Slideshow

Springing into Action

Text By John Tarleton
Photos By Sophie Forbes, Amelia Holowaty Krales, Ashley Marinaccio & Julie Turkewitz

From Bed-Stuy to the Bronx, New Yorkers returned to their community farms to begin planting new crops as the weather warmed in April. Many of these farms are located in predominantly people of color neighborhoods where residents have worked to transform abandoned lots into flourishing gardens that serve many functions: community gathering space, urban refuge, a classroom for teaching youth about growing food and a source of fresh fruits and vegetables.

East New York Farms

1. Participants in East New York Farms enjoy a laugh as they prepare for a new season. Located at the corner New Lots and Schenk Avenues in outer Brooklyn, East New York Farms trains local teenagers to work the land they live on. Each year, about 30 teens join for a nine-month paid internship program where they learn to care for a half-acre organic garden.

2. A local resident tends her garden bed at East New York Farms while the 3 train rumbles overhead.

For more, see eastnewyorkfarms.org.

La Finca del Sur

La Finca del Sur (or “Farm of the South”) is an urban farmer cooperative led by Latina and Black women and their allies. Located at 138th Street and the Grand Concourse in the South Bronx, La Finca kicked off its third season on Sat. April 14 with a full day of activities. Clockwise from Top:

3. Community leaders teach neighborhood children about gardening and assist them in planting seeds. Children also participated in educational art projects throughout the day that combined nature with art. (Above Right) A community volunteer waters the newly seeded plot.

4. Members from local environmental nonprofits visited La Finca del Sur to teach community members and volunteers about composting, horticulture and how to maintain the garden. Volunteers also participated in classes, lectures and workshops on issues such as gentrification.

5,6,7 Volunteers help prepare the garden for the spring and summer. Volunteers spent the day planting seed, spreading soil and organizing garden materials for the upcoming season.

For more, see bronxfarmers.blogspot.com.

Bed-Stuy Farm

Built on a former neighborhood garbage-dump-turned-urban-oasis, Bed-Stuy Farm provides food grown on the site to Central Brooklyn residents who are at risk of hunger.

8. Abra Morawiec, an AmeriCorps Volunteer with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, works with Brooklyn Rescue Mission farm interns to integrate compost in to the dirt to be used in raised beds.

9. Inspecting a pea that is growing in one of the greenhouses at Bed-Stuy Farm. The farm is overseen by Brooklyn Rescue Mission, a community-based organization that uses urban farming as a starting point for community empowerment.

10. Bed-Stuy Farm co-founders Rev. Robert Jackson (left) and his wife Rev. DeVanie Jackson. Through the garden, “those who are most food insecure get the most premium food,” she says.

For more, see brooklynrescuemission.org/Bedstuyfarm.aspx