Last winter and into the spring, as we welcomed increasing numbers of students back into the building after a long year of screens, I reflected on one of the twelve principles of permaculture.
Near North's urban farm is a cornerstone of our outdoor curriculum. The 3,500 square foot rooftop farm, plus indoor grow labs and animal habitats, gives students hands-on learning opportunities producing fruits, vegetables, raising livestock, and stewarding the land.
The urban farm is both a teaching site and a year-round working farm that supplies the Sandwich Shoppe with eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables. Through lessons designed around the food cycle and sustainable farming, students of all ages learn how to grow produce and interact with botany in a hands-on way. The farm teaches students how to be stewards of the earth and responsible participants in urban ecology. Farming lessons coincide with classroom instruction involving science, natural resources, economics, and nutrition, as well as social skills involving teamwork and cooperation.