Learning About Food Justice at an Urban Farm



October 2, 2019 | Academics, Experiential Learning

First-year students of House 1 are working with the Smiling Hogshead Ranch, an urban farm in Long Island City, as part of their City Seminar course’s theme of food justice. The students are learning about how the farm got its start, how it became a non-profit and organized itself, and about the different farming styles and plants represented there.

The Guttman cohort will visit the farm three times this semester, supported by a Student Success Award procured by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Kristina Baines – the House 1 Leader and City Seminar Critical Issue professor. During their first visit, the students found out about the history and development of urban community farming through conversation and observation. During their next visit on Community Days, they will help harvest crops. The final visit will focus on discussing the bureaucratic elements of identifying land available for farming. The group will also help to close up the farm for the winter.

The students will be able to apply what they learn at the farm to their study of food access in their own communities. The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis, the required reading for the City Seminar course, will guide them in creating ties from the experience to their everyday lives. The coursework will culminate in two creative assignments: an ePortfolio in the style of a food blog and a video essay answering the question “what does food justice look like in my community?”

Group of students at an urban farm surrounded by greenery with a city landscape in the background
Student holding a leaf with a caterpillar
3 male students holding corn husks at an urban farm with a city landscape in the background