Spring has sprung: flowers are blooming, birds are returning, and Green Council members are getting their first taste of the summer work ahead of them. During their spring break, Green Council worked on the High Line with the gardeners and visited various green spaces around New York City, including the Brooklyn Grange, Harlem Grown, North East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation (NEBHDco), Vogue Community Garden, and the New York Botanical Garden.
Green Council started their week working alongside the gardeners and learning about the different aspects of gardening on the High Line. Throughout the week, they focused on plant and soil care, identifying plants and weeds on the High Line, and integrated pest management (IPM), a process that uses beneficial bugs to get rid of harmful bugs.
On their second day, Green Council went to the Brooklyn Grange, an intensive rooftop farm. They studied the Brooklyn Grange’s unique gardening system and how bees help plants bear fruit through cross-pollination. They also learned how essential bees are to the environment. Green Council member Jeremmy Parra commented, “It was enjoyable. I liked the experimental beds for children and the chickens we got to see.”
Green Council also had a full-day youth exchange with Harlem Grown, a community-run garden that engages youth in growing food to give to the community. Harlem Grown’s youngest members joined the Green Council staff in weeding and transplanting in the High Line’s beds during the morning. In the afternoon, Green Council visited Harlem Grown’s garden, where they were able to tour their greenhouse and sift out compost. Green Council member Mariel Martinez greatly enjoyed her time there, stating, “I like the food justice that they enact. They give back the food they grow to the community and hire people from it so they may take an active role in improving their neighborhood.”
Later in the week, Green Council met up with the Youth Food Justice Network, which includes East New York Farms!, Added Value, NEBHDco, and Friends of the High Line. Green Council members worked with the network to identify issues around climate justice and to create posters in preparation to attend the People’s Climate March in late April in Washington, DC.
Green Council finished the week by assisting the Vogue Community Garden in cleaning and weeding around their beds. Afterward, they laid down mulch and added compost to the garden’s beds. In the afternoon, Green Council traveled to the New York Botanical Garden where they learned about the garden’s youth internship program. The internship teaches participants about environmental science and how to teach it to the children who visit the garden.
High Line Youth—part of High Line Community Engagement—is generously supported by Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Merck Family Fund. This program is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Council—with special thanks to Council Member Corey Johnson and the Greener NYC Initiative.