Ones to Watch: Bushwick City Farm


Bushwick City Farm has launched a new campaign to expand its programming of free food, clothing, and educational workshops for the community by spearheading an effort to turn a third vacant lot in the Brooklyn neighborhood into a mini-farm growing organic produce and eggs.

"Bushwick City Farms is a network of open spaces run by neighborhood volunteers that provides free food, clothing and educational programs for the community," Masha, the group's founder, told us. "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 service groups, hold free beginner's English classes for speakers of other languages at a nearby location, and coordinate with local businesses to distribute bread and fresh produce donations."

The vacant lot at Stockton Street and Lewis Avenue has for 30 years harbored violence, illegal dumping, and other illicit behavior which climaxed last August with a homicide. Bushwick City Farms volunteers this April cleared the garbage, spread wood chips, and planted flowers. Their idea? To convert a negative space into a positive one that offers tangible benefits for the community. Sounds like the Better Theory if I've ever heard it.
 
"All help we receive is on a volunteer basis," Masha said. "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.

The group's already managed to meet its $5,000 goal, but additional donations will help with programming, seeds, and the acquisition of future farm spaces. Learn more about the campaign and how you can help here.

For more information about Bushwick City Farm, visit their website at http://bushwickcityfarm.wordpress.com.
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.