Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Home Grown

I'm not entirely sure that Malcolm X had urban agriculture in mind when he spoke so passionately of self-sufficient communities, but I think the Malcolm X Boulevard Community Farmers Market, on his namesake avenue in Bed-Stuy at Chauncey St., would make him smile. A good chunk of the food (everything in the first photo) is grown up the street at the Bed-Stuy Farm, which grows fresh produce for the Brooklyn Rescue Mission food pantry. The market accepts WIC, EBT, and FMNP food program coupons, and has some remarkably competitive prices (the peppers were cheaper than those at most GreenMarkets) for the scale of the operation. They also bring out a few other local produce vendors, and even offer fresh fish when they can. Locally produced food for the homeless and hungry, with excess sold down the street to a community that wants for fresh produce? Any advocate of community empowerment can get behind that.

Also present when I was there on October 30th were the apple-pressing crowd (photo number 2) from the Wyckoff Farmhouse, the oldest building in New York City. They were handing out free, fresh apple cider, pressed while we watched, and advertising for the Dutch Days, an upcoming festival that celebrates a somewhat forgotten part of New Amsterdam's heritage. Combined with the stately beauty of Stuyvesant Heights and the postcard-blue sky, the cider made for a perfect autumn day in Bed-Stuy.

The market is open every Friday from 12-6 PM, and the Dutch Days run from Wednesday November 12th to Sunday the 16th. To get to the market, take the A to Utica, and make sure to walk west along Chauncy with a crisp apple to admire the brownstones when you go. Yet another great way to spend the remaining walkable afternoons.

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