project leader
bushwickcityfarm
location
354 Stockton Street
Brooklyn (Bushwick/ Bed-Stuy)
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Feature story about Masha & Vinny

the project

There is a vacant lot on the corner of Stockton Street and Lewis Avenue. For thirty years it has harbored violence, illegal dumping, and other illicit behavior climaxing last August with a gruesome homicide by way of a rusty shovel. In mid April Bushwick City Farms’ volunteers put an end to the negligence by clearing the garbage, spreading wood chips and planting flowers. The idea is to convert a negative space into one that creates tangible benefit for the community. We want to grow organic fruits and vegetables in clean soil and care for free-range chickens that will lay eggs, all of which will be given away on site on a need/first-come-first-served basis. We want to host school field trips and community groups and provide hands-on workshops that teach about responsible food production, carpentry, energy-saving systems, ecological cycles, and community self-sufficiency. Basically we want it to be an open space that provides food, education, and recreation all of which is free and accessible. We have a strong group of neighborhood volunteers, from young little munchkins to grandmothers and grandfathers. We have the lot to build the farm. All we need is some materials. Though we go along way with recycled building materials (even the wood to build everything with- from coop to veggie beds) the one thing we can't recover from the dumpster is clean soil. Help us fill our raised veggie beds and build this urban farm!

the steps

1. Clear rubble, remove garbage, and plant flowers. (This we’ve already done!)  2. Level ground and cover with wood-chips to rehabilitate the land. (Currently underway!) 3. Fence building and chicken coop construction.  4. Building a raised vegetable garden. 5. Buying  and transporting clean top-soil (This is where you come in). 6. Planting orchard. 7. Creating recreational area and planting native and beneficial plants.

why we're doing it

We believe in the importance of community self-sufficiency, food justice, responsible food production, and land rehabilitation. As part of our emphasis on organic, responsible and humane food production, all our chickens, many of which are rescued from factory farms and slaughter houses, are provided with the chance to live a free-range organic life. To support our neighbors and our environment, we create community networks of mutual aid and environmental education programs, including composting and varieties of urban organic farming workshops. This is especially important in our neighborhood due to a lack of access to affordable, fresh, organic food; for this reason all the food we produce will be free to the community. This project will provide crucial resources to an underprivileged urban community while also promoting environmentally sound farming practices and community empowerment. In addition, the farm will serve as a much-needed green space which will be open for all to enjoy. We consider the health of our block vital to the health of the greater world around us.

Bushwick City Farms is an open space run by neighborhood volunteers that provides free food, clothing and educational programs for the community. Centered in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn, the farm creates a unique opportunity to experience active models of responsible food production. In addition to the farming practices at the farm's main location, we build and help maintain vegetable gardens for local public schools, host school field trips and youth serivce groups, hold free beginner's English classes for spekers of other languages at a nearby location, and coordinate with local businesses to distribute bread and fresh produce donations. All help we receive is on a volunteer basis. All materials used are recovered from the garbage or paid for by individual donations. We collaborate with property-owners for the free availability fo their space and in turn everything that the farms provide is also free. We operate solely on a "give what you can, take only what you need" basis.

budget

50 sq yards of clean top-soil $2500
13 fruit trees (apple trees and figs) for the orchard $400
supplies for farm construction (hinges, nails, screws, chisels and chicken wire) $100

adjusted on 10/26/11
project total = $165
ioby fee = $13
total = $178

updates

Feature story about Masha & Vinny

From the article:

On a recent Sunday afternoon, people gathered on the sidewalk outside Bushwick City Farms to rummage through bins of vegetables, rescued from grocery store dumpsters, and clothing, donated by local residents. Periodically, people would walk right into the farm to greet and feed the chickens. Children dragged their parents in off the street. Locals conversed loudly in sharp Puerto Rican Spanish as they picked up seedlings that were being given away for free, and Masha, one of the founding farmers, replied fluently.

There was a time when community gardens were new, daring, sites of interchange between socioeconomically diverse urban dwellers. During the 1960s and 1970s, as cities all over the U.S. increasingly filled with middle-class former suburbanites, urban gardens popped up in rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods as people attempted to make cities greener and more sustainable.

Today, however, community gardens are closed-off to many, as their plots hold long waiting-lists and involve annual fees, and their “communities” are often made-up of recent additions to neighborhoods rather than more rooted families.

One duo of farmers in Brooklyn, NY are determined to reinvent the notion of a community garden by involving residents in the day-to-day operations of their urban farm, including maintaining the harvest, feeding the chickens, and composting.

 

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

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