- [Voiceover] Major funding for this program was provided by.
(relaxing music) - The benefits of urban agriculture are countless.
Connecting with soil improves economic, social and physical wellbeing.
But within an urban environment, finding moments to connect with the earth can be hard to come by.
In Philadelphia, local land advocates are creating learning environments that help preserve cultural traditions and protect our natural environment.
Three dedicated leaders are bringing renewed attention to the importance of urban agriculture.
(relaxing music continues) Christa Barfield known to Philadelphians as "Farmer Jawn," left behind a career in healthcare to create an urban farming community.
(beans rustling) She started her journey in a farming by growing herbs for tea and now runs several programs under the "Farmer Jawn Agriculture Organization."
- What y'all working on weeding?
- [Member] Yes.
- These programs reintroduce black and brown Philadelphians to organic farming practices and to the joys of growing your own food.
- Yeah, that's a turnip.
- [Member] How do you eat it?
- Roasted it, some of the best things you'll ever had me life.
(bright music) January 2nd, 2018 is the day that I resign for my job.
On the 22nd I was off to Martinique on a plane.
Five days later came back to Philadelphia with a general plan that I knew I was gonna be a farmer.
while and Martinique, my second Airbnb host were black farmers and they take me to their place where they are putting together boxes of all the fruits and vegetables that was picked that day, and they allowed me to help.
And the reward of that for me was seeing their members come and pick up these boxes.
(bright music continues) So when I got home and I'm like, "what are your next steps, Christa?
"The world is your oyster.
"You are invigorated now by agriculture "and you don't have a job."
(water flowing) And I say, "I want to grow herbs, then turn them into tea."
And then I want to grow food and I wanna have people come to me to come pick up their food, just like I saw in Martinique.
So I literally took those two experiences and came back to Philadelphia and created two companies, two brands that embodied my experience.
(bright music continues) Yeah, it's really surreal.
Like four years ago I was only in 24 square feet greenhouse starting my growing journey, teaching myself how to farm and how to keep things alive, after, you know, never touching soil day in my life.
So it's really cool to now be sitting on a 42 acre property of which we have five acres of and still expanding, and still making sure that we can get our mission of growing organic food as close to the city as possible.
(relaxing music) (water flowing) - Because we have access to these five acres that are right outside the city of Philadelphia.
There's enormous amount of activities and events and programming that we can have here at the farm.
We're really just getting started here.
There's a lot of buzz around Farmer Jawn right now and we're looking to continue to generate that type of interest, because it's really about what we can make happen.
Christa, her great tagline is "agriculture is the culture," and so we're looking for various different connection points to get people here.
(mower engine revving) - This is the original one acre of land that we've expanded on with the help of "Powercorps," an amazing organization based in Philadelphia that's doing such great work.
Specifically the trust program.
They are people who are rehabilitating their lives and are doing so learning a skill and a trade of farming and that means so much to be able to share this with them.
(hands clapping) Yeah, like so that leaf behind you, that's arugula.
Try it, take a piece of that and eat it.
- Oh yeah, that's the stuff in the salad.
- Yeah and it is good on top of a pizza.
Especially because they look just like me and I get to be representation for them, that success is possible, even when you're putting your hands in soil.
Something that black people are very traumatized by and we don't even know it, we don't even talk about it but it's important to.
So I just love that they enjoy coming out here every week to be of assistance to us and really like help us get this thing off the ground.
(birds chirping) (sprinkler clicking) - Whoo!
(laughs) At first I was kind of nervous 'cause, you know, I'm not outside kid, I don't have friends much.
I stay in the house with my mother a lot.
I started coming outside more, me and my friends from here.
We started going around to neighborhoods and started helping communities plant, like strawberries, onion, stuff like that.
(both laughing) - I love planting.
It's like taking care of a kid, roughly, because You'll see like it grow up to like its full potential.
I started like in the beginning of April so doing this since then, yeah, it taught me a lot.
I really enjoy it every day.
(all laughing) (birds chirping) (relaxing music) - We have about eight people right now with us who are just starting off to be our "Agropreneur Cohort," is what we call it.
And they're taking the time every day coming to the farm to learn how to plant seed, how to use their time effectively, make the connections with different resources that we have to offer.
