i was fortunate enough to have the chance to speak along with my co-worker and friend at the recent black farmers and urban gardener conference in brooklyn. it was a great day full of amazing workshops and great keynote speakers.
the next day were tours. i had wanted to go on the brooklyn tour, as in one of the workshops i had seen someone speak from the bed-stuy farm and felt a good amount of connection between their farm and the one i work with. I also have been wanting to see east new york farms as well, but the brooklyn bus was all filled up. seems i need to plan a trip to new york just to visit all the projects i missed seeing. but the bronx was still open and karen washington was leading the tour. having never been to the bronx, and wanting to visit, this was a very close second. you will have to excuse the quality of the photos – taken with my crappy camera phone (which amazingly enough is still working after being dropped in a mop bucket full of water). my much abused camera is off being fixed – again, this time it was in the same bag as a bottle of goat milk which exploded all over it. goat milk fries cameras.
first farm of the trip was taqwa farms
bobby and abu led us around the gardens showing off all of the stuff they had packed into a relatively small space. a shed, rainwater catchment system, chickens, playground, stage, beehives, and lots and lots of fruit trees.
bobby and abu both framed the work they do in the garden as a simple passion, and a political action.
most of the gardens that we visited were very similar in this way. not young white foodies, but mostly immigrants or transplants from the south. gardening was something they did to connect with their heritage, and to provide them with quality food that was difficult to obtain in their neighborhood.
having chickens was an important aspect of many of the gardens, as were these little huts – i think called casitas and a result of the puerto rican culture in the neighborhood.
this photo is from the community garden that karen washington is a part of – garden of happiness. they are used as a gathering places and for celebrating.
perhaps most impressive to me is the level of organizing that has been done with the community gardens in new york. many of them are a part of a land trust so that they can be basically preserved forever. i left feeling the need even more so to get organized and get our stuff together here in detroit.