Brooklyn Urban Farm Program NYCHA Farm at Red Hook Houses

NYCHA Farm at Red Hook Houses. Photo via Added Value

Crown Heights resident Sade Bennett is just one of many Brooklynites benefiting from a growing initiative to create gardens in Brooklyn’s food deserts. Through her work on a single-acre farm, the 25-year-old has learned how to grow and cook produce, bringing her closer to goals of bettering her health and community.

The Black Urban Growers association is hosting a conference this weekend in Bed Stuy that aims to “enhance the critical relationship between food and health in the Black community by empowering growers, eaters and activists,” according to their website. The Black Farmers and Urban Growers Conference offers networking events, roundtables and panels for those interested in improving the health and well-being of black communities through better food choices.

The first event is tonight at COLORS, the only cooperative restaurant in New York, and the rest of this weekend’s sessions will take place at Boys and Girls High School at 1700 Fulton Street. The conference will tackle topics like community gardens and at-risk youth, new farmer development, unhealthy food marketing and agricultural co-ops. Those interested in attending can check out the full schedule here and buy tickets here.

Image via Black Urban Growers

The two empty lots at 70-76 Hanson Place in Fort Greene will hold an apartment building someday, but in the meantime, Vermont’s Black Bear Sugarworks is going to be operating a farm stand here starting next month, according to a tipster who sent in the photo above. They’re going to be offering maple soft serve ice cream, lemonade, maple syrup, maple candy, all-natural hot dogs, and grass-fed beef chili cheese dogs. Yum. GMAP

bittman-benefit-042513Mark Bittman will speak on “The Future of Food” in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday. The $20 admission will benefit the Brooklyn Food Coalition, which describes itself as a “grassroots organization dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable food system in Brooklyn.” The event is co-sponsored by Long Island University’s Public Health Program. Bittman is a New York Times cooking and food policy columnist. His latest book is “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6 PM To Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…For Good.” The event takes place at 6 pm April 30 at Long Island University at the Schwartz Athletic Center at 1 University Plaza. For more details or to buy tickets, go here.


greenhorns-flyer-032813The Fort Greene Park Conservancy is showing the documentary The Greenhorns to raise funds for its vegetable garden. The film “explores the lives of America’s young farming community — its spirit, practices, and needs” and is part of a larger effort by the filmmakers to reform agriculture in the U.S. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion on sustainable and urban farming. All proceeds from the $7 admission and sales of beer, wine and popcorn go to the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. The event takes place at 7 pm tonight at The Greene Grape at 767 Fulton Street.

If you can make it out to the Community Board One meeting tonight, there are quite a few agenda items of note up for discussion. The first is for the creation of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway on West Street (photo, above) from Eagle Street to Quay Street in Greenpoint. The Department of Transporation and the Department of Design and Construction will present a schematic for a two-way separated bike bath; a planted buffer, speed tables and improved pavement markings at intersections; and the relocation of existing above ground utilities to underground. That’s a full twelve blocks of bike lanes along the waterfront! Next up: the proposal for an “urban farm site” at 104 Moore Street, a vacant lot between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street in Bushwick. It will be used as an enhancement to the nearby Moore Street Market. Finally, the Williamsburg nonprofit St. Nicks Alliance will present a proposal to develop affordable housing with commercial space at 695 Grand Street, between Graham and Manhattan avenues. The meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at 211 Ainslie Street in Williamsburg.
Photo by Google Maps

This could be a game changer for Sunset Park. The 1.1-million-square-foot Federal Building No. 2, located on 3rd Avenue, may make way for big box retail. According to DNAinfo, the building owner, Salmar Properties LLC (which bought the build from the city for $10 million in August of 2011), asked Community Board 7 for a variance last night to waive the space restriction on retail use. They plan to dedicate 180,000 square feet of the building to retail. Bed Bath & Beyond, Burlington Coat Factory and Micro Center have all expressed interest. Meanwhile, the owner is investing $35 million for building repairs, and BrightFarms is setting up the world’s largest rooftop farm here. The retail space should be ready by the summer of 2013, the rooftop farm by early 2013. We didn’t make it out last night to the CB7 meeting, does anyone know how the variance request played out?
Big-Box Retailers Eyeing Sunset Park [DNA Info]
Photo by DNAinfo/Alan Neuhause

Bushwick City Farm recently got some attention as a chicken haven in Brooklyn, but the organization does a whole lot more than that: BCF has two mini-farms that offer free vegetables, clothing, and educational programs in Bushwick, and now the owners are eying a third site. BCF has cleared out a previously dangerous corner of empty land at Stockton Street and Lewis Avenue and hopes to grow fruits and vegetables there. (The organization is run by volunteers; materials they use are recovered from the garbage or donated; and everything that the farm provides is free.) A Kickstarter campaign is going on now to raise money for topsoil, supplies, and fruit trees. The goal is $5,000 by September 25th. They’re pretty close! Read more about the farm here and watch the Kickstarter video here.
Roosting in Bushwick [Brownstoner]

The 9,000-square-foot lot at the corner of Stockton Street and Lewis Avenue in Bushwick has sat abandoned for the last three decades, but in recent months it’s been getting made over into a public farm that promises to offer free vegetables to neighborhood residents, according to The project has been led by a group called Bushwick City Farm that is undertaking similar projects in a number of vacant lots in the area. (The Broadway Farm, for example, is already producing an ample supply of fresh eggs.) Organizers are hoping to open in the fall, but still have another $2,500 to go on their Kickstarter campaign. GMAP