North Brooklyn Farms Is Laying New Roots This Spring

Williamsburg is going to start producing produce again. After packing up its goods at the end of September, North Brooklyn Farms (329 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn) is getting ready to sprout up on more permanent ground for the coming season.

The farm relocated across the street from its original location, usurping the former site of the Domino refinery building; the plot of land is coming back bigger and better than before. "Our intention is to continue the spirit of the project with what was successful in Havemeyer and expand upon it," says Ryan Watson, North Brooklyn Farms co-founder. "We weren't sure in the beginning, but the goals are clear now; we know what the community wants."

Situated right on the East River, the new space will feature similar elements to the previous plot — the actual farm, an open lawn, Brooklyn Bike Park, the Sunday supper series — but it will include new and improved components such as more shaded areas, a covered patio, pick-your-own produce, grass craters and recliners, a series of workshops, and new dinner options.

Everything grown on site is organic, and to remedy the potential contaminants in the ground, soil is brought in from outside the city (a necessary practice in urban farming). The usual kale, tomatoes, herbs, and flowers will be grown. However, heirloom vegetables will also be cultivated, such as the indigo rose tomato, a varietal in which the skin turns purple when it's hit by the sun. "Our job as a farm space in the city is to show people there aren't just six varieties of vegetables," says Watson. "There's such a plethora you just don't see in the supermarkets."

While the previous plot was cultivated with a lease that only lasted for two years, this new area will be a permanent public space set aside from the site's developer, Two Trees Management Company. North Brooklyn Farms is on a year-to-year lease for the next three to five years. Even so, there is room to continue on, as it is a fixed park. "When we first built the farm, it was a temporary project," says Watson. "We were funded through Kickstarter, and we got the support of the neighborhood to keep going. For the past year, it was in the background; if things continued to be successful, we'd keep going."

There is no definite date for the launch, but the team is currently hoping for Memorial Day weekend. The building has already been demolished and the land has been prepped (although, with constantly changing construction timelines, delays are always possible).

For those looking to get their hands dirty, there is a volunteer sign-up on the website. North Brooklyn Farms is looking for help with the initial construction and throughout the season. Visit wp.northbrooklynfarms.com.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.




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