"In Bushwick, Brooklyn, a community with high levels of poverty and limited food options,
EcoStation:NY has begun to change how this community of New Yorkers buys, eats, and identifies with food."
– from "New York's Food Future," Thomas Forster, The Indypendent, May 3, 2012. Full quote

2012 Year-in-Review – or – What does EcoStation do?!

EcoStation:NY is Bushwick, Brooklyn's young nonprofit organization dedicated to improving our neighborhood and world through community food projects that integrate sustainable agriculture, human health, environmental education, and social justice.

At first we were primarily a seasonal operation, with several Bushwick Farmers' Market locations open six months a year. But with the advent of Bushwick Campus Farm and Farm-in-the-Sky, and now the addition of a greenhouse at Bushwick Campus, EcoStation's activities are year-round, and our impact is ever-widening.

Through strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations we are proud to be working with and growing community support, we are touching the lives of literally tens of thousands of New Yorkers through our work.

Our home base of Bushwick has been getting extensive press as of late, an editor at The New York Times even calling it "arguably the coolest place on the planet." While it may be novel "new" neighborhood for some, in some areas, 38% of the residents still live in poverty. In these same communities, rates of preventable, diet-related illness rank among the highest in the City. These are the people we reach out to: the underserved, not the well-to-do.

Through strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations we are proud to be working with, and growing community support, we are touching the lives of literally tens of thousands of New Yorkers through our work.

For full-screen slideshow, please click here.

By providing access to farm-fresh food from local farms, and educating a new generation excited to learn about the crucial links between human and environmental health, EcoStation is helping build a healthier, stronger community.

Now gather close and hear the tale of the year that was, 2012 – of four seasons of the triumphs and travails of EcoStation:NY, a small (but growing!) group of passionate and dedicated people working on Big Things, and doing right by our community and our planet!

William & Mary Greve
USDA Farmers Market
Promotion Program
EPA/Columbia Teachers College
Youth Service America/Sodexo
NYS Fresh Connect
Citizens Committee for New York City
Fund for Public Health in New York
NYS Dept of Agriculture & Markets
Council Member
Diana Reyna

Bushwick Campus Farm
12,000 sq ft of organic food production
3,000 lbs produce harvested
65 different crops
4 public high schools
15 teachers
375 in-class
student visits
2 year-long
academic courses
2 after-school programs
20 cooking workshops
1 on-site farm stand
176 hrs after school programming
20 visiting field trips
from across NYC
2 Garden-to-Cafe
Harvest Celebrations
3 large-scale community events

2,750 job training hours
10 summer youth employees
12 adult apprentices
20 diehard volunteers
1 amazing farmer/educator

600 sq feet of year-round greenhouse
2,400 plant starts grown
60 sq ft of hydroponic systems
500 cu ft composting system
200 gallon aquaponics system
50 grilled tilapia


2012 got off to an excting start! Through a grant from Cornell University, EcoStation's three directors (Maggie Cheney, Sean-Michael Fleming, and Travis Tench) were delighted to take a group of twelve students on an overnight trip to the Winter Conference of Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA - of which EcoStation is a proud member) in Saratoga Springs New York - with a stop on the way up to tour Glynwood Farm, a working, organic Hudson Valley farm, and another on the way back at a beautiful, snow-covered Minnewaska State Park.

At the NOFA conference, students met with Jessica Cortez of Just Food, who works with many immigrant farming families; and with Mexican farmers now living and working here in the States, including our friends from  Angel Farm.

We know full well that a large majority of our students will not themselves become actual farmers. Fostering an appreciation for the earth that our food comes from, and opening their eyes to the array of education and employment opportunities surrounding sustainable agriculture is important to us.

In February, EcoStation commemorated our recent and successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign with a Celebration of Urban Agriculture at Bushwick Campus Farm, featuring student-led tours of the farm, music, refreshments, and food (including salad grown on-site), and the debut of our new greenhouse! The event continued later across town at Brooklyn Fire Proof, with an evening event for grown-ups featuring yet more delicious local food, and live music.

Click to play the wonderful video created by Farmer Maggie, Bushwick Campus students, and volunteer Gabriel Purifoy (running time 6 min). 

