2010 was an exciting year and one of tremendous growth for our fledgling nonprofit organization,
devoted to addressing food and environmental justice issues on a grassroots level here in Brooklyn, New York.
EcoStation hit the ground running early in 2010: While most gardens were fast asleep for the season, January’s mild weather allowed us to break ground on the Secret Garden Farm, located on the grounds of the .75-acre Linden-Bushwick Community Garden. This garden is on privately owned land; it’s owners, the Adipietros, have been supporters of the garden since its beginnings in the 1970s. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Adipietro Family and to garden founder, Avellar Hansley, for their community spirit and leadership.

The Linden-Bushwick Community Garden has seen remarkable growth in the past several years with the generous support from New York City Council Member Diana Reyna and the guidance of Green Guerillas, our fiscal sponsor and patient mentors. Many other organizations have made substantial donations of time or resoursces as well, including GreenThumb, NYC Parks Department's Land Restoration Project, and hundreds of volunteers.

The section sited for the Secret Garden Farm had gone unused for many years, and had become populated with tenacious weeds and shrubs. Work began by clearing the land the old fashioned way, removing stumps and large rocks with pickaxes and elbow grease. Larger rocks were incorporated into a new stone wall nearby; the stumps became part of a mushroom-growing project that would catch the eye of The New York Times in April, who dubbed project director (and EcoStation co-founder) Kendall Morrison the “Mushroom Man.”

Click for a popup slide show
of EcoStation in action, 2010!
As early-sprouting green peas began poking out of the ground, soil test results revealed elevated levels of lead (unfortunately not uncommon in urban gardens). Our initial enthusiasm now turned to concern, and we immediately set about a course of remediation, realizing that the surrounding community garden would have to change to a raised bed system as the farm space had done to ensure the purity of the food grown there. It would be a massive undertaking.

We reached out to New York Cares, who responded by generously providing a small army of volunteers, and the materials to build over 50 large, lined beds. Truckloads of clean soil, donated by GreenThumb and Green Guerillas, were brought in, later improved by the incorpoation of organic compost produced on-site in our seven-bin composting system that is the envy of many a garden.

Composting is just one of the many interesting organic techniques employed at the Secret Garden Farm, where we planted a wide variety of vegetables to be sold at our markets, and welcomed groups of visitors and volunteers all season, ranging from young students to seniors - to participants in the highly-touted Farm City tour, led by Derek Denckla (part of FIAF's innovative Crossing the Line 2010 festival). We were proud to become a member of Just Food’s City Farms network, and thank Earth Matter for their composting wisdom.

< Hands On New York Day 2010: New York Cares rallies support
for the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden.

In April, EcoStation made its first of many public appearances for the season, tabling at the Hope Gardens Health Fair. We were honored when Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez stopped by and vowed her support.

EcoStation celebrated Earth Week 2010 with a full slate of events, including a bus trip to Brooklyn Botanic Garden with seniors from New York City Housing Authority’s Palmetto Gardens, a lively fundraiser held at Bushwick Bike Shop, and an inter-generational event featuring a visit from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, live music, and a heart-healthy cookout.

The arrival of Earth Day itself was heralded with EcoStation’s first-ever Earth Day Secret Garden Sunrise Summit, featuring an open-air pancake breakfast, live music, and a ritual “turning of the compost pile” in the Secret Garden Nature Preserve. Our outreach focused on inviting local educators to discover the Secret Garden and use it as a hands-on “living classroom” for teaching their students about native ecosystems.

A full month ahead of most, Bushwick Farmers’ Market reopened for the season in May. This would be our second year managing the market. Under the direction of EcoStation co-founder Travis Tench, 2009 had seen the market attract many new customers and vendors. Happily, this trend would continue.

In June we assumed operation of the long-standing Saturday market at Maria Hernandez Park, annointed Bushwick Farmers’ Market 2, followed by the opening of the all-new Bushwick Farmers’ Market 3 at the Myrtle-Wyckoff MTA station, in August.

It should be pointed out that the running of these markets is not quite as simple as it might appear: EcoStation works closely with Brooklyn’s Department of Health and is a member of the Farmers Market Federation of New York, and participates in all social service programs available – all to make our markets accessible to as many people as possible.

