Urban Agriculture: East New York: Local Farmers

Urban Agriculture: East New York is a documentary video in five chapters that explains how East New York’s urban agriculture movement evolved. Each chapter is dedicated to one piece of a complicated process: a portrait of a veteran local farmer in her garden; a trip to the East New York farmer’s market; a look at asset mapping analysis by the Pratt Center; land transfers from HPD to Green Thumb; and the investment in the neighborhood’s youth made by agricultural organizers and experts.

In this piece, we meet Johanna Willens, the first farmer to sell her produce at the East New York Farmers’ Market in 1998.

For all you budding urban farmers out there, here are some DIY tips to get you started on your own community garden:
First, the materials:

The New York City Compost Project
Gardens Alive

Then, some community workshops:
Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Gardening Page
Green Thumb NYC

And finally, some tip sheets and online resources:
The City Farms Tipsheet

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.


Community Gardener January 7, 2009

This is a great example of how real grassroots community gardens benefit neighborhoods and city residents! The woman profiled in this video reaps the same real benefits from her garden as I have from my community garden: from the tangible (fresh vegetables) to the emotional (a sense of pride and connection to nature) to the social (real community building and working out problems with neighbors).
There is an important distinction between gardens like this one and the corporate-sponsored “community” gardens run by organizations like NY Restoration Project, in which outside designers are brought into the neighborhood to create spaces that are more about making artistic statements than building community. Those can be pretty parks, but their contributions to the neighborhood too often end there.

mark January 7, 2009

“Urban Agriculture” have been existed and practiced in Switzerland for a long time. For a while I’ve been travelling in Europe … and during my visit in Switzerland I saw Urban Farms that are old as the farmers are (60-70 yrs or more). Although, Switzerland is small, and has over 7 million populations,… almost every city, every community has its own gardens in different part of the city. It amazed me because that’s a “normal” thing to have… they told me. Who wants to have one, he/she goes to city, and applies for. And he/she gets for free land, water, and light, with the condition that you keep it in order, the Swiss-order!

ian marcuse November 27, 2009


Is it possible to get a dvd copy of this film?


faslanyc January 21, 2010

very interesting profile of the garden/gardener, especially when contrasted with a professional version (designer/park). Potentially a lot of interesting parallels and contrasts there. I like how fecund the garden is on the opening shot- when she’s saying “a lot of food comes out…”. It still retains that abandoned lot aesthetic; kind of cool, and makes agriculture very normal.

thanks for the profile.