- Our goal here is to build a beautiful herb garden to supply some of the other cohort members with fresh herbs for their agro-businesses.
We're all budding farmers but we're also business owners and so I have a juice business, amongst other things, called "Modest Manna," and I want to source from grade A farmers to supply my juices with fresh produce.
I also am learning sustainable practices with materials for things like head wrap that I'm wearing now that is also a part of my business.
- All right, so we're gonna talk about personnel, food safety and I just wanna make sure you're giving the best to your community.
If someone gets sick after eating our produce, that not only affects your farm but affects everyone.
- They're also working with Christa one-on-one for three hours at a time to develop their business plans.
We really think of this as like an incubator for jump starting black and brown businesses, but also everybody's businesses as well so that, you know people have access to learn how to grow their own food and also supply their communities with fresh healthy food as well.
(birds chirping) (relaxing music continues) - Knowing where your actual food comes from, the person who grew it and raised it is key.
So if you want to grow your own food, that's great, but that at the very least you can know who your farmer is.
And that's me in this really lush community of urban farmers that are developing an uprising in Philadelphia right now.
(birds chirping) (sprinkler clicking) (indistinct chatter) (lockers squeaking) - Okay, bye.
- [Gregory] When you come in, the first thing that you should do is put on your boots, have your gloves put on your vest.
- [Anne] Gregory C. Smith is the kind of teacher every student would love to have.
- [Gregory] Do you think you're a large or a small, medium?
- His upbeat energy and love for the natural environment motivates students to explore the acres of farmland that surround their school.
Students at this incredibly unique high school receive invaluable hands-on experience learning sustainable agricultural practices.
(indistinct chatter) (birds chirping) - WB Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences is a public school in Philadelphia that's very unique because it takes place on a farm.
I believe it was established in 1943 and it is a place where students have a opportunity to do hands-on learning using farming applications, whether it's in Animal Science, (sheep baaing) Food Science, Horticulture or Natural Recourse Management, which I teach.
As we move forward, we wanna maximize our time on the field not maximize our time in here.
Wednesdays will be the CSA, Thursdays we'll be composting recycling, Fridays we'll be going to Friends of the Wissahickon.
For today, we are gonna start our composting.
We're gonna head across the street.
All right, so let's all rise.
(indistinct chatter) (chairs scrapping) I teach Natural Recourse Management which is the management of our natural resources on this planet, whether it's air, land or sea-based.
Primarily my students and I are working on a project called, "Straight Outta Compost," where we compost all of our food waste in the cafeteria.
Our students collect our food waste, which includes the trays and any discarded food that isn't meat or dairy based.
(paper crinkling) - This is composting where we rip up the plates, we separate it all.
- Do our best not to cross-contaminate anything.
- And these plate are biodegradable.
(trash bag crinkling) - [Gregory] Right outside the classroom we have a garbage bin where we accumulate it.
- Hm, whoo.
- Smells good, right?
- And once a week we walk it over to our compost pile.
(indistinct chatter) Our campus is on two separate sides of Henry Avenue.
So our kids are required to walk from our campus side to our farm side to deliver the compost.
You know that we're gonna be coming out here so if you have certain fashion choices that you don't want to get ruined, don't worry 'em on this day.
- Keep going?
- Keep going.
- [Student] Oh my god, man.
- [Gregory] The beginning of our compost pile starts here.
- [Student] Can you gimme a bag, Mr. Smith?
'Cause somebody didn't- - Who composts (indistinct)?
- Again, the less you bring here the less time you need to spend here.
If you sorted it out thoroughly in the lunchroom you don't have to pull the plastic out here.
Plastic does not decompose.
What I've noticed with my students they come here with an expectation.
They come here with what they think and then they quickly realize like, "oh wow, we're doing dirty work."
One of the things I like to tell them is that it's only dirty when you don't want it, otherwise it's soil.
So we learn about soil.
See, I'm not delicate like you all.
I don't feel like I'm gonna die by touching this.
That soil is a living organism.
That soil has properties that help sustain life.
So a lot of times it's taking what is known and reconfiguring it to what it actually is.
If you have a window, you can grow something in your window to produce food.