Our greenhouse at Bushwick Campus Farm utilizes traditional and hydroponic growing techniques, aquaponics, and, in winter, a compost-fueled heating system! For those unfamiliar with aquaponics, it is a "closed-loop" system, with fish raised in a tank, and plants in another. Through forced circulation of the water through both, the fish waste fertilizes the plants, who in turn clean the water of impurities.

Throughout the winter months, Farmer Maggie, Boswyck Farms apprentices, and volunteers helping teach classes during the day in the greenhouse, and worked one-on-one with ten Campus teachers on integratimg a variety of intersting greenhouse activites into their lesson plans.

We also worked two days a week after school leading students from HAI in cooking and gardening activities. Chrissy's Cooking Club helped teach six in-school pop-up cooking classes throughout academic school year


In March, EcoStation joined forces with Flip the Table, a new organization intent on giving voice to our young people in the food justice movement, forming New York City's first Youth Food Council.

March also saw the beginning of a credited after-school program: Bushwick Campus Food Fighters. Fifteen students met twice weekly with four of our Community Apprentices to work on projects in the greenhouse and on the farm, and discuss larger food justice issues.


Green Guerillas
Just Food
GrowNYC/Grow to Learn
Make the Road NY
NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene
El Puente
Academy for Environmental Leadership
Bushwick School for
Social Justice
Brooklyn School for
Math and Research
Academy of Urban Planning
MESA Charter High School

Bushwick Farmers' Market
40,000 customer visits
26 weeks,
3 days a week
3 weekly farmers markets
2 weekly farm stands
6 local family-owned farms
4 local entrepreneurs
45 volunteers
2 support staff
1 passionate  director/manager
1 unstoppable
7 local restaurants' food
  at the Feast
100s lbs of Sandy
  relief donations

@ Brooklyn Fire Proof
5,000 sq ft expansion
5 local chef/patrons
2 weekly RSA deliveries
3 great Raise the Roof! events
25 volunteers
5 youth work days
75 workshop attendees
2 beginner beekeepers
2 bee hives
10,000 bees
1 very generous host



Join EcoStation
at the 29th Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether
on Saturday,
March 23!

On March 29, fifteen restaurants from across Brooklyn participated in our first Eat to Give fundraiser for Bushwick Campus Farm, donating a portion of the day's proceeds to our educational programs at Bushwick Campus. Several (including highly regarded Momo Sushi shack and farm-to-table hotspot, Northeast Kingdom) are also members of our RSA (Restaurant-Supported Agriculture) club, purchasing a variety of salad greens and seasonal vegetables from our growing operations at Bushwick Campus and Farm-in-the-Sky.

In April, after extensive outreach, EcoStation convened its first meeting of our new Community Advisory Board. Comprised of members from both the local Bushwick community, as well others engaged in food justice work from across NYC (such as representatives from Brooklyn Food Coalition and Just Food), the Board helps guide our decision making, and contributes their time, advice, and expertise in helping us continue to grow as an organization while remaining true to our mission.

GreenThumb's annual GrowTogether is a one-day conference that brings together more than 1,000 gardeners and greening enthusiasts from across the city. This year, we brought a team from the Bushwick Campus Green Team, who assisted local composting experts and friends, Earth Matter, in presenting a hands-on workshop on how to build garden compost sifting screens.

Earth Day has always been special to EcoStation. This year, we kicked off Earth Week with our series of plant sales, which sold a total of 2,400 greenhouse-raised plant starts to gardeners, schools, and community gardens from as far away as the Bronx.

Many Thanks to our
2012 Eat to Give
Restaurant Friends
Arancini Bros
Arepera Guacuco
Breukelen Coffee House
Brooklyn Fire Proof East
Café Ghia
Cafeteria La Mejor
Gueros Brooklyn
Lily & Fig
Mama Joy's
Momo Sushi Shack
Pine Box Rock Shop
Tandem Bar
Verde Coal Oven
Wyckoff Starr


Our activities culminated with Earth Week @ Bushwick Campus, a free community event with Project Reach, G-CAMP, El Puente, Make the Road NY, Chrissy's Cooking Club, and Boswyck Farms. Several area after-school programs brought their youngsters for a hands-on planting session with our apprentices. The farm was bustling and full of excitement!

