Testimonials - Cynthia Mellon

 Testimonial - Cynthia Mellon, Farm School NYC Student

I live and work in Newark, New Jersey in a very environmentally polluted neighborhood. I work for a local community organization, organizing and educating with community members to confront both the legacy pollution and the current polluting industry practices that affect our health and wellbeing. In 2009, community members asked me to help them learn to garden, leading to the founding of the first community garden in Newark's East Ward.

In 2012, I was accepted into the Certificate Program of Farm School NYC. I have found the experience of being a Farm School student to be wholly positive. Although I have been engaged in some form of gardening for most of my life, the practical and theoretical knowledge I have gained at Farm School has made me into a really committed food producer and garden teacher. The courses have been a great opportunity to consolidate practical knowledge, get in contact with the latest thinking on land use, and meet experienced urban farmers that are changing the way we view food production, marketing, and distribution in urban areas.

Farm School's social justice philosophy is appropriate for supporting organizing around food sovereignty and environmental justice in low-income communities of color like ours. When my community decided to start raising chickens, Farm School was there for us, providing expert guidance that helped us become successful in this new area. We have since gone on to found two more gardens, which have become neighborhood focal points of learning and fellowship for people of all ages. I am grateful to Farm School for providing me with sound training, practical support, enhanced teaching skills, and a great social network from which to further develop this work. Long Live Farm School!!