Cornell Cooperative Extension sows seeds to grow urban agriculture


Adjacent to the iconic Domino Sugar refinery building along the East River in Brooklyn, North Brooklyn Farms is an agricultural green space open to the community. In support of North Brooklyn Farms, Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest New York specialists help host workshops and provide on-site horticultural assistance. R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“And we often find that urban agriculture gives people an opportunity to develop a sense of belonging and contribution to the greater community.”

By R.J. Anderson
Cornell Edu
April 4, 2019


In New York City, CCE Harvest New York urban agricultural specialists Sam Anderson and Yolanda Gonzalez travel from their Brooklyn office by bus, subway and ferry to deliver educational programming and on-site technical assistance in all five boroughs to commercial vegetable growers and nonprofits operating urban gardens.

“I love working in agriculture in this city because there’s such variety,” Anderson said. “One day we’re visiting an outdoor aquaponics setup where there’s goldfish on one side and okra growing in floating rafts on the other. Then the next day we’re visiting a rooftop farm with a view over the Hudson River, and the next we’re in the Rockaways, on a farm half a block from the beach.”

Anderson said those drawn to New York’s urban agriculture scene typically come from a gardening or activist background. And while they may have a strong interest in food or social justice, not many have commercial vegetable-growing experience.

“We fill that need by sharing the most recent plant science research,” Anderson said. “And we show them how to improve profitability by better utilizing limited growing spaces.”

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