Sunday, January 3, 2010

St. Augustine School Chicken Project

I'm DETERMINED to start this year on an optimistic note.

St. Augustine Elementary School in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, NYC, has started their own chicken coop behind the four-story brick school building. 15 hens lay large brown eggs across the street from the community garden where students grow beets, cucumbers, tomatoes and broccoli. It’s all part of a new sustainability program created by the faculty at St. Augustine. What makes St. Augustine’s experiment in urban agriculture stand out is that it’s taking place in an impoverished, highly urban area. The South Bronx, of course, was the poster child of urban blight in the late 20th century. Even today Morrisania, which is in the southwest part of the Bronx, lies in the poorest congressional district in the United States. The population is largely black and Hispanic. All of the school’s students receive free federal lunch; 87 percent live at or below the poverty level.

The chicken project was sponsored by Heifer International, which funds agricultural ventures in poor areas around the world, and Just Food, a New York City nonprofit whose City Farms program works with community gardeners to increase food grown in NYC, particularly in low-income areas where healthy food is scarce. Owen Taylor, the City Farms Training and Livestock Coordinator, came to the school and helped current and former students, staff and community members build a coop and pen out of timber and chicken wire in the Peace Garden behind the school.

“If we can do it,” says Michael Brady, the school’s director of development, referring to St. Augustine’s sustainability efforts, “anyone can.”

More about this story here.


Bikejuju said...

Cool. Seen this?

Little Rudy said...

Thanks : ]