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Brownsville Farm Saved Just Before Scheduled Eviction

By EastBrooklyn Staff
In Brownsville
Jan 31st, 2017

A Brownsville farm that helps people understand the importance of fresh food was saved just one day before its scheduled eviction.

As early as one month ago, the future of Green Valley Farm looked grim, but in the 11th hour there was a change of plans.

Supporters include the Green Valley Farmers led by Ms. Brenda Duchene; the Offices of New York City Council Member Inez Barron and State Assembly Member Charles Barron; Paula Z. Segal, 596 Acres; Joy Simmons, Operation P.O.W.E.R.; Mr. Paul Muhammad, Co-Chair of Economic Development Committee of Community Board 5; United Community Centers/ East New York Farms; the Coalition for Community Advancement; The Brownsville Culinary School; 60th Assembly District Male District Leader, Keron Alleyne, Just Food, Help 1, Bed Stuy Restoration, East NY Restoration LDC, Green City Force, Pitkin Ave Business Improvement District, East New York Farms!, and many others.

The Green Valley Community Farm has been a Brownsville staple, and one of the only sources of fresh-grown local produce in the area, since the 1990s.

In December 2015, the Mayor’s office recognized its importance to the community and dedicated the garden property as parkland to be used as a community garden and stewarded through the GreenThumb program of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

But now the farm at 93 New Lots Ave, with its year round green house, bee hives, fruit trees, education center, and more is in imminent danger of being destroyed by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). HPD has announced plans to sell the land to a private developer for a nominal price of $4 so that the developer can construct 12 units of housing.

Green Valley has been warned by HPD that it will be evicted at the end of January to make way for this deal.

Meanwhile another City entity, the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative, a New York City Mayoral initiative, has sent Green Valley farm a request to partner “to improve access to affordable fresh produce grown in community gardens.” BHC reached out to Green Valley because it has identified Brownsville as one of twelve neighborhoods with “their low access to healthy food and historic lack of investment in parks and open space,” and that bears “the heaviest burden of chronic disease and poor health in New York City.”

“In these communities, community gardens are often an essential resource for green space and fresh produce, providing gathering spaces, opportunities for outdoor activity, and access to fresh food,” BHC continues.

“This City request supports the community’s conviction that the Green Valley Farm must be saved especially as a building with over 500 units, bringing in nearly 1,500 new residents, is being developed right across the street,” says Council Member Barron.

The Green Valley Farm administrator, Brenda Duchene comments, “We’re in a food desert, and there’s no other community-based farm like us. We will fight this to the end.”

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