As more and more communities of color are returning to their agricultural roots, urban farming is becoming an increasingly popular and viable low cost alternative for residents to feed themselves and their families with healthy locally grown produce. Once forgotten by city government, these decades long vacant lots have now become green oases improving the appearance and quality of life on the blocks that they occupy; but in NYC and cities across the country, they are now in the sights of gentrification fueled housing development as prime real estate to build up.
This panel discussion will take a look at how, through advocacy efforts, cultivating community support and coordinating with local officials, two Bed Stuy gardens were saved from slated sale to developers and conveyed to the NYC Parks Department and deemed “park” land. These gardens are now able to continue feeding their neighbors, supporting local food pantries, reducing food waste through composting and to offer a safe space for children and seniors. You will hear from the farmers themselves as well as an elected official, a community housing developer and a land access advocate who believe that the public should have a say in what happens with public land.
Speakers: Keith Carr, Manager, Community Engagement, Brooklyn City Harvest (Moderator); Ena McPherson, Community Farmer, Tranquility Farm; Alice Forbes Spear, Community Farmer, 462 Halsey Community Farm; Mara Kravitz, Executive Assistant, 596 Acres; Lisa Boyd, Chief Operating Officer, Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development (NEBHDCo); Stefani Zinerman, Chief of Staff, Councilman Robert Cornegy.
This panel is part of the Just Food Conference: A Call to Collaboration on Sunday, March 12 and Monday, March 13. Conference tickets start at $40/day (for students) and you can get one here. You can also volunteer to help with the conference for six hours and get the rest of that day’s admission for free by signing up here.