So you can do small scale composting.
These are skills that you can do at any location and in an urban environment it has huge value.
(bugs chirping) - I'm really interested in art and also I like music and even filming, and Mr. Smith this year, he's letting us kind of grasp what we wanna do for our senior project.
Like whatever you're interested in, you can interact that and also the Natural Recourse Management aspect of it.
So I think that's really cool 'cause we get to express ourselves with our senior projects.
I'm gonna make two videos.
I'm going to make a new introductional video on what it is we do and why we do it.
- I think everybody should plant more.
- Is just the processes we go through throughout the year of just composting.
What's changed from the beginning of the year to the middle of the year to the end of the year, in the way we do things and as we learn together.
- I often hear from students that their parents don't recycle and then I say to them, "spread that information of how to compost, how to recycle, "how to become a more sustainable person."
You are now steward so what you learn is valuable information to everybody.
- Okay, well welcome back.
It's exciting to have you back here.
We are going to be planting again today like we did in the spring only now we have fall crops.
If everyone could follow me over here please.
- When we work at "Henry Got Crop," which is a CSA located at Saul, we have an opportunity to work with the Food Moxie.
Ainhoa, who is our point person assists us with our planting by providing us with essentials tools and supplies so that my class is able to plant and harvest the material that we grow in the compost that we have created.
One of the benefits of coming to Saul is that there's an opportunity to do things that are outside of the norm.
- [Teacher] Beautiful job.
- We have a opportunity to expose them to information that they wouldn't necessarily get if they were in a more rural environment where these activities are more commonplace.
(tractor rumbling) - The goal for the freshman is to sort your pen by male and female lambs.
- When the sheep, man, I got really scared.
'Cause this is my first lesson so far.
First time I did it, it was rough.
I learned how to hold a sheep, I learned how to walk the sheep.
I learned that one of the sheeps are blind in the right eye so if we go on the right side, then they're not gonna be able to see us.
So they get frightened and scared and run away.
(sheep baaing) (sheep baaing) - [Gregory] One are the things I love about working at Saul is that we can work with partners and one of our greatest and strongest partners is with the Friends of the Wissahickon, which is located right next to our campus.
- Yeah, you break up dirt with 'em.
- So if soil's really compact you can use this to help break it up.
- Friends of the Wissahickon is responsible for forestry stewardship and my students have the honor of being volunteers with them.
- When we're pruning trees, we wanna look for dead, damage and diseased branches and we wanna have good pruning techniques, which we'll go over later on in the semester.
- [Gregory] We're currently learning how to identify and use all the tools safely so that in the future we can do things like trail restoration, erosion control and invasive species removals.
- [Teacher] Any questions?
- The wonderful thing about teaching Natural Recourse Management is that my classroom is actually the outdoors.
So when weather permits, I make sure that my students are out experiencing the natural elements so they fully understand the application of agriculture and Natural Recourse Management, From a hands-on perspective, not just theory.
(indistinct chatter) (machines beeping) - Since the late 1800s, Overbrook School For Blind has been a leader in teaching children with visual impairment and blindness by providing them with lifelong skills.
I visit this historic campus to learn about the ways in which the school's green spaces create opportunities for the students to learn by growing.
Nice to see you.
- Nice to see you as well.
(relaxing music) Would you like to take a tour of our school?
in this building to the left, we have our high school classrooms, a couple middle school classrooms and school-to-work program.
- How many students do you serve here?
- We have approximately 185 students on campus and then we serve an additional 200 in the community.
- Who do you serve outside of the campus in this community?
- Children with visual impairment, blindness and other complex disabilities.
From birth to 21, through a variety of services.
To the right is The Kappen Aquatic Center.
It's our pool.
We use it both from a therapeutic standpoint, as well as recreational and we have a competitive swim team as well.
- [Anne] These swings, I haven't seen at least two of these before.
- Yeah, so there's a variety of equipment on there so that our children that are in wheelchairs or have mobility challenges can access the playground and experience the outdoors.
(relaxing music continues) To the left we have some of our school-to-work programs, as well as middle school and high school.
- I just can't get over how expansive and beautiful this entire campus is.
