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. 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.
Moderated by Keith Carr
Ena McPherson/Tranquility Farm
Alice Forbes Spear/462 Halsey
Paula Segal/596 Acres (a community land access advocate),
Lisa Boyd/NEBHDCO (a developer who also cultivates garden projects as a way to support emergency food)
District 36 Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr., whose district had a disproportionate amount of gardens targeted for development
The 6th annual Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference is convening farmers, students, consumers, activists and food justice organizations from across the country! From Southern Roots to Northern Shoots: Honoring the History of Black Agriculture is the theme of this year’s conference. For more details, register here.