The Child Development Support Corporation (CDSC) is a non-profit organization in Bedford-Stuyvesant that provides a wide range of services to the community, helping families and individuals to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. Keeping with that theme, CDSC approached Boswyck Farms to create an indoor hydroponic farm to provide their food pantry with fresh produce year-round, giving the pantry and its clients autonomy in food selection that was otherwise dictated by circumstance.
Finding a Way with United Way
Securing funding for the grow room with a grant from United Way of New York City’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) Seed Grant for urban farming, CDSC asked Boswyck Farms to design and build a two-tiered raft hydroponic system in 250 square feet of their facility in Bed-Stuy. With the help of Americorps and community volunteers, the CDSC farm was ready to start sowing seeds by the end of March 2011. After two months of construction, the first harvest at CDSC took place in May.
Fresh Picked by Pantry Clients
Like the design and building process, system maintenance, farming and harvest is managed entirely by volunteers. Harvests take place a few hours before the pantry is open to clients for distribution. Clients are always welcome to pick their own produce right from the systems, connecting them to a new local source of food and providing a sense of autonomy.
Currently, the grow room is entirely dedicated to lettuce, bok choi and collard green production. However the systems can also be easily utilized to grow other types of greens and herbs the community desires.