Compost Blog

Bused Into the Bronx

FOUND IN: Community, Education, Garden Design, The Farm on August 22, 2011
A community farm surrounded on all sides by transit. Buses, cars and trains provide an urban hum while the gardens are tended by locals at La Finca Del Sur.

Like kids on a school day, we were shuffled into yellow buses. With knees gouging the seat in front, I imagined the days when fitting comfortably in this tiny space might have been possible.

Today's field trip was being organized by the American Community Gardening Association as a part of the 32nd Annual Conference being held at Columbia University's Manhattan campus. Our assignment would bring us to the Bronx. I'd never been there, so the idea of traipsing on new ground looking at their community gardens peaked my interest. There were amazing things happening in challenging situations. The people we met had vision, believed in the power of their communities and realized that the garden could make it all happen.

Rainwater collection systems were the norm at almost all the sites we visited. Notice how the roof is tied into the gutter and runs through pipes to the collection tank.
A Tats Cru mural colors a small community garden as a part of The Point, a community youth development center in the South Bronx. The mural is one of many as this is also Tats Cru's headquarters.
Most gardens get their city water from a hydrant on the street.
A conference participant eyes a plot through the decorative enclosure.
The garden oasis known as El Flamboyan Community Garden has many different nationalities represented, making it a melting pot for interesting growing techniques and vegetable varieties. All were surrounded by neighborhood highrise housing.
Bees and chickens were found in several gardens. Barriers were not used to keep anyone away from the bee hives. Local children's groups assisted in monitoring the hive activity and harvesting honey. We were told fruit tree production had escalated since the bees were introduced into the garden.