And now we're in the orchards but can you tell me a little bit more about the garden?
- Yeah, the orchard is a wonderful opportunity for us to have our students have some work experience.
We have a number of fig trees, we have apple, peach, plum pear trees along the perimeter of the walking path.
As an individual with a visual impairment or blindness it's very important that you learn how to navigate the world around you without the component of visual.
We work with all of our students so that they can put a foundation of orientation skills that will set them up to be successful, being mobile within their community.
The campus being so large, there's ample opportunity to practice those skills.
- The orientation is a critical part of growing into a relationship with a guide animal, is that right?
In order to get to a point where you can be a handler of a guide dog you have to master orientation mobility.
(bright music) - [Jackie] We actually were founded in 1832 by Julius Friedlander.
He began teaching two students out of his home downtown.
Then the school moved to 20th and Ray Street and they were there for quite a while.
(bright music continues) And then in 1899 this building opened for us.
- There have been a lot of state of the art updates.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how that's been integrated into the design of the school?
- As you can see when you look at the campus there are lots of stairs and when it was built, obviously people were thinking of blindness and not about serving children with multiple disabilities or children with ambulatory needs.
Throughout the years, the school has done a lot to make the buildings accessible while maintaining its beauty.
We were a leading school for the blind in assistive technology and really focusing on integrating technology throughout all of the classrooms.
And as we build new facilities, not only are we building them to meet the needs of the students, we're looking at things like energy efficiency, lead certification, so that we are environmentally friendly as well.
We look at features that blend into the environment so it doesn't look like it stands out, to make accommodations for low vision users, to indicate where steps are, tactile modifications as well.
And you'll see that in the horticulture center when you go in everything is accessible, from the front door to the classroom facility to the greenhouse itself.
So our students have complete access to it.
Our horticulture therapist who is here, Rich, was an incredible addition to the school.
- So what do we know, do carrots girl above ground or below ground?
- Below ground!
- Below ground.
- Not only for horticulture but for his support of students throughout the campus.
- Here you go, Rory, you wanna put one on the other hand?
Our students today are gonna get their hands dirty by digging in and pulling out carrots.
We planted these carrots around Earth Day and they're ready to pick.
Okay, you're gonna reach down, take a hold and you're gonna have to pull a little bit.
I don't know if they're gonna be long and straight or if they're gonna be all wonky, but it'll be a fun activity for the kids to do.
Look at that!
- [Kid] Oh my god!
- [Rich] We got one!
(all wooing) - [Pamela] He works with students just to do sensory integration needs.
- [Rich] If you smell 'em, they smell so good.
- [Pamela] It might be the textures of the plants, the smell of the flowers.
- [Kid] There's so many.
- [Teacher] Yeah.
- Look at this one.
It kind of looks like a person.
- [Teacher] Oh wow.
- [Teacher] He has legs.
- Look, he's got legs!
- To fruits and vegetables and tasting and getting to learn about that.
To actually learning how to care for plants.
Manage the grounds.
- [Rich] Okay ladies, we're gonna come over here to the corner and we're gonna pick some basil to bring inside to work on next.
- To work experience so that students could go on and look for a career in working with plants as well, whether it's in a greenhouse or working as a cashier, food banks.
'Cause the students deliver food to the food bank as well.
- That's so beautiful.
- It is.
Just a fantastic program for the students.
(bright music continues) - Okay, put your cane in the cane box and everybody's gonna wash their hands.
Okay and you're gonna go sit in this chair over here.
Aurora, come on over to that chair right there.
Watch what Mr. Rich is doing.
Taking all the leaves off.
And we're going to process that basil by stripping the leaves off the stems.
- No steams.
- All done.
And then we are gonna take some basil that's already dried and we're gonna crush it up to put into seasoning containers or seasoning packets.
You're gonna reach in and just crush 'em and break 'em up.
- Sometimes like any kids, they wanna get out of their classroom and do something new and the horticulture center provides a different experience for them.
There smells, there's different textures, there's different sounds in there.
- Now if you roll 'em in your hands you'll break 'em into really fine pieces.
Okay, well done.
You guys did a really good job today.
- I'll come again.
- You'll come again?
I would really like that.
- [Student] Okay.
