Places that Matter

Brownsville Student Farm Project

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Architects Saranga Nakhooda and Devin Lafo construct the chicken coop, 2012
Architects Saranga Nakhooda and Devin Lafo construct the chicken coop, 2012
Brownsville Student Farm Project, 2012
Farmer Nora Painten discusses the summer's tomato harvest, 2012
Painten displays an eggplant grown on the farm, 2012
Farm founders at work, 2012
First pumpkins, 2012
Formerly abandoned Brownsville lot reclaimed as an educational farm
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Place Matters Profile

Brownsville, a neighborhood located in southeastern Brooklyn, is often associated with the former Margaret Sanger Clinic (opened in 1916, it was the first birth control clinic in the United States), the 1962 union strike at Beth El (now Brookdale) Hospital, and the bitter Ocean Hill-Brownsville school strike of 1968.  In the first half of the 20th century, Brownsville was renowned as the home of the largest community of working-class Jews in New York; since the second half the 20th century it has gained notoriety for its high density of public housing complexes, and its complex web of social, economic and political challenges. But between the tall towers and formidable statistics is a resilient neighborhood with a long history of social activism and a strong network of community organizations. Among the newest are Nora Painten and the Brownsville Student Farm Project, an 8,000 square-foot educational farm that now anchors the corner of Rockaway and Sutter Avenues.