OK, many of you, or well most of you, may not be aware of my my interest in urban farming and I've been working on a project I'm so proud to share!
I have been a volunteer with The Friends of Brook Park in the South Bronx for 3 years and have met some wonderful urban gardeners there. This neighborhood is ravaged by childhood obesity, asthma and poverty. You wouldn't believe that 38% of the residents live BELOW the poverty line! Right here in New York City. The South Bronx is the poorest community in the US! Not good. We need to do better here, New York!
So, what can we do about this? Well, we applied for a grant from Just Food and we got it! What was the grant? Well this was part of Just Food's City Chickens program and they provided materials, staff and 15 chickens for an urban chicken coop in Brook Park - located in the heart of the South Bronx! We worked with volunteers from all 5 boroughs (we even have one volunteer travel from Staten Island to work both days for the build). We also had generous support from The Citizens Committee (we received a grant from them through their changeby.us program), and we had volunteers from buildon.org.
This coop will do many things for the community:
- This can provide an educational platform for local students to learn about food, science and art. We will provide classes for local schools and families.
- The chickens will provide free fresh, local, and delicious eggs for the weekly volunteers!
- The chickens will participate in the local ecosystem by eating veggie scraps and adding to the garden's compost.
- The chickens are fun to watch and have already brought new people to the park!
- We will be putting interested people in touch with Just Food to join their Chicken Trainer program where they can learn how to lead classes and workshops and get paid for their work.
- The park is a safe place for students to go to after school, and students can volunteer and help with the chicken duties! Who knows, maybe we can spark some interest in urban farming in these young minds!
This is a wonderful opportunity and we are so grateful for all of the support! Our 15 lovely hens were delivered from the Queens County Farm Museum on Monday and we are all so happy to welcome them to our neighborhood! The coop looks amazing - we are putting together a mural project through my friend Colleen Lonergan of Paint 4 Color to work with kids to paint an urban farm scene on the side of the coop!
You can click here to see our Brook Park Chickens website. We will be posting regularly. We posted more photos of the build and the new coop and we will have a time-lapse video of the entire project posted soon!!!!!!
Everyone is invited to the park! If you want to learn more about our upcoming classes & workshops, email me. This is not a CSA or co-op - we are 100% supported by volunteers & donors! Want to donate? Click here.
Hope you can visit!