Earth Week Celebration sllide show by noted Bushwick photgrapher Meryl Meisler for BushwickDaily.com

Winner! EcoStation teamed up with Academy of Environmental Leadership to win twoawards this year:
2nd Bourough-Wide Runner-Up in DSNY's Golden Apple "Team Up to Clean Up" competition,
and first place in SolarOne and Dept of Education's "Green Design Lab Energy Challenge."


Save the Date:
April 26th
Earth Week Celebration
@ Bushwick Campus

Plant sales, exhibits,
live entertainment,
and food. Exhibitors, local perforners, partners,
and sponsors welcome!

EcoStation's 2013 Community Apprentice Program is now accepting applications.

Application deadline
March 8th
Orientation April 8-9

More information and
application here!

In April, EcoStation also announced its new Community Apprentice Program. a unique learning opportunity for adults to work and learn at Bushwick Campus Farm and Farm-in-the-Sky. Twelve participants from across NYC were selected for internships focusing on a range of topics, from rooftop farming to composting. Each played a role in determining the direction and scope of their apprenticeship, and all benefited from insightful weekly group workshops on such topics as urban farming techniques, propagation, marketing, and social justice issues.

Two program participants were enrollees of Just Food's Farm School NYC. Bushwick Campus Farm is proud to be a classroom site for this exciting urban agriculture training program, featured on a news feature on WABC 7's Eyewitness News in August ( Super Apprentice Barry Rothstein).

Our Community Apprentices proved indispensable during the busy growing season and beyond, working alongside students and community volunteers and keeping our operations running smoothly. The lessons they learned will be carried back to their respective communities. And so EcoStation's sphere of influence continues to grow...

Visit our Bushwick Campus Farm page for more information...
Follow the Farm on Facebook for updates, or sign up for special alerts via Twitter.


At the Brooklyn Food Conference in May, EcoStation had strong representation. Months earlier, four Bushwick Campus students worked with us to plan and develop the event's "youth track." Working with fellow students and our apprentices, they presented workshops, teach-ins, and impressive cooking and composting demonstrations. We couldn't have been more proud!

On Mother's Day Weekend, dedicated students helped raise money for Bushwick Campus Farm programming by canvassing the neighborhood, selling greenhouse-raised plants, as well as 1000 potted flowers donated by Converse.

At Farm-in-the-Sky, EcoStation is exploring traditional and experimental growing techniques, utilizing "DIY" (Do-It-Yourself) techniques and "upcycled" planters made from everything from coffee bean bags to 5-gallon buckets.

May also saw a big push to re-establish and expand our seasonal rooftop farm, Farm-in-the-Sky. Now in its second year, this experimental "urban ag" project began to realize its potential as a destination for curious DIY rooftop gardeners.

On May 5, under the direction of EcoStation's Director of Farms and Education, Maggie Cheney, and Community Apprentice and Site Manager, Matthew Lebon, hearty volunteers helped haul six cubic yards of soil and 50 wood pallets up six flights of stairs to a newly expanded planting area.

Soon after, we greeted our new summer rooftop residents: bees! Kristen Reynolds (a New School professor) and EcoStation apprentice D Rooney maintained two actives hives at Farm-in-the-Sky that had a combined population of over 10,000! The bees helped pollinate our crops there and were a favorite stop on the frequent tours.

Before the season was in full swing, we contacted Cool Roofs NYC, and set about painting Brooklyn Fire Proof East's 20,000 square foot rooftop white to improve the building's energy efficiency.


More Farm-in-the-Sky details and photos on our "FITS" Page and on the Farm-in-the-Sky Blog, maintained by apprentices and volunteers. You can also follow Farm-in-the-Sky on



A free online community resource, our Map of Community Gardens of Bushwick connects the neighborhood to our precious green spaces.

In conjunction with New York City Community Garden Coalition's Occupy the Land "Unconference," EcoStation organized a Gardens of Bushwick Open House on June 3, producing an online map and networking resource for Bushwick gardeners.

28 students joined us on a trip to Governors Island to visit our friends at Earth Matter, who operate a large composting demonstration site there. EcoStation volunteers loaded up a truck with twenty cubic yards of beautiful compost to nourish the soils back at Bushwick Campus Farm.


