Brooklyn Next-Gen Farmer Cohort 2019-2020

Square Roots | 11.05.19

Each year, a new cohort of farmers participates in the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program, taking a step along their journey to becoming leaders in urban farming. Here’s a glimpse into why they’re drawn to urban agriculture.

Square Roots Brooklyn Next-Gen Farmers

Brooklyn Next-Gen Farmers: Tyrone Robinson, Karthik Sundaram, Cecilia De La Fuente, Jerry Garcia, Jasmin Jimenez, Charlie Brandon, Martin Dearaway, Yarnelle Bauzil, and Allison Chan

Allison Chan

“I’m drawn to urban agriculture because I want to learn how to modernize traditional farming methods for the urban setting. Growing food locally promotes resilience amongst a community and puts a face to what’s showing up on their plates. Food is so prevalent in our lives, yet the gap between food and consumers has grown larger than ever. I want to reconnect people with their food by bringing a face to the story behind their food.”

Cecilia De La Fuente

“All the processes related to food are at the core of being human, not only at a biological level, but also at a social one. Our current system seems to disregard the importance of these processes at a great cost to the environment and our health. I believe it is imperative to research and develop solutions to alleviate some of the environmental strains brought on by industrial agriculture, to secure food sources for ever growing urban populations, and to revindicate the role of farmers in our culture as essential contributors to our society.”

Charlie Brandon

“I grew up with a deep love of nature, and a strong desire to care for the environment and for people. I choose to get a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production, and through those studies found that my greatest passions within agriculture were food security and food access. I was drawn to Square Roots due to their commitment to hyper-local farms. It is important, within our food system, to grow food closer to where its end destination is—for the sake of consumers receiving nutritionally dense food and for the sake of caring for the environment.”

Jerry Garcia

“Urban agriculture gives city dwellers a chance to connect with food in a space that they typically would not be able to. I believe that providing local food to those who live in cities is an essential part of inspiring future farmers to feel empowered in their backyards. The experience of being part of the process from seedlings to the moment you consume food grown in your backyard is unlike any other. With urban agriculture, we can bring this feeling to individuals in cities. So far, I’ve deepened my understanding of what it actually takes to grow hyper-local food. Whether it’s the technology involved throughout the whole process, or the specialized attention needed to ensure a successful yield, I’m starting to feel confident in my ability to manage a farm. One of the biggest takeaways for me is Integrated Pest Management and some of the practices used in order to combat pests.”

Yarnelle Bauzil

“Sustainability and access. In my experience, those are the barriers to preventing people (especially people of color) from getting into agriculture. Access to resources, access to land, and access to knowledge. I hope to someday make every facet more accessible and more long-lasting.”

Jasmin Jimenez

“I believe the rapid urbanization of the world’s population is going to require a revolution of the current food systems in the way of innovative urban agriculture. My goal as a Next-Gen Farmer is to play a role in shaping how the field of urban agriculture approaches food justice issues by bridging the gap between local communities and local farmers. I am passionate about providing information and access to real food to communities of color in urban spaces.”

Martin Dearaway

“I have always wanted a career that I felt in line with my personal ideas and business success. As populations increase we need to start thinking of new ways to provide real food to the public. I was drawn to urban agriculture because I want to increase the accessibility of real local food to these areas."

Karthik Sundaram

“Strong communities stem from accessibility and resources. Healthcare, education, and housing are key for branching out and growing, but food is the root of healthy communities. With growing concentrations in metropolitan areas, I’d love to focus on nourishing urban communities."

Tyrone Robinson

“What got me interested in urban agriculture is the idea of self-sustainability, as well as gaining unique knowledge and experience to bring back to my community and loved ones. I feel that urban agriculture is often overlooked in the city and not enough people are involved in it. I hope to be the change in society and my community, and to be able to spread my knowledge to those around me.”

Learn more about our Next-Gen Farmer Training Program.

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