Callaloo and Collard Greens: Every Brooklyn Garden Tells a Story

“Everyone was so proud of the garden…” said Dr. Melony Samuels, founder of Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger (BSCAH). “We had yielded 1200 pounds the first year.”

BSCAH’s Green Teen Leader, Jenae Joseph, whose family hails from Guyana, walked us through the production garden. She is a college student who helps manage the gardens, the weekly farmers’ market, and the teens who learn how to farm each summer.

Listen to Dr. Melony Samuels and Jenae Joseph.

Cultivating Healthy Communities

After the success of their first community garden that was harvested in a small lot behind the BSCAH office, Dr. Samuels and her team worked to gain a larger empty lot at the corner of Fulton and Saratoga Streets–just minutes from Brownsville and Crown Heights. They found a partner in the Mott Hall Middle School, situated across the street from the lot. Over the last two years they have developed a small production farm now known to everyone in the neighborhood as Saratoga Garden.

These gardens have a profound impact in these communities. Within months of their first harvest at the Saratoga production garden, BSCAH’s volunteer base–largely immigrants from various Caribbean islands–yielded enough vegetables to stock their food pantry that feeds 400 families a day, 30,000 people a month.

Meet the Caribbean women who farm Central Brooklyn in part 1 of “Callaloo and Collard Greens”

In Brownsville, whether they live in public housing across Livonia Avenue, or own one of  the 2-story houses that line the surrounding blocks, many families have their own plot of fresh vegetables in the Powell Street Garden. From that same garden, Brenda Duchene and volunteers stock the neighborhood’s first weekly farmers market–just steps from the Junius Street 3-line Subway entrance, and minutes away from neighboring East New York.

Listen to Brenda Duchene and Dr. Melony Samuels.

Co-produced by Ayinde Jean-Baptiste, creator of DrumLanguage, a podcast which examines the black experience across the African diaspora. Brooklyn-born and Chicago-bred, Ayinde’s digital home is ThunderMakingWords.com.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.

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