In 2010, we were ecstatic to welcome four new farms to the growing EcoStation family - all of them minority and family owned - and most through GrowNYC’s great New Farmer Development Project.

Abdur and André, Bushwick Farmers' Market's cake and honey purveyors (respectively). >

Through a grant from The Fund for Public Health in New York, we initiated a season-long outreach program, making regular visits to area senior centers, community meetings, and WIC centers, spreading awareness about the markets, and distributing our own Bushwick Farmers’ Market coupons.

In our outreach presentations we discuss not only the markets and the health benefits of eating farm-fresh vegetables, but also how famers’ markets are an important counterbalance to the growing number of “factory farms” that are wreaking so much havoc on our planet’s environment.

Also in July, EcoStation played host to a workshop on native flora in the Secret Garden Nature Preserve. Presented by GreenBridge, the community outreach branch of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the program featured Dr. Randi Eckel of Toadshade Wildflower Farm, who led a discussion about the importance of native plants, followed by a planting of native species brought from her farm.

The Secret Garden Nature Preserve is a 9,000 square-foot grove of mostly Silver maple and Black cherry trees that lies at the back of the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden. It was by far the most polluted section of the lot when EcoStation co-founder, Sean-Michael Fleming, was first introduced to it in 2007, and was the original impetus for his involvement there. The ecological restoration is a long-term project and has involved hundreds of volunteers, this year including AHRC clients, and Natural Resources Group interns from Prospect Park, among others. EcoStation also thanks Action Carting Environmental Services, who has played a crucial role by generously donating substantial carting services.

In early August, EcoStation made a splash at the NYPD's 83rd Precinct's National Night Out in Maria Hernandez Park, preparing super-healthy smoothies with the assistance of an ingenious, human-powered “bike blender” - and the help from the crowd of curious (and thirsty!) onlookers.

< Making friends (and smoothies) at National Night Out at Maria Hernandez Park.

Also in August, in addition to opening our third market, we teamed up with Bushwick United Methodist Church for a “community wellness day,” outside their Bushwick Avenue parish. We first met with church members and planned a heart-healthy menu together, exploring alternatives to the traditional cookout fare of hot dogs and hamburgers. Bushwick Farmers Market’s two outreach coordinators, Cristhian Mora and Christy Cedeno, set up a mini market for the event, featuring a sampling of produce and goods from our regular market vendors. The grilled vegetables and veggie burgers were a surprise hit!

¡CALABAZAFEST!, a cross-cultural celebration of Day of the Dead and Halloween traditions held at Maria Hernandez Park on October 30, was our biggest event to date, mixing food, music, crafts, costumes, and eco-friendly fun. The pumpkin carving - with adjacent composting demonstration - was wildly popular, as was the lineup of great live entertainment, including the all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Local restaurants and businesses, including Tandem, Northeast Kingdom, The Brooklyn Kitchen, Roberta's, and Arepera Guacuco contributed prizes for our cooking competition, and NYPD’s 83rd Precinct donated toys for the costume contests.

Danza Folklorica Basta charms the crowd at ¡CALABAZAFEST! >

Produced with a grant from Citizens Committee for New York City, ¡CALABAZAFEST! brought together a diverse array of community groups, incuding El Puente's Bushwick Leadership Center, Make The Road NY, Bushwick Food Coop, Communal Table, Bushwick Campus Green Team, and Arts in Bushwick. It was amazing, and we thank all our community partners in helping make it such a success.

After Bushwick Farmers’ Markets had closed for the season, EcoStation hosted the Winter Solstice Feast, a fundraiser featuring an impressive spread of food lovingly prepared by the extended EcoStation family, and a silent auction with items generously donated from local artists, bakers, gardeners, and businesses. The event was photographed by Edible Brooklyn magazine.

Also during this “down time,” EcoStation president, Sean-Michael Fleming, spoke with young writers at Still Waters in A Storm as part of The Bushwick Starr’s Big Green Theater Project, and high school students at his alma mater in New Hampshire.

< Late winter visitors from Hope Gardens Community Center,
standing on the site of the future Secret Garden Farm.

