A New Model of Urban Farming in New York City

Guest Article From: A Life Organic BK Farmyards is a new urban farming network in Brooklyn. Our mission is to increase access to healthy affordable food to Brooklyn residents through increasing urban food production and providing jobs for urban farmers. We started last year by turning backyards into farmyards, offering the first CSA with all produce grown in Brooklyn. We are building on last year’s success with new sites, more farmers and more CSAs. We are working with the High School for Public Service to create a new Youth Farm. We will be turning the school’s one acre lawn into a thriving, productive and educational farm. The Farm will provide fresh affordable food for the community through a CSA, while providing educational and employment opportunities for the students. Urban farms across the country have been offering a glimpse of what is possible, but we want to push farther. We believe that cities have the capacity to grow more food and employ more people in agriculture. There are currently over 10,000 acres of vacant land in NYC, 1,500 in Brooklyn alone. If just 10 percent of the backyards in NYC were farmed we could grow enough food for 700,000 people. There is high demand for local and healthy food, all 26 Brooklyn CSAs have waiting lists, and farmers markets are becoming more and more popular. Additionally we have an abundance of people who are skilled and talented in growing food, and even more who are interested in learning how. BK Farmyards is creating a new model for urban farms. Our goal is to create financially sustainable farms that serve the people and neighborhoods subjected to the worst systematic oppression from our current food system. Our model lowers the cost of farming by building relationships between existing assets in our community: an abundance of experienced and enthusiastic farmers, underutilized land, schools, homeowners, developers and government support for local farms and low income consumers. Our model allows for us to be independent of continuous grant funding, allowing us to expand our work as more land becomes available and more people want to farm. Though we plan on becoming financially sustainable, we need a lot to get everything going. We are currently fundraising through grants, special events and online tools. We are using kicktarter.com as a fundraising tool and so we need to reach our $10,000 goal by February 26th to receive any of the money. Please consider giving us your financial support, even $5 will be of great help! If you are interested in working with us please shoot us a line. There is a lot to do, a lot of land and a lot of food to grow! www.BKFarmyards.com bee (@) BKFarmyards.com Please donate to BK Farmyards Youth Farm Kickstarter Campaign!

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