IMG_20130403_152938Here, we are visiting the Consulate-General of Japan in New York City. Our dry rice plant stalks decorate the shelf along with traditional Japanese dolls. It was a great moment for us to hear the Japanese Consulate say: ” Thank you so much for growing Japanese Rice.”  By EunYoung Sebazco


By EunYoung Sebazco

We have been gearing up for the new season with a lot of new activities. We are fortunate to have wonderful friends who support our exciting events throughout the season at Randall’s Island. I would like to introduce some of them now, but more to come… Stay tuned-

togei01   Lisa Nishimori is the owner of New York Togei Kyoshitsu ( www.nytogei.com ) She is donating recycled clay for our Seed Bomb project. Togei Kyoshitsu was established in 1994. They offer classes using traditional artistries that are still used in studios across Japan. Her generous support will help us make our wildflower meadow rush and a sustainable approach of wildflower meadow maintenance.

shino   Shino Takeda is a ceramic artist (www.shinotakeda.com) demonstrating how to make SAKURA NO HANA NO SHIOZUKE (cherry Blossom Salt: 桜の花の塩漬) during the Cherry Blossom festival at Randall’s Island. She will also share how to utilize cherry blossom salt. We are very excited to have her at our first Cherry Blossom Festival at Randall’s Island. She was a formal General Manager at Blue Ribbon restaurant group. Romy Northover is a English ceramic artist will also join our event. They started a ceramic project KATAKANA  NY 2012 which offers body adornments, homewear design, supper clubs and workshops.

IMG_20120618_115736   MiHyun Han is General Manager at Don’s Bogam (www.donsbogam.com), which is the finest Korean restaurant in New York.  She has been supporting our urban farm and we are happy to have her back this year. She will demonstrate Summer Roll making during one of our rice programs. She will use fresh vegetables from our urban farm and show us how the rice is used in other cultures. 

IMG_2055  Yoshihiko Kousaka is Executive Chef at Jewel Bako, NYC  ( www.jewelbakonyc.com ), we are honored to have him back this season for our rice program. He will demonstrate how to make Onigiri (Riceball) and Oshinko (fresh pickled salad). He has exposed us to other food cultures and inspires us with his passion.

teaPlant   Tea Tree Farm (제주 넓은 농장) is located in Jeju Island in southern part of Korea. The farm is the one of few the organic green tea farms in Korean. It is very hard to harvest the tea tree seeds but we are lucky to have them. Thank you for sharing with us! We planted them early last spring with lots of excitement and they are 2”tall now! Due to the different climate, they have been growing very slowly. However, We are very proud of the challenge to grow the FIRST tea plants in NYC.

We invited Michelle Obama to the Rice Threshing and Winnowing Event held in November 2012.  She  responded with the note below.  We are looking forward to sending another invitation next year when we have 3 Rice Paddies in the Learning Garden.

white house note

Urban Farmer Internship/Randall’s Island Park

About Us:
The Randall’s Park Alliance (RIPA) is a nonprofit organization that, in conjunction with City leadership, works to realize the island’s unique potential by developing sports and recreational facilities, restoring its vast natural environment, reclaiming and maintaining parkland, and sponsoring programs for the children of New York City. For more information about RIPA, its mission, and its programs, please visit www.randallsisland.org.

The Learning Garden/Randall’s Island Urban Farm is a 28,000 square foot organic vegetable garden composed of 55 raised beds. The garden includes 11 fruiting shrubs and a rice paddy. We grow a diverse variety of crops including but not limited to corn, asparagus, tomatillos, herbs, and Asian eggplants. In 2012 over 1,800 public school students visited the garden. The Learning Garden is a farm-to table program that focuses on edible education.  In 2013 the Urban Farm will expand by 8,000 square feet.

BLOG:  learninggardenrandalls.wordpress.com
Job Description:
Season: April 1 –October 31, 2013
Hours of work: 7:00 am – 3:30 pm (some weekends and overtime may be required)
Salary: According to experience and qualifications
Reports to: Urban Farmer

Responsibilities include:

  • Soil cultivation, digging, mulching, watering, raking, weeding, edging, pruning, seed sowing, bed preparation, planting, and composting
  • Works with the Urban Farm to liaison with GrowNYC, the co-sponsoring organization of The Learning Garden, to help coordinate and implement all activities in The Learning Garden. Tasks include preparation of the garden for student visits, lesson planning, creation of educational materials, and scheduling volunteer and student visits.
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with all educational activities in the Learning Garden
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with record keeping of harvest yields, disease and pest control efforts
  • Writes a blog once a week about The Learning Garden/Urban Farm.
  • Assists the Urban Farmer with planting, preparation and maintenance of the urban farm
  • Ensures all equipment is secure and well maintained
  • Performs duties in a manner consistent with a public garden serving multi-generational families and in accordance with directed practices and procedures
  • If the Urban Farmer is not available on a day a class is scheduled to come to The Learning Garden, the intern should be able to take over the educational portion of the day.
  • Set-up and cleanup of materials and site on a daily basis
  • Assists with other horticultural activities of the Horticultural Department, which could be helping with volunteer projects, weeding, planting and watering.


  • Strong gardening skills, including familiarity with organic seeds and seed propagation
  • Demonstrated knowledge of vegetable growing, pests and diseases
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Willing to work in all types of weather, under strenuous conditions
  • Team player, creative and organized
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work both alone and in groups
  • Enthusiastic, work to high standards and ability to take direction
  • Strong work ethic
  • Excellent attendance
  • Some weekends required
  • Drug Testing and background checked required prior to employment

Preferred Skills/Qualifications:

  • Experience with educational children’s programming
  • Drivers license preferred
  • Knowledge of composting a plus
  • Knowledge of propagation a plus
  • Basic carpentry skills a plus
  • Course work in introductory biology/ecology or related field
  • Experience teaching or working with children  (elementary through high school)
  • Strong Communication skills
  • Strong computer skills, MSWord, Excel

Please email resume and cover letter to:   nick.storrs@parks.nyc.gov

No phone calls please.

Randall’s Island Park Alliance. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, US Veteran status, or any other factor protected by law. Applicants must successfully complete a drug screen and background check prior to hire.

IMG_3487magazine cover
The rice paddy makes New York’s Magazine’s Reasons to Love New York

It’s listed as  Number 27.

For all of us on Randall’s Island, it’s NUMBER ONE.

Happy Holidays.

Come see our new rice paddy in 2013.

By Nick Storrs

Come join us at New Green City this year down at Union Square on October 10th. We will have demonstrations and examples of all the different things we have growing in the garden. I hope to see you there!


By Nick Storrs

Our rice plants are growing up. We are making sure to keep the paddies full for this last month. In mid-October we will drain the rice paddies before getting it ready for harvest.  Rice cannot be drained too early because if it goes too long without enough water there will be less rice harvested and the quality of the milled rice would suffer.


Late August

Rice grows out on tall pinnacles which first started to emerge in early September this year.  Now the pinnacles are all fully out and looking great! Its easy to look back on the rice only a month ago and see what a difference there is. The rice plants are bent over with the weight of the grains, and taking on a bright golden coloration. It is a beautiful time to be amongst the rice plants!Mid-September