Farm School NYC Faculty Profiles
Farm School NYC Faculty
Our faculty are at the forefront of urban agriculture and are experts in a wide range of topics from social justice issues, to urban planting techniques, to grassroots community organizing. They run some of the most well-regarded urban farms and gardens in our region, and their approach to teaching is grounded in experiential learning and popular education. Read all about them, and check back for more profiles. Uli
Propagation/Growing Soils Instructor
Molly's farming career has taken her on a journey from the east to the west coast and back again. After a stint in urban agriculture in the South Bronx, she went to California and completed the farm apprenticeship program at UC Santa Cruz. "I wanted to learn how to drive a tractor and work on a field scale," she says. Later as an intern at Live Earth Farm, she tended to thousands of seedlings in the greenhouse, and, once put in charge of a couple of acres, tried soil management of a field scale. Read more. >
Chris Bolden Newsome
Crop Management Instructor
Chris Bolden Newsome, Farm School NYC’s Crop Management co-teacher, comes from a family with deep roots in farming. “Growing food goes back at least 400 years before me,” says Chris. “We always kept that connection alive.” With over a decade of farm experience, Chris carries on the family tradition as the Farm Manager at Bartram’s Community Farm and Food Resource Center in Philadelphia. Raised in a social justice household by adults who believed they should leave the earth better than they found it, Chris forged his own unique connection between social justice and food as a young adult. “I started to see that farming could be a tool for organizing,” he says. “I thought about all the ways I could help move people forward, particularly people of African descent - the folks I belong to.” Read more. >
Advanced Teaching Instructor
Our Advanced Teaching instructor and alumna Ai Hirashiki’s extensive agriculture experience began long before she started as a Farm School NYC student in 2011. Ai, pictured at far left, had already started and worked on numerous rural and urban farms by then. And, with close to 20 years of classroom experience in the U.S. and abroad, Ai was also a veteran teacher. At MercyCorps, an international NGO where she advanced from teacher to director of educational programs, Ai gained a global prespective on food justice issues. At Farm School, she gained an understanding of the local side. “Local is also global," she explains. “People all over the world are facing the same issues around growing clean food and having access to land.” Read more. >
Botany and New York City as an Ecosystem Instructor
Uli, who teaches Botany and NYC as an Ecosystem for Farm School NYC, has been a curator of native plants at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden since 2004, where he’s also taught courses like soil science and plant identification. As a horticulturist whose ruling passion is native flora, Uli imparts a unique perspective to his Farm School NYC students. “The urban agriculture folks are interested in growing food, but I want to foster an appreciation for all forms of life, even things that don’t directly benefit us,” he says. “These two schools of thought can be in opposition to each other, but there’s a lot of room to collaborate and learn.”
Although he was trained in the traditional teacher-centered classroom, he has purposely adapted his teaching style to Farm School’s philosophy of learning. “The student-centered approach was new to me,” he says. “At first I didn’t understand its merits, but now I’m learning just as much from my students as they’re learning from me, and I think that’s a really fantastic aspect of it.” Read more. >
Carpentry and Building Intro Instructor
Sandy Nurse is a social justice activist and community organizer based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She began learning carpentry and other relevant skills three years ago through a year of intensive training with the NY District Council of Carpenters and the Mason Tenders Training Fund. She later worked for a Passive House design-build firm in 2012-2013, which eventually became the first minority-owned construction collective in New York City.
The motivation to learn carpentry came from wanting to directly put into action the ideas she had in her head. She enjoys problem-solving through design and using reclaimed/free materials to create beautiful public spaces. She loves teaching carpentry to youth and especially female-presenting folks and supporting them in creating the things they are needing.
Sandy currently runs BK ROT, a youth composting jobs project, is part of opening of new social justice movement space called Mayday, and is part of a climate justice direct action crew.
Carpentry and Building Intro Instructor
Logan Webster Price began with working on homes as an apprentice carpenter in the Pacific northwest when he was a teenager, and then later on old wooden fishing boats in Southeast Alaska. His strength is his attention to detail, and he enjoys this about building: “The process of creating something out of wood is never perfect; there are always unexpected turns to the simplest project and the material usually has its own designs." Logan also moonlights as an environmental and social justice activist and has coordinated high profile actions for groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action network, and others.