"Midwood" is the Anglicized variation of Midwout, a dutch word that describes a location between two wooded areas. Midwood is a neighborhood in the south-central part of Brooklyn. It is bounded by Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn College and the Bay Ridge Branch freight line tracks. Midwood began as a Dutch farming settlement, later turned English. Today, the neighborhood is known for its diverse polyglot community. Midwood has been home to some of the country's most important cultural figures, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Senator Bernie Sanders.
In the early 1900's, private developers constructed the Flatbush Malls, a series of grass medians along Albemarle Road. The malls were meant to be communal oases for the neighborhood's residents. Our team is in the process of turning a mall on East 17th Street into a Victory Garden. A Victory Garden is an urban farm. Victory Gardens once supplied 40% of the city's food. The term, Victory Garden, was first used in the WWII era. It was used to describe urban farming initiatives encouraged by the federal government and executed at a local level. These efforts made local communities more food secure in a time of scarcity. We are currently facing another global crisis due to COVID-19. New York City was already in a food crisis before coronavirus. 2.5 million people were grappling with food insecurity. Now, that number has risen to over 3 million.
Our goal is to create an expansive network of Victory Gardens in Midwood, utilizing the Flatbush Malls. Victory Gardens will include community beds and small chicken coops. Community beds will be open to all who want to be stewards of the space and produce food. The chicken coops will also help us produce food and support the gardens through compost production.
Food should be right for all people, this can be done through a local food system. Having space to cultivate food is an important step to meet the food needs of a population. We are building garden beds out of reclaimed wood from junk pallets. By repurposing these pallets, we're saving them from the land fill and building in an economically efficient way. Once the beds are built, the gardening process will be streamlined. The only maintenance required will be adding compost, planting seeds, and weeding. We want to do our part in establishing this space and making sure the community is part of this process.
Chickens were domesticated thousands of years ago and have been a part of agriculture since. Hens are amazing providers with their almost limitless supply of eggs. Usually animal agriculture is separated from plant cultivation but this isn’t how a thriving ecosystem should function. In nature, plants and animals are all interconnected with their environment. We hope to mimic nature on our farms and have plants and animals integrated into one system. Chicken’s create waste in the form of nitrogen and if composted properly this nitrogen can be used by plants. Compost is essential for building soil and cultivating plants. Our vision for this location is to have chickens make compost for the garden and eat food waste from local business and residences.
"We propose for the Bay Ridge Branch freightline to be converted into agricultural commons. Our proposal upholds values from the Great Law of Peace; commons and ecosystem services, diversity within unity, sovereignty within an interdependent world and clear responsibility for the commons."