Urban Hydro Farmers: The Story Of Boston Teens Growing Green

Urban Hydro Farmers from XiaoZhi Lim on Vimeo.

Established in 1987, College Bound is a program for high school students run by the Lynch School of Education in Boston College. This program is split into three tracks, Hydroponics, Urban Planning and Media, with about sixty students from Brighton High School, West Roxbury Academy and the Urban Science Academy in West Roxbury in total. Boston College brings the students for classes and hands-on activity, such as managing the greenhouse (Hydroponics), measuring air quality (Urban Planning) or documenting College Bound activities (Media), on campus every other Saturday.

Mike Barnett, an associate professor at the Lynch School of Education in Boston College, is actively involved in College Bound. Named the 2012 Massachusetts Professor of the Year, Barnett works to stimulate students’ interest in science and learning through engaging methods such as the College Bound program. The student leaders sell the hydroponically-grown vegetables at Brookline Farmers’ Market on Sundays, and Egleston Farmers’ Market in Jamaica Plain on Saturdays, beginning in June. The students in Hydroponics have appeared in an Edible Boston Spring 2013 feature article, while Barnett was profiled in the Boston Globe last November.

Lesly Bellamy, a senior at West Roxbury Academy.

Lesly Bellamy, 18, Senior at West Roxbury Academy

       -“I want to pursue photography no matter how hard it might be.”

An aspiring photographer, Bellamy has produced photos and video with Media in College Bound. Bellamy also developed a separate interest in cooking, especially using the leftover hydroponic vegetables that did not sell. “It feels good when you take your own time to make your own food,” said Bellamy. “So if it tastes bad, you’re still going to eat it anyway. If it tastes good, you’re going to eat it and be proud of it.”

Roshanna Clark, a junior at Urban Science Academy in West Roxbury.

Roshanna Clark, 16, Junior at Urban Science Academy in West Roxbury

-“I don’t like food going to waste.”

Clark started College Bound three years ago in Urban Planning, but joined Hydroponics in her second year. “What I liked most about the whole process about hydroponics is actually the prospect of actually growing your own greens,” said Clark. An environmentally-conscious teenager, Clark wanted to become a veterinarian, but started having second thoughts when she considered the idea of opening up animals. “How can I go and like, cut and suture skin, when I don’t even like anything poking mine?”



This project is produced for Boston University Photojournalism, JO537 taught by Professor Peter Smith. Special thanks to Professor Mike Barnett, James Huerta (Boston College); Lesly Bellamy, Roshanna Clark, Cyanna Taylor (College Bound); JO537 class and Professor Smith.

Learn more about hydroponics, Urban Hydro Farmers and urban agriculture here. Connect with Urban Hydro Farmers on Facebook here.