Say NO to budget cuts at the urban farm!

Claudia Schrader, President, Kingsborough Community College; Eduardo Rios, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kingsborough Community College; Simone Rodriguez, Vice President of Workforce Development, Kingsborough Community College.

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The Kingsborough Community College urban farm has served as a place of refuge and community for Black and Indigenous students, as well as queer and trans students, on campus. Budget cuts would bring the farm to a halt -- meaning that the organic veggies, flowers, and herbs they grow for communities experiencing food apartheid will no longer be produced. The farm has nourished the KCC community not only by providing free, organic, real food; the farm staff has also educated and inspired many young people. Sign this petition to support our campaign demanding that the KCC upper admin say NO to cutting the farm's budget and instead support the important food justice work being done on site.


Petition by
Save KCC Urban Farm
Brooklyn, New York

To: Claudia Schrader, President, Kingsborough Community College; Eduardo Rios, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kingsborough Community College; Simone Rodriguez, Vice President of Workforce Development, Kingsborough Community College.
From: [Your Name]

We sign onto this petition as members of the CUNY and Brooklyn communities, to declare our strong and unyielding support for the KCC Urban Farm. We have been incredibly inspired by the work they do to nourish our communities—by growing organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers for us, by directly addressing the crisis of food insecurity faced by our communities, and also by educating and inspiring so many young people. At a moment when our communities have experienced so much death, so much suffering, and so much violence, we need the Farm to thrive more than we ever have before.

So we were deeply troubled to hear reports that the college administration is considering severe funding cuts to the Farm’s staff, and was in other ways failing to meet its responsibilities to support the important work being done there by staff and students. The resignation of Glenda Ullauri from the position of Farm Educator due to the college administration’s failure to properly support the Farm is particularly tragic and infuriating; they have been a valued colleague, guide, and mentor for so many of us.

We have heard assurances that no final cuts to the Farm’s budget have been made as of yet, but under the circumstances, this is not enough. Budgetary decisions are decisions about priorities. Kingsborough and CUNY therefore need to declare proactively that it will support the Farm with the resources necessary to sustain it. Kind words of support are not enough; we need action, and the Farm needs material, not verbal, support from Kingsborough.

We therefore demand that Kingsborough President Claudia Schrader, Vice President for Finance & Administration Eduardo Rios, and Vice President for Workforce Development, Continuing Education & Strategic Partnerships Simone Rodriguez publicly state their absolute commitment to secure the future of the KCC Urban Farm. We call upon the college administration to ensure the following steps are taken immediately:

1. Guarantee paid employment for KCC Urban Farm staff for the 2021 fiscal year, starting in July 2020 (3 Adjunct CLTs & 2 College Assistants).

2. Guarantee paid employment for 5 Student Aides and 2 work study students each semester, without the threat of their hours being cut at any moment.

3. Restore the Farm Educator position as a full-time salaried position. Include current farm staff and students in the selection and hiring process.

4. Ensure the safety of all farm crew members:
a. Provide sufficient PPE for ALL staff working at KCC Urban Farm
b. Designate a campus car or truck for farm use

5. Guarantee all resources needed to operate and maintain the farm site (e.g. clean water access for irrigation, tools, growing materials, etc.).

6. Prioritize the farm in Kingsborough’s 5 year strategic plan, ensure funding for the farm for the next 5 years.

7. Commit the institution to signing on to the Real Food Challenge and support the farm in establishing a Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) to create a Multi-year Action Plan (2021-2026) that will ensure all KCC students have access to real, affordable, nutritious food on campus.

We note that the above represents the MINIMUM support that the Farm needs to sustain its important work. In our view, it deserves much, much more than this from the Kingsborough administration. But for the moment, we submit these minimal demands on behalf of ourselves and the many other members of the CUNY and Brooklyn communities who have benefited from the Farm’s incredible work.

We will be watching to ensure that you do the right thing, so that our communities can continue to be nourished by the Farm for many years to come.