Bringing the farm to city kids
Farming collective uses living classroom to link urban youth with farming
By Scott Waldman
Updated 8:17 a.m., Thursday, November 29, 2012
ALBANY — A greenhouse on a former vacant lot in one of Albany’s most troubled neighborhoods shows us how sustainable we could be.
On this damp November afternoon in the city’s South End, the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center is blooming with tomatoes hanging from the loft. The basil is fragrant and the watercress has a sharp bite. Tilapia swimming in a tank brimming with plant life wait to be harvested.
On a sunny winter day, you can wear your T-shirt in here.
The Radix Center at 153 Grand St. is a living classroom. There are lessons here for kindergartners, such as that banana peels and apple cores, when composted, turn into great dirt. And there is something to learn for older students, like the role of nitrogen in the life cycle of fish and plants.
Scott Kellogg and Stacey Pettigrew founded the center, which is a not-for-profit, in 2010. Now they’re looking to expand their educational outreach, to get more schoolchildren in the doors through a fundraising campaign that will support ecological literacy workshops for young people. Radix has hosted groups from elementary school all the way through college, and is looking to increase the number of young people who come to learn about how an urban environment is an excellent place to farm.
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