By Esteban Guerra, age 9

Samuel Pressman is an ecological systems designer, food growing educator and climate artist in New York City. He created Samuel’s Food Gardens during the pandemic to educate people about DIY-based home food growing.

Esteban: Why do you want to create community gardens?

Samuel: I do it because I want to help people. I work mostly with schools, but [also with adults], teaching them how to not only grow their own food, but also work together and actually try to understand how to live with nature better. I think a garden is a place where people can come together and really get to understand the planet that we live on. We live on a living planet, and I want to help people understand that connection. For humans, that is one of the biggest, most important things we can do: grow food. It’s rare for schools to teach children to grow food, so I’m trying to help people and children learn that.

Esteban: Do you think sustainable living is important?

Samuel: Absolutely. Again, that goes back to the balance of things. We have to know how we should live on our planet, which has limits, so we have to understand what those limits are. And obviously we’ve been doing things that aren’t that good. So we have to change those things and find a better balance. That’s why I believe sustainable living and sustainability is very important, and we need to help spread that awareness.

Esteban: Can anyone start a garden in their house or apartment building?

Samuel: That’s exactly what I try and help people and students understand, that we can grow food, even a little bit, at home. I built a rooftop garden after [the pandemic] started because everybody was stuck at home. We can grow food using what some people might think of as trash—old containers, bags or even shoes. If there’s a way that you can put soil in something and actually plant it, you can start growing food. 

Esteban: What message would you like to give to people?
Samuel: I think diversity in nature is a really great way of showing how humans and communities could also be really strong and more united if we started to work with one another. In nature there’s a lot of diversity, but they work together to be stronger. We humans can learn from that if we try and copy them.