Save Bushwick City Farm!
By Tiana Miller
Anyone who has been to Bushwick in the past few years, particularly near the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway, needs no reminder of how rapidly the area is gentrifying.
With an upshot of high rise luxury condos pricing out many longtime home and business owners one wonders where all these new residents will go for health, education or anything other than the hippest new happy hour.
It can be hard to walk down the street and see economic bliss and disparity forced to cohabitate, knowing all too well who always ends up the winner. That’s part of why the community farm on 356 Stockton Street is such an essential oasis. Here, all are welcome to dig in and get their hands dirty, grow something from nothing, care for the animals or even just BBQ together. That’s why Bushwick City Farm needs your help to stay open and continue providing great services to the people who deserve them most.
Not only does this safe, beautiful outdoor space give free organic eggs to 10-15 families in need a week. During the gardening season, it harvests anywhere from 15-35lbs of produce weekly, while 20-30 families harvest additional food on a self-described, “take what you need” policy.
On top of that, the farm also provides vegetable seeds, seedlings, and ornamental potted plants to community members and organizations free of charge. They do all of this as well as creating a hands-on youth education department. In an article published on July 18th, the Washington Post reported:
“The natural stimulation of being outside seems to replenish minds exhausted from practicing self-discipline. It re-energizes the part of the brain that controls concentration, checks urges and delays gratification…Not being exposed to enough microbes as a child can result in an underdeveloped immune system, which can cause a host of problems, according to Gilbert, including autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disorders, and allergies.”
BCF is a safe space for young people from diverse backgrounds to meet and learn about urban farming while also taking advantage of a swing set, slide, trampoline, communal bicycles, and basketball court.
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So why on earth would anyone want to take this gorgeous place from a community that so desperately needs it? Why else? Money.
The current BCF lot opened across from the Sumner houses after their first lot was sold to a Condo developer in 2011. At that time several volunteers noted that they were given a little less than a month’s notice to relocate resulting in the destruction of crops and misplaced farm animals.
When they went to open BCF at the current location, the lot was full of trash, hypodermic needles, and used condoms. Now it is powered by solar power and houses 50 chickens, eight ducklings as well as a turkey named Petunia, all while raising tilapia. As amazing as all of this growth is, it’s going to take more than a month to find a new home for it and I don’t think Petunia has any rent money saved up.
With less than half a month until the farm’s close date on August 31st, volunteers and regulars are doing what they can to at the very least secure an extension that would allow them to make sure all crops and animals have been safely relocated.