Volunteering at Urban Farms




Does fighting back kudzu with a machete or planting kohlrabi plants in orderly rows sound like a good start to a Saturday? Then you might want to stop by Urban Farms, where a hearty group of volunteers is helping farm manager Mary Phillips get a running start on the spring growing season.

Located off Tillman in Binghamton, Urban Farms started last summer to provide its community with healthy food. Crops were hurt by heavy rain, but that didn’t dampen the commitment of volunteers, residents, or the Binghampton Development Corporation, which is spearheading the effort.


On Saturday, children from the neighborhood watered their kale and carrots, while volunteers worked their way through Phillips to-do list: remove irrigation hoses from the potatoes; sift worm castings; dump compost from extra bins headed for Webster school and Shelby Farms, till the empty hoop house, and clear a section of nearby woods for the future home of the farm’s goats, chickens, and bees.

“The bees are arriving April 23rd,” Phillips said, smiling. “I’m so excited about the bees.”

More volunteers are encouraged to help, and gardening know-how is not a requirement. For upcoming volunteer days, check Urban Farms’ Facebook page, where Phillips makes regular posts.

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