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by intern Shauna Nep

As anyone in my life will attest to, I talk a lot about the benefits of a neighborhood farm for a community. However, it is not often that I have the opportunity to contribute hands-on to the creation of one.

Fortunately- I had the chance to get my hands deep in the dirt last Friday as I joined an inspired and diverse group of volunteers in building a Neighborhood Farm at Ujima Community Garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Slow Food NYC has adopted the Ujima garden, which has become overrun with inhospitable weeds, to create a youth farm.

Sandra Mclean, Slow Food NYC’s Leadership Committee Chair, shared with us their plan for the farm, which includes a spiral vegetable bed (um- awesome!), a flagstone meeting area surrounded by a “Three Sisters Garden”, a chicken coop, bees, and even bean teepees that are big enough to crawl inside of. Slow Food NYC will use this amazing space to host a “Good Food and Gardens” program this summer, and WATCH high school students will care for it in the fall.

As we spent the day cutting brush, digging out stumps, clearing rocks and chopping down trees, I was mindful of how my small role would contribute to the big picture: the creation of a farm and a beautiful space to be used, enjoyed, and cared for by the community.

I cannot wait to see how it turns out.