“One day I just decided, it sure would be nice to turn it into a garden,” she said.
And so, with little gardening experience, having grown up in Washington Heights, and a desire to help her community, Radzinsky founded Bushwick City Farm.
In the summer of 2008, a group of volunteers filed into the lot at 897 Broadway and got to work.
“It seemed obvious to me,” she said, “you want to produce food, you want a green space, you have to build a garden.”
Radzinsky entered an agreement with the landlords of the properties allowing Bushwick City to use the space free-of-charge if it performs all maintenance work.
The farms, at the Broadway location and the other at 354 Stockton Street, provide free food, including eggs from their on-site chickens, and clothing to Bushwick residents in need.
They offer educational seminars on gardening and the English language, and host school trips and visits from JobPath NYC, which helps people with disabilities obtain job training.
Bushwick City also built a garden for P.S. 123, and will start building another for P.S. 377 this month.
The organization is still developing its 10,000-square-foot Stockton location, which was a dump that was abandoned 30 years ago, Radzinsky said. Like at the Broadway location, volunteers cleared out debris and also built the fence around the property.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said.
She referred to the new site as an “edible garden,” complete with a fruit orchard, more chickens and a vegetable garden. It will also have a recreation center.
“Our main goal is to provide free food for those in need in our community,” Radzinsky said.
Bushwick City’s other programs developed organically, she said, to meet other needs in its community.
“I’ve always believed that you make yourself what you want to see around you,” she said. “This is kind of what that is, it’s the community coming together and building it on their own for themselves.”
For more information, visit Bushwickcityfarm.wordpress.com.