EcoStation finished 2010 with the welcome news that Brooklyn Community Foundation has pledged their support for EcoStation and Bushwick Farmers’ Market in 2011. Perhaps more heartwarming still was reviewing the responses to our Bushwick Farmers’ Market customer satisfaction surveys, conducted at all three market locations. More than 200 customers were polled. Their responses indicate that our outreach program and our efforts to create markets that are accessible and inviting to all have paid off: a whopping 82% of Bushwick Farmers’ Market shoppers rated their overall shopping experience as “good” or “excellent” which makes us very proud indeed.

In 2011, EcoStation: NY will continue to innovate, exploring the connections between human and environmental health, and doing our best to improve both. We welcome the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals and community-based organizations in accomplishing this mission.


For more information, or to learn about ways to get involved, eamil Sean (at) EcoStationNY.org, or call 646-393-9305.
EcoStation: NY, Inc. • 130 Palmetto St, Suite 350 • Brooklyn, NY 11221
Earth Week 2010 was kind of an extended "coming out" party for our fledgling nonprofit, EcoStation: NY.
We reached out to diverse neighborhood populations here in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with a slate of six unique events.
We tried to offer something for everyone, from a night of eclectic music in a bike shop accompanied by a locavore's
dream cookout by Bushwick Food Coop, to a trip to Brooklyn Botanic Garden with the seniors of Palmetto Garden Club,
to a "sunrise summit" (yes it was really at 6:05am!) for educators to expeirence the Secret Garden Farm & Nature Preserve.

EcoStation:Bushwick! hits the road for a bus trip with the
Palmetto Garden Club to Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Palmetto Garden Club is for adults & seniors and meets at Palmetto Gardens on Tuesdays @ 10:00am
this event open to Palmetto Garden Club members only
for Educators & Community Leaders
The Secret Garden Farm & Nature Preserve
the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden
Located at the corner of Linden St & Broadway - Bushwick, Brooklyn [map]
Camp-style breakfast & live music • Ritual turning of the compost by Earth Matter NY
Presentation @ 7:00am sharp!
RSVP: [email protected] or call 646-393-9305 • More about the Secret Garden

A Multi-Generational Eco Celebration
Planting with neighbors • Health-smart cookout • Nature crafts with the DEC • Live music
Presented by: NYC Housing Authority's Gardening & Greening Program,
Palmetto Garden Club, Academy of Urban Planning's new Green Team,
Bushwick Farmers' Market, and EcoStation: NY
this event open to Hope Gardens residents only - sorry!

@ Woodbine Street Block Association Garden
Casual opening day open house at this busy neighborhood garden, birthplace of EcoStation:Bushwick!
2:00 - 6:00pm • 146 Woodbine St. • More about the Woodbine St. Garden



New York Cares leads the charge as we take another step in the transformation
of the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden!
this event full - but see May 8 listing below!

Benefit for Bushwick Farmers Market/EcoStation:NY
and Bushwick Food Co-op
with hosts BAND of BICYCLES
Bushwick Bike Shop
1342A Dekalb Avenue [map]
Cookout 4:00 - 7:00pm
Film 7:00pm "No Impact Man" (2009)t & Discussion
Music 9:00pm Music by BROOKLYN COUNTY FAIR (final lineup TBA)
$10 suggested donation or wotugot (cash bar & cookout)

Our inaugural meeting! Bring a dish & some seed packets to share.
Come socialize with other neighborhood gardeners and help plan a summer garden tour.
2:00pm - 6:00pm @ Woodbine Street Garden, 146 Woodbine St.
RSVP: [email protected] • More about the Woodbine St. Garden


no it's not even close to an Earth Week event but since you're here...

Slow Food NYC and its supporters descend upon the Linden-Bushwick Community Garden
(home of the Secret Garden Farm & Nature Preserve) for a rockin' day of wheelbarrows and dirt!
Cookout & refreshments for volunteers
10:00am - 6:00pm
Corner of Linden St & Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn
J Train to Gates Ave; B52 Bus to Gates & Broadway [map]

For more information about these events email [email protected] or call 646-393-9305

EcoStation: NY, Inc. • 130 Palmetto St, Suite 350 • Brooklyn, NY 11221