Help Build More Urban Farms in Brooklyn

On June 20, 2014

Three years ago I hit a wall.  At that point I’d be living in NYC for 10 years and was feeling the effects.  I craved nature.  It was to the point that I would take the bus home to Pennsylvania at least once a month just to drive around, looking at green things and soak up the energy.  But even that wasn’t enough.  I needed an out on a more regular basis.

At the time I was teaching cooking classes all around town.  I wasn’t just teaching people what to eat, but more importantly why they should be eating a local, seasonal diet rich in plant foods.

It dawned on my one day that I was spending all this time with food, but I didn’t really know where it came from. I kept wondering things like:

How long does it take a cabbage to grow?  

What does a kohlrabi look like in the field?  

What makes some spinach really tasty and other spinach really bland?

I had to find out.

photo (37)

So, I started volunteering at at a farm upstate and quickly got hooked on learning as much as possible about the agricultural system and how a sustainable farm works together in a holistic way.

Food had saved my life before when I was sick, and now it was saving me again by giving me a whole new mission:  educate people about where their food comes from, and reinforce the importance of eating an organic, local, seasonal diet.

Last summer, when my friend Tracey emailed me to say that a farm had popped up in my neighborhood in Brooklyn I reached out right away to see if I could help.

Ryan Watson and Henry Sweets, the Founders of North Brooklyn Farms set out to do something unprecedented.  Within a couple of months they converted an abandoned parking lot into a productive urban organic farm.  And they want to do it again.


The “Before” photo

North Brooklyn Farms is special for many reasons.

1. It has no funding, it mere existence inspired the community to come together and volunteer their time to bring it to life.

2. It is on the street level.  People can walk through, smell the flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables and even pick their own at the Farm Stand

3. It’s location is temporary.  For the last year it’s been in one site, but on August 31st (right in the middle of the main growing season!!!) the lease ends and the farm will need to pick up it’s raised beds full of produce and find a new home

epic farm pic

The “After” photo

North Brooklyn Farms has so many goals to accomplish, and simultaneously needs a new home to make it all happen.  So we are reaching out to the community via Kickstarter for support.   We are raising money so we can…

  • Hire additional education staff so we can expand our programming and accommodate twice as many farm visits from schoolchildren.
  • Build 10 more raised pallet beds to increase produce and cut flower production.
  • Keep North Brooklyn Farms and Havemeyer Park open 6 days a week
  • Seek to secure a 2-year lease on another vacant lot in North Brooklyn, build an independent urban farm and move our plants and infrastructure to the new site.

kickstarter video screen grab

Please support the kickstarter any way you can.  Whether that means giving a donation, or sharing the video with people who will care, we appreciate it immensely!  

Thank you in advance!




**I would like to note that in both cases I reached out with the intention of spending time with my hands in the dirt and ended up being an educator.  One of these days I’m going to get my hands dirty!

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