Bushwick Farmers' Market reopened for the season in June, and continues to grow. What started four years ago as one weekly market with just one farmer has grown to three locations and two "satellite" farm stands a week, all connecting a community in need with fresh produce from local, family-owned farms.

Join Bushwick Farmers' Market's 1000+ Friends on Facebook!

"In Bushwick, Brooklyn, a community with high levels of poverty and limited food options,
EcoStation:NY has begun to change how this community of New Yorkers buys, eats, and identifies with food. The Bushwick Campus Farm involves children in school gardens and cooking classes, helping them understand how food gets from the farm to the dinner table. The families of the students working in the gardens come out to the retail farmers market to buy locally grown produce and gain a deeper understanding of what their children are learning. Lastly, a rooftop farm supplies local restaurants with herbs and vegetables."

The Indypendent

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Dept of Health's Stellar Farmers Markets team returned, entertaining and educating crowds at our larger markets with their popular live cooking and nutrition demonstrations. Youth Community Chefs, trained by Just Food, joined them this season, providing similar open-air workshops at our satellite locations.

This year EcoStation had the good fortune to secure USDA funding to hire an assistant manager to oversee our satellite markets, and an outreach manager, Nick Petrie, who did an excellent job organizing volunteers and making connections at community centers, houses of worship, WIC centers, and senior centers across Bushwick.

Our summer student employment program with Green Guerillas began in July. Confirming that student interest in our programs at Bushwick Campus is growing, 180 students applied for ten available Youth Tillers positions, funded by Green Guerillas and the Campus' four schools. These students worked alongside EcoStation staff and apprentices at both the farm and our markets, with weekly field trips to other local community gardens and/or Farm-in-the-Sky.

Before beginning the job, the ten selected students joined other youth from El Puente's Bushwick Leadership Center and Make the Road's Youth Power program for an intense, one-day Food and Social Justice Workshop. Developed by EcoStation and several young, progressive youth leaders, the workshop sought to bring meaning to the work they would be doing by putting it into a greater context. It was a big hit with the students, and led to weekly sessions with Make the Road's Youth Power crew.

Many are unaware that New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) runs a summer camp program. In July, EcoStation was proud to sponsor Bushwick Campus student Alicia Duwhite, who spent a week at Camp Pack Forest in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains learning about ecology and having a great time! We hope to be able to send many more kids in the future, and thank DEC's Camps Diversity program for this opportunity.

In August, EcoStation returned to its birthplace, Woodbine Street Block Association Garden, to host two pickle-making workshops during the annual block party, one for youngsters about the pleasure of making your own "quickles" (no-cook, quick pickles), and one for teens and adults on canning pickles.

Our summer youth crew joined forces with New York Restoration Project's Million Trees campaign and Open Space Alliance for an "Adopt-A-Tree" event in Williamsburg at Southside United HDFC (Los Sures) organized by the staff of EcoStation supporter Council Member Diana Reyna, where they put their newly-acquired demonstration and transplanting skills to work.



September saw the third and final installation of our Raise the Roof! events at Brooklyn Fire Proof for the year. This series of multi-tiered events celebrating local food, art, and agriculture, brought together a lively and diverse crowd. Early evening workshops and tours of Farm-in-the-Sky were followed by farm-inspired café specials, art shows, and live music downstairs at Brooklyn Fire Proof East Café.

EcoStation owes a huge debt of gratitude to the musicians and artists who donated their time, energy and creativity to the Raise the Roof! events, and to Thomas Burr Dodd and the crew at Brooklyn Fire Proof East, the host site of Farm-in-the-Sky and the Raise the Roof! events.

When classes resumed over at Bushwick Campus, we teamed up with teachers from  Academy for Environmental Leadership to integrate the offerings at the farm and greenhouse into two credited courses, one of which will ran the entire school year and involved a service learning project sponsored by Sedexo.

Three "Raise the Roof!" parties featured sunset rooftop tours, beekeeping and other interering workshops, and great local artists and musicians.

In October, EcoStation was all set to host our biggest outdoor community event of the year, ¡CALABAZAFEST!, a colorful mash-up of Day of the Dead, Halloween, and harvest fair traditions, when what was then called Hurricane Sandy started to head northeast and all Parks events were cancelled. Our followers might recall that in 2011, ¡CALABAZAFEST! was forced indoors due to a freak October blizzard that kept all but the hardiest locals at home. We are hoping this pattern subsides!

