Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farmers being evicted from abandoned lot

From the Daily News:

The Jacksons began farming around the mission on Bainbridge St. in 2004, after seeing that much of the emergency food doled out to poor families was filling, but not healthy - canned and packed with sugar and salt.

Two years later, the couple adopted the lot on Decatur St., which had become a weed-clogged garbage dump and neighborhood eyesore. They turned it into a garden that produces 7,000 pounds of food a year, including zucchini, collard greens, tomatoes and broccoli.

A nonprofit housing developer, Neighborhood Partnership HDFC, had earlier bought the land from the city to renovate an old house into affordable units, but structural problems forced the developer to raze the building. The lot sat empty until the Jacksons started the farm.

HPD spokeswoman Catie Marshall said Neighborhood Partnership needs to recoup around $275,000 in costs.

The city generally sells these parcels for $1 to developers to build affordable housing. But when the developer doesn't build the housing, why do they get to keep it and sell it at market value? The city should buy it back for $1 and let these people stay. Except that would help feed less fortunate people and not developers' bank accounts.

Since the city is offering other parcels of city-owned land to the farmers, then they could also arrange for the developer to get that land instead and allow the farm to stay where it is.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Crappy, your way makes too much sense and is too charitable.

Anonymous said...

Look into these $1 deals further; I know the Doe Fund, a fave charity of Hisdishonor also got a $1 building. The recipients should not be able to turn this around and sell at a profit. This is a scandal. It is our money!! Call in the Feds!!

Erik Baard said...

I visited the Brooklyn Rescue Mission as part of a tour given by World Hunger Year in the spring. I was quite impressed by how practical and idealistic the Jacksons are. The pantry has standard market foods, including canned tuna, to cover some basic caloric and protein needs but then adds to it the fresh vegetables needed for vitamins and enzymes crucial to health.

They have a very mild, reasonable approach to making use of this land (an extension of their own sliver of farmland) -- the lot was adjacent and unfenced -- eschewing confrontation and protest and relying on the obvious value of their work.

If they secure the land for continued use, they'll score one for reason and civility on top of the environmental and nutritional benefits.