Q & A with Assistant Garden Educator Taliek Pinkney

Taliek and students in the garden (1)BY: PAMELA STERN

Spring Creek Sun (SCS): How long have you been involved with the SCRF Urban Classroom Garden?

Taliek Pinkney (TP): I began working in the garden in April of this year and became the Assistant Garden Educator in September.

SCS: How did you become interested in gardening/farming?

TP: My interest in science really developed when I was in fourth grade. My science teacher, Ms. Barricelli made science so interesting. Now, as the Assistant Garden Educator , I have the opportunity to work with the person who piqued my interest in science and her students In high school, I took Living Environment which sparked my attention even more. When I was 13, I was accepted in the East New York Farms project internship, where I was introduced to Urban Farming. In that program, I learned how to plant and maintain crops in the New York City growing season which produces various fruits and vegetables.

Jacqui with kids (1)SCS: What do you enjoy most about being the Assistant Garden Educator?

TP: I enjoy seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they come into the garden. They are so happy to be there and enjoy the hands-on training. I feel very important being involved in the education of our young children’s minds. The children ask me to pose for pictures with them, and like to give me a high five.

SCS: How often are you working with the students in the garden and in the Aquaponics Garden Classroom?

TP: At the moment, Jacqui Roytman, the Garden Educator and I meet with three fourth grade classes weekly in the outdoor garden. We will be conducting workshops in the lab by mid-November.

Taliek with students (1)

SCS: What do you feel that the kids enjoy about the garden?

TP: The children enjoy the garden because they get a chance to explore and get to have a hands-on experience, while getting an opportunity to also breathe in the nice fresh air. The children enjoy participating in the hands-on experience of shoveling, raking and even pulling out the weeds in the beds in the garden. They have opportunities to plant the vegetables, care for the vegetables, harvest the vegetables and then eventually they can taste the vegetables. This excites the children very much. The children learn to have an appreciation for the different types of vegetables, especially if they have never seen them or tasted them before. Anything new is always exciting! They feel like they have a sense of ownership over the garden because they have been able to help maintain the garden as best as they can. This is why they get a thrill out of being in the garden and savor the opportunity to have a garden education along with their regular school work.

Photos by: Jacqui Roytman