A month after its official opening, we stopped by the farm at the Red Hook Houses to see what’s growing—both in the ground and in the surrounding community
On Wolcott Street in Red Hook, opposite the neighborhood branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and around the corner from PS 15, an urban oasis is emerging. The lawn of the Red Hook West Houses, part of the largest public housing development in Brooklyn, has been transformed into beds of kale, lettuce, tomatoes, and dandelions blooming in the first-ever farm on a New York City Housing Authority development.
It's a new symbol of the community's ongoing commitment to shedding the stigma of its past and advancing projects that provide benefit to all who call the unique neighborhood home.
The farm’s managers—our long-time community partners Added Value and Green City Force—are there bright and early each morning tending to not only the soil, but local youth who are discovering new ways of engaging with our city’s urban environment.
At approximately one acre, the farm is also a classroom and a job training site. Green City Force has recruited young women and men living in public housing, who are out of work and out of school, to become full-time agricultural specialists on the farm. For six months, they work alongside Added Value’s experts to learn what it takes to run a farm from seed to market, and pass on what they’ve learned to students from nearby schools who visit.
In addition to free distributions for families in need, produce is being sold at Added Value’s weekly farmers market. Revenue will support the stipends of Green City Force’s youth farmers.
Brooklyn Community Foundation is proud to fund Added Value’s work at the Red Hook Houses farm, which is a key component of our new initiative to empower public housing neighborhoods through healthy eating and active living. Stay tuned for much more information on this transformative effort in the weeks and months ahead!