and West 84th Street, but it is the Teaching Garden of the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, a 14-year-old public high school in the Brandeis High School Campus. Underused for some time, now under the leadership of Principal Kerry Decker, expect to see more than just blossoms this spring!
Principal Decker sees the garden as a pivotal place to embrace the community. To start, she will be launching the 1st Annual Spring Youth Farm Stand & Music Festivals on May 4th, May 18th, June 1st, and June 15th ,from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
The garden will be filled with fresh produce and food for sale, accompanied by live music by students from the music studio at LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and the Performing Arts.
Fresh greens, fruits and vegetables, local eggs, herbs, pastas, and bee products, such as honey and beeswax candles (some from the hives in the garden), and other foods with longer shelf lives will be available starting this Thursday, May 4th from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
The UA Green Careers High School is Manhattan’s premier high school for green careers, an unscreened school within the Brandeis Campus with the goal of preparing students for jobs in the fields of sustainability and urban gardening/farming. Emma Flemming is the Urban Agriculture teacher under whose tutelage the students are learning about hydroponic gardening, animal husbandry, and sustainable food systems from her lab classroom and teaching garden.
Imagine empowering our New York City youth the value of becoming true stewards of our glorious planet. Green Careers is grateful for the partnership with Jacob Hadjigeorgis of Jacob’s Pickles (and Maison Pickle and Tiki Chick). Jacob is providing internships and jobs for students, as well as ample support for the garden itself. Other organizations with a vested interest in Green Careers include The Green City Force, (Executive Director, Tonya Gayle, and Chief Program Officer, Annel Cabrera-Marus), and Pam Ito, from The Hort.
All this would never be able to happen without the intrepid support and resources of Councilwoman Gale Brewer, and her tireless Chief of Staff, Shulamit Puder, who have linked the school to these organizations, and who possess a strong vision for our community, where a Teaching Garden and Youth Farmstand can benefit everyone.
So, the next time you pass the garden, imagine the benefits Urban Assembly Green Career High School can have, not only for the students who study within, but for the community as a whole.
And, if you have ideas or the inclination to become more involved in the work of this dauntless program, please consider stopping by and reaching out!
Rachel Dahill-Fuchel, a semi-retired educator, is the community garden liaison for Green Careers High School, a pro bono role. She has “lived and worked in the community for decades,” she said, and is “committed to its success.”