Joan Bartolomeo, president of the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), spoke about the project at a Community Board 1 meeting on Wednesday, November 14. Overall, the concept is to create an “urban farm site” to grow produce that would end up on the table of Williamsburg residents.
The 2,500-square-foot lot at 104 Moore Street is currently vacant and in disrepair. Bartolomeo proposes that the community take over the lot and create a farm to grow food that would be sold in local markets, such as the neighboring Moore Street Market.
Along with becoming an eyesore, the lot is making for a dangerous situation on that part of the street as well. A woman and child were recently hit by a car because of the lack of lights.
“Developing the lot will create safety on that corner,” said Bartolomeo.
One member of the community board asked why the Moore Street Market can't use its roof for growing produce. Bartolomeo said that they have looked into roof farming, but with a large air conditioning unit and lack of space it would be easier to just use the lot that is in the market's backyard.
However, she said that the market has looked into using the roof to collect runoff rainwater to use for the farm. “It seems like a a really terrific thing to add to the market,” she said.
As for funding, Bartolomeo said the farmers will raise the money and volunteers will maintain the farm. She also said that not only would the farm provide fresh produce, it would be used as an educational tool for the area's youth.
Yemi Amu, Bartolomeo's “gardening partner,” uses gardens and farms to teach children how to improve their diets and attitudes about food. In Bedford-Stuyvesant, Amu has used community gardens to show children the benefits of growing their own food for the past three years.
“We want to raise money so we can turn the urban farm into a summer camp for children and a workshop for adults,” she told board members.