Local lawmaker works with Flushing agriculture group to help spread urban farming

Members of the The Natural Agriculture Class were presented with citations last week for their efforts in spreading urban farming from state Assemblyman Ron Kim on the last day of the season.

Kim noted the importance of sustainability and a self-reliant production in the face of climate change Nov. 1 at the Flushing Evergreen Community Garden, located at 46-20 Colden St.

“This is something every New Yorker can get engaged in and really make our own good and be self-sustainable,” said Kim. “It’s important to get the message out there that these types of places exist, and there are classes for people to learn how to farm be a part of the urban farming ecosystem.”

The assemblyman plans on returning to Albany to advocate for more funding and resources to expand local urban farming in New York City.

“They’re growing their own goods and bringing it back home sharing with families, and that’s how it starts…this type of movement,” said Kim.

Ellen Young, founder and advisor of The Natural Agricultural Class, said their organic crops are chemical free.

“You can eat it just like this,” said Young. “All the greens — Akra, tomatoes, green onions, string beans, kale, and purple beans — everything from here you have the real taste.”

Every year from March to November, Young’s students — mostly seniors — plant and tend to their crops in Lot K-17/18 in the community garden. This year, Young had approximately 30 participants in her class.

“My purpose is to help the seniors get to learn and live with hope and joy… and to enjoy what they’ve been working on,” said Young, who is also the founder of the Golden Age Learning Center, which serves approximately 200 seniors.

Young encourages her students to continue practicing sustainable farming.

“We have the farming class, a field trip, and the making of Japanese miso soup every year,” said Young.

The group will return to the garden next spring to begin planting new crops.