October also brought some exciting new opportunities, as EcoStation was approached by Make the Road New York (founders of Bushwick Campus' first school, Bushwick School for Social Justice) to work together to expand their food justice and youth programs. We are now working closely with their members to renovate and revitalize Grove Park, their Myrtle Avenue community garden.

After Superstorm Sandy passed, we scrambled to reschedule and pull together the event participants and performers, staging a special "I Survived Hurricane Sandy!" edition of ¡CALABAZAFEST! on Sunday, November 4th. Fantastic performances by local musicians rang out across Maria Hernandez Park, a triumphant cry of life after the passing of a storm that we were just beginning to learn the true toll of.

While Bushwick had been spared major damage, other areas of Brooklyn and beyond obviously were not, and our hearts went out to the victims. At the restaged ¡CALABAZAFEST!, the response to our request for donations was tremendous: we collected several hundred pounds of food and supplies from the area community for the inspiring relief efforts.  

EcoStation thanks ¡CALABAZAFEST! sponsor, Citizens Committee for New York City, and community partners El Puente, whose Bushwick Leadership Center crew returned with "sugar skull" mask making; Arts in Bushwick for leading the always popular and delightfully messy pumpkin carving tables, and our fabulous performers: Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Sabor and The Afro-Latineers, and Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino, whose special guest, 9-year-old Ximena Roca, stole the show!


December was a time for reflection and celebration, and EcoStation's humble headquarters on Palmetto Street played host to dinner parties honoring our amazing Community Apprentices and stalwart market volunteers, all of whom make our work possible.

Our final public event of the season was our annual Winter Solstice Feast, this year held in a sprawling factory loft. Once again the Feast was an evening of great food, great music, and great company. Seven local restaurants donated delectable dishes, and the Bushwick Farmers' Market family, no strangers to the kitchen themselves, also cooked up a storm.


Mariachi Flor de Toloache cast a musical spell over ¡CLABAZAFEST! for the third year in a row. They are an inspiration for young women.

Bushwick Farmers' Market Green Machine, debuting in 2013. Unique sponsorship opportunities available,
contact us for details.

During the Winter and Springof 2013, EcoStation is focusing on our Green Machine Project. Awarded a highly-competitive USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant, our Bushwick Farmers' Market Green Machine project will take a late-model diesel step van (a decommissioned FedEx truck) and convert it to run on waste vegetable oil. Solar panels will augment a refrigerated section for produce storage; the remainder of the space will permanently house tents, tables, scales, and other market necessities.

Big plans are afoot at Bushwick Campus Farm as well: grants from Youth Service America, Sodexo, Columbia Teachers College, and the EPA will allow us to increase teacher support, build 500 square feet of sub-irrigated planters (SIPs), install a vertical gardening system, and construct a large rainwater harvesting system connected to the school's roof.

Additionally, EcoStation was one of only two partners citywide chosen by Karp Resources and American Dairy Council to develop and pilot their "Healthy Bodega" Initiative with our after-school team at Bushwick Campus.

If that weren't enough, the Farm will also be hosting and leading a basic carpentry workshop series through a local community college to empower women, especially, to build personal confidence and learn useful skills.

The EcoStation crew will be out in full force this spring! Catch us at:

Brooklyn Botanic Garden/GreenBridge Making Brooklyn Bloom
Saturday, March 9
(as part of a school farms panel discussion)

Just Food Conference
March 28 & 29

29th Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether
Saturday, March 23

Our budding partnership with Make the Road New York, whose work on civil rights to date has been nothing short of inspirational, is a source of pride. Together we secured youth program funding that will enable several exciting projects: peer-to-peer trainings, skill sharing workshops, a weekly farmers' market, and a new community garden that will supply their weekly food pantry.

We enter 2013 with optimism, but also with confessed trepidation. Still a very young organization, we are doing our best to navigate the choppy and unpredictable waters of nonprofit stewardship. Our accomplishments speak for themselves, but finding the support to sustain our efforts continues to be a struggle. If there are any angels out there reading this, please make yourselves known!


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For more information email [email protected] or call 646-393-9305

EcoStation: NY, Inc. • 130 Palmetto St, Suite 350 • Brooklyn, NY 11221