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Gardens NYC: Green Retreat

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A landscape designer's backyard oasis in Williamsburg.

In New York City, hidden among the cement and concrete, there lie pockets of plantlife, carefully nurtured by denizens of the city. In the SHFT series Gardens NYC, we give some shine to these gardens and the people who grow them. In this episode, we pay a visit to landscape designer Jamie Hardy's backyard oasis in Williamsburg, where peas, peonies, and tomatoes thrive in the Brooklyn air. ...read more

Brooklyn Informed: Peter's Secret Garden

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Home is where the health is.

Food doesn't get any more local than when you can plant, pick, cook, and eat it all within a space of about five feet. That's the exactly the situation that building manager Peter Malerba finds himself in. The longtime Brooklyn resident takes advantage of having open access to a vast rooftop by growing a variety of organic delights every summer. But like a good Brooklynite, Malerba......read more

Gardens NYC: Patrick's Place

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Urban gardening comes up from underground.

There's nothing new about urban gardening. The Romans grew food on rooftops. Schoolyards and vacant lots have hosted veggie plots for centuries. So today's city agriculture explosion is really just a reclamation of our heritage. And nowhere is it more prevalent than Brooklyn, where Patrick Nagel (no, not that Patrick Nagel) gets his green thumb dirty every day. Born and raised near Detroit,......read more

Gardens NYC: Creative Living

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Garden as canvas.

Ten years ago, when artist Greg Van de Hey felt the creative impulse, he'd make a painting. But now, with two young kids, there just isn't enough time to make art. That's where his garden comes in. Whether it's building a rain barrel, making a grapevine trellis, or making wine, the young dad can always find a garden project that satiates his creative drive. It all plays into......read more

Gardens NYC: Let It Grow

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On a Brooklyn rooftop, Justin Vernon joins the shift.

For Justin Vernon, there's more to gardening than growing plants. His rooftop garden, one of the many cropping up on the Brooklyn skyline, is part of a broader shift in environmental consciousness. The moment he started thinking of the planet as a living entity, Justin couldn't wait to get some seeds and get down to business. Now, with the Gaia philosophy informing his approach, Justin raises......read more

Gardens NYC: Melting Pot

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George Iliopoulos's garden thrives in Staten Island

Growing up on a farm in Greece, New York restauranteur George Iliopoulos learned a thing or two about growing food. At 12, he hopped on a ship and headed to America. He finally settled in Staten Island, where his garden now produces plenty of fresh veggies for his family's table. But it wasn't always easy; despite his understanding of farming, things didn't always grow like he thought they......read more

Young Farmers: Aileen

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Aileen, a talented cellist, locates the links between music and gardening

Is gardening an art form? Well, it's a form of creation, so it should be. The difference between growing food and, say, playing in a symphony, is that a gardener's collaborator is nature itself. In this episode of Young Farmers, we meet Aileen, a high school cellist who likens gardening to music. You work hard at both, and in both cases, something eventually clicks, and the next thing you know......read more

Young Farmers: Dwight

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At the campus garden, Dwight explains the art of composting

According to Dwight, a graduating college student and ex-baseball star, composting is just the same as making cookies. Follow the recipe, adding just the right amount of worms, food scraps and hay, then let the bacteria go to work, and the ingredients form themselves into a delicious compost. In this episode of Young Farmers, we follow Dwight to the campus garden, where he informs us how to make......read more

Young Farmers: Zoe

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After a chaotic day at school, Zoe's orderly veggie garden offers some welcome relief

The front yard garden at Zoe's place, while not exactly as fussy and meticulous as a French formal garden, is nevertheless an orderly place, one that provides a welcome respite from the hectic city outside. Zoe contrasts her steady, reliable botanical friends with her erratic, hormonal classmates at high school, who never seem to do what the teachers want. With plants, she says, all she has to do......read more

Young Farmers: Jeff

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A young greenie leads the food shift

Our man Jeff is an expert gardener who attributes his interest in growing his own food to his family, for whom eating healthy, organic and local has always been par for the course. In this episode, we roll with Jeff to his garden plot, where he treasure hunts for potatoes and weird Siamese twin cucumbers. Then we get a glimpse of his first-rate grilling skills, as he cooks up fresh veg from......read more

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