- All right.
Grab your canes, go on Savannah.
- Okay, bye!
- bye-Bye, friends!
(wagon rumbling) This original location started out as a classroom garden that just expanded and expanded over the years.
This was built by our maintenance staff as well as different members of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society.
It's a great educational space and teaching space.
As well as it produces a large amount of the produce that we grow on campus and we donate to various organizations.
Today we're gonna see Miss Gabby's class.
They're our early childhood class, about ages three to four and we're gonna be picking tomatoes.
Have any of you ever picked tomatoes before?
- [Student] No.
- No, this is your first time?
We're gonna leave the green ones and we're gonna pick the orange and the red ones.
It's a fun activity for them to do.
It also gets them moving around, gets 'em out of the classroom for a little bit and they get to see stuff that we grow on campus.
The reason why we have U-shaped beds is because the wheelchairs can get in and then the level and the height, they don't have to bend down, they don't have to get out of their chairs to experience the garden.
Okay, you can put that in.
- When we approach our academics we always are trying to make connections between how students will use them functionally in the real world.
We have a lot of good opportunities here to teach these skills in the classroom but also use them in other places.
So for math, we can use some of those skills like weighing, talking about numbers, using fractions.
- [Student] Oh, what is this?
- [Rich] Some produce.
These are things that we've grown on campus and we're gonna weigh it and find out how much we grew.
Come into the greenhouse is kind of their escape away from being in the classroom.
But the trick is we still work on all the same goals that they work on in the classroom.
We just work on them here in the greenhouse.
I always kind of joke that we trick them into doing therapy.
They don't realize that they're doing therapy in here because they're having fun.
They start to loosen up.
They crack jokes.
- [Student] I do not like carrots and there's no exception.
- No exceptions?
- Not even carrot cake.
- Not even carrot cake?
- That's the same (indistinct) with strawberries.
- I love strawberries.
- That's all part of the therapy process, being comfortable.
So does anyone wanna take a guess how many pounds of carrots we had today?
- Ooh, way higher.
It's an exact number.
- 10 pounds!
We got a winner.
(students cheering) 10 pounds On the nose.
A lot of our students love to create so in any way, shape or form, whether it's art class or in the horticulture center, they love to create and for students that have visual impairments it isn't always just what it looks like.
It could be the smells, the textures and all of that.
Your flower is like a purple and white.
- Yep, and then the middle of it is very yellow.
- Wait, what color are the others?
- You have a lot of beautiful different colors in there.
We try to tie that in when we do our flower arrangements and not just have things that are visually appealing but to also have things that smell good or feel good to touch.
- I love that feel.
- [Rich] Oh yeah, that's a Red Zinia.
- My job as an occupational therapist is to help increase the student's independence.
Whether that's in the classroom or in a vocational setting, like cutting flowers or planting seeds or making flower arrangements.
- [Rich] Man, that looks really good, Alonzo.
- [Therapist] Then it gives them a sense of accomplishment 'cause they actually see a product in front of them.
- [Rich] I appreciate your help.
We probably weighed about 20 some pounds of produce and we all got to make a flower arrangement.
- [Student] Yep.
- [Rich] There you go, teamwork!
(relaxing music) - [Therapist] They already have challenges every day that they have to face, so to provide them with an environment where they can be successful and they feel like they're participating.
I think it really just lifts everyone's spirits.
- [Rich] You heading home now?
Is this the end of the day?
- It's our responsibility to be accessible to everybody and to care for the environment and to teach our students that.
It's a mindset, and then you just do what you need to do to make it work.
- [Rich] Help yourself.
Anybody want some pigs, eggplant, hot peppers, tomatoes, galore!
- [Jackie] We just have a strong commitment school-wide to do what's right 'cause that's what we believe in.
- [Rich] Don't be shy either, take as much as you want.
Go for it.
(relaxing music continues) These are a golden fig, a purple fig.
And then these are like green on the outside and pink in the middle.
Try 'em all.
The figs only last like a day or two though.
If you're gonna grab those, just eat 'em quick.
- [Student] Thank you, Rich!
- [Rich] You're all good.
Good to see you.
- [Voiceover] Major funding for this program was provided by.