Urban farmers take over vacant Bushwick lot, rent free

August 10, 2011 04:01PM

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From left: The lot at 354 Stockton Street as it originally looked and progress on the farm (credit: Bushwick City Farm)

Bushwick City Farm, a neighborhood volunteer organization, has taken over a long-vacant 9,000-square-foot lot in Bushwick with plans to install a vegetable garden, a chicken coop and an organic orchard to produce free food for the community, the website BushwickBK reported.

The lot at 354 Stockton Street near the corner of Lewis Avenue has been abandoned for 30 years and is currently owned by a Forest Hills-based entity called Toxo and Arrow Proper, which purchased it in 2004, public records show. Since then, it has been home to a whole host of illegal activities, including squatting, garbage dumping and even violence. Last June, there was a homicide committed on the site.

Bushwick City Farm seized the opportunity to take over the site, waited there for a while, and then began clearing the way for a farm April 30, BushwickBK reported. The police have not said a word. “Everyone knows we don’t own that land, we don’t pay rent,” said Masha Radzinsky, one of the heads of the urban farm organization. “And nobody minds.”

They expect the farm to be fully functional by the fall. [BushwickBK]