Tuesday, August 4, 2009

DO SOMETHING: Save the Bed-Stuy Farm

I am a huge supporter of activism, at a community level and on a global scale, so I've decided to include causes that I support regularly on this blog in a new blog posting called "Do Something".

This first cause is one very close to my heart because I happen to live in Bedford Stuyvesant. From Franklin to Kingston Avenues along Fulton Street there are DOZENS of fast food restaurants, including two MacDonald's, two Golden Krusts, two Crown Fried Chickens, two Popeye's and countless Chinese and Pizza restaurants. There are only two health food stores and four fruit markets along that same stretch.

That may seem like a lot, but consider this: a dozen strawberries are $4. So is a two piece chicken wings with fries and a soda. This is what makes the Bed-Stuy Farm so valuable & so very worth preserving!

From Elizabeth Lazarowitz, NY Daily News:

Brooklyn Rescue Mission could lose half of it's Bed-Stuy Farm property to developmment plans
Wednesday, July 29th 2009, 4:00 AM

They turned a vacant lot into an edible Eden that provides freshly grown food to thousands of needy Brooklynites.

But the Brooklyn Rescue Mission, an emergency food pantry in Bedford-Stuyvesant, could lose half of Bed-Stuy Farm - its 5,000-square-foot facility on a long-neglected lot - if plans go through to build on it.

"We have this really thriving, amazing farm that's feeding people," said the Rev. DeVanie Jackson, who runs the mission with her husband, the Rev. Robert Jackson. "They're trying to get us to move it, but the other places they wanted to move it to, it wasn't the same."

The Jacksons began farming around the mission on Bainbridge St. in 2004, after seeing that much of the emergency food doled out to poor families was filling, but not healthy - canned and packed with sugar and salt.

Two years later, the couple adopted the lot on Decatur St., which had become a weed-clogged garbage dump and neighborhood eyesore. They turned it into a garden that produces 7,000 pounds of food a year, including zucchini, collard greens, tomatoes and broccoli.

A nonprofit housing developer, Neighborhood Partnership HDFC, had earlier bought the land from the city to renovate an old house into affordable units, but structural problems forced the developer to raze the building. The lot sat empty until the Jacksons started the farm.

Neighborhood Partnership now wants to sell the land, city officials said.
"The intent was always to do affordable housing on this site," said Housing Preservation and Development Department official Margaret Sheffer. "The garden had essentially come in as a squatter."

HPD has been working to broker a deal for the mission to buy the property, she said, but the Jacksons said they can't afford to purchase it.

Alternative sites offered by the city have either been too small or too shady, they said.

HPD spokeswoman Catie Marshall said Neighborhood Partnership needs to recoup around $275,000 in costs.

"Ideally, we would like the see the Brooklyn Rescue Mission garden remain," she said, adding that HPD was unable to find donors to buy the property for the mission, but is still trying to find a way to transfer the land to them. (elazarowitz@nydailynews.com)

For more information on the Brooklyn Rescue Mission, please visit their website at www.brooklynrescuemission.org . And you can sign the petition to show your support of their good works and The Bed-Stuy Farm by clicking here. Do Something!

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