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Learning to Become Farmers

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    Ben Smith

Students at the Expeditionary School for Community Leaders in Bensonhurst are transforming a school parking lot into a garden that will grow vegetables and flowers.

“It’s nothing now, but we’re making it into something useful,” said Brian Ocasio, 18, of Brownsville. “We’re really going green.”

The garden will occupy a quarter-acre section of the Benson Ave. school’s parking lot that’s now fenced off and covered in construction debris. Every one of the school’s 230 students will have a hand in constructing the garden’s raised beds, and planting and harvesting crops such as peas, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs.

“They’re all getting involved,” said Sara Welch, a math and science teacher who’s managing the project. “Each class is relating to farming in one way or another.”

Geometry classes are designing plots. English classes are writing grant proposals. When the farm starts to yield crops in May, students will sell vegetables and fruit at a farmers’ market.

“There isn’t much fresh fruit in the neighborhood,” said Ocasio. “Maybe this will start to change things.”

Download the PDF of the article with Ben Chapman's photos here