Vacant Land

In Brooklyn, there are 596 acres of vacant, city-owned land, according to 596 Acres, a group that identified all the vacant lots in the borough and have been helping community members start gardens on that land. What better way to use these neglected lots than to grow healthy food, create a sense of community, and … Continue reading

Listen to the Land

  Mark Bittman recently interviewed Wendell Berry — poet, essayist and “the soul of the real food movement” — and gave us thoughts and sentiments that will likely linger in the deep recesses of our minds and rise to the surface at unexpected times. “Every bit of erosion becomes a tiny tragedy,” because soil is … Continue reading

Greenpoint Avenue

Clarity at Snug Harbor

The fog was thick as we drove over the Verrazano Bridge towards Snug Harbor Heritage Farm early Saturday morning. Thick enough to obscure both Staten Island in front, Brooklyn behind, and the harbor beneath us. For all we knew we were driving up an on-ramp into the clouds, driving back or forward in time or … Continue reading

Smart Policies for Food Deserts

We live in a political culture that looks at big problems and (provided we can bring ourselves to admit that the problem exists in the first place) says “nope, too big” or “too expensive.” We howl about big government and worship the false idol of the free market. In effect, by defending the status quo … Continue reading

Sustainability and Skepticism

It is easy to demonize the system of industrial production of meat, to lament the damage it does to the environment (manure runoff and methane), to public health (indiscriminate use of antibiotics on animals ends up creating resistant strains of bacteria that kill thousands of Americans every year), and to the soul or spirit or … Continue reading

Rooftop Potential

Pounds of vegetables harvested per year: 1,000,000. Square footage of growing space: 100,000. Pounds of soil used: 0. Amazing numbers for sure. But apparently they are realistic numbers for BrightFarms, a company that builds rooftop greenhouses and looks to sell the produce to local supermarkets. Yesterday BrightFarms announced plans to build a new hydroponic greenhouse … Continue reading

In the Desert

This weekend, Jews will hold seders to celebrate the holiday of Passover by retelling the story of their exodus from bondage in Egypt, their odyssey from exile to redemption. This is a story universal in scope, as it applies not only to Jews over 3,000 years ago but to anyone who has ever been enslaved. … Continue reading