Sprout Farms formed in January 2011 in Brooklyn, New York. The brainchild of Katie Hope and Heather McKinstry, Sprout Farms looked for a location for a school garden. In the Summer of 2011, through a wonderful teacher and administrator named Coquille Houshour, Sprout Farms began work on a garden and curriculum at the Green School and Lyons Community School. These two schools share space in the old I.S. 49 building in north Brooklyn. In September 2011 Sprout Farms received fiscal sponsorship from Open Space Institute, Inc. and was awarded a grant by Change By Us NYC. A composting system was constructed at the school in October 2011, followed by a 1,575 square foot garden in the Spring of 2012. Sprout Farms works with their partners, the students and teachers of the Green School and Lyons Community school, and garden enthusiasts in the community to maintain the garden and teach gardening. In the summer of 2012 Sprout Farms harvested a variety of vegetables and herbs.
Katie Hope is a teacher and community gardener with four seasons of gardening experience in Brooklyn. She is one of the founding members of Sprout Farms. Katie completed a Master’s of Science degree in Early Childhood Education at Brooklyn College in 2012. She has also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She has spent time working on a handful of small, organic farms in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Zealand. Katie has worked for a New Jersey vegetable farmer, helping him sell his produce at New York City Greenmarkets. During her free time Katie enjoys preserving and canning fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. Katie looks forward to creating a farm space that can be educational for all ages and speaks to the cycle of food and waste production.
Heather McKinstry is a practicing architect and founding member of Sprout Farms. Her dedication to sustainability and passion for urban agriculture has led her to develop an organic farm that will provide fresh, local and pesticide free produce in the urban environment. A LEED Accredited Professional, Heather developed her knowledge of green roofs and urban sustainability on projects for Kiss+Cathcart, Architects, in New York City, including Bushwick Inlet Park for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Heather holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree as well as a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Rhode Island School of Design where she developed her thesis on sustainable disaster relief housing which focused on creating an on site potable water source.