Awarded $1000 grant at FEAST #13, April 14, 2012
Feedback Farms transforms vacant lots and stalled construction sites into productive temporary farms. The economic downturn of 2008 left many developers unable to break ground or complete construction projects in the five boroughs. While in limbo, these lots often become impromptu trash dumps and rat warrens. Feedback Farms will take over lots at the behest of private landowners and public agencies, maintain and keep them clean, and grow vegetables while improving the aesthetics and safety of the neighborhood. The lots also will become a place for the community to gather, volunteer and learn.
To make mobile farming on small plots feasible, Feedback Farms is conducting research into utilizing labor and resources in the most efficient way. This season we will conduct field experiments, evaluating the labor inputs and yield outputs of growing vegetables in different types of mobile, sub irrigated planters (SIPs) and soil mediums.
These SIPs will have integrated remote monitoring capability and be equipped with tensiometers (moisture sensors), temperature and photo sensors to enable tracking of ambient light, moisture and temperature as well as location, planting date, variety, watering schedule, harvest time, and yield. We hope to learn which SIPs and growing mediums are optimal for urban farming.
Awarded $750 grant at FEAST #13, April 14, 2012
The New York City Ghost Bike Project
Since 2005, at the site of every crash where a bicyclist is killed, we install a Ghost Bike. Bicycles are stripped of extraneous parts, sanded and painted white. Each bicycle is installed below a silk-screened aluminum sign that bears the words: Cyclist Killed Here. With this act, we make visible a tragedy that would otherwise disappear.
The physical construction of Ghost Bikes is laborious. Because we only use bicycles that are otherwise too damaged to restore, parts are difficult to remove and rust is common. Each Ghost Bike requires three cans of flat white spray-paint, one of primer, five sheets of sandpaper, three feet of chain and a padlock. It costs, on average, $30 to construct one Ghost Bike. Last year, the Ghost Bike Project installed 17 Ghost Bikes in New York City.
After seven years of constructing and installing Ghost Bikes, the project now has a critical lull in volunteers and funds. We are at risk of fading away. The few remaining volunteers believe the only way to reignite the project is to gather the hundreds of people who have ever been involved with the project and brainstorm. We propose bringing together the surviving families and friends who have had a relationship with the project, members of the bicycling community and past volunteers, for a public gathering this summer. With the assistance of outside facilitators and a survey for those outside of New York, we will invent ways to sustain this emotionally difficult and labor-intensive project.
Awarded $1200 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012
596 Acres: You Can’t Hold Back Spring Series
596 acres of vacant public land existed in Brooklyn alone as of April 2010 according to the City’s own data. We spent some of last summer distributing maps of where that land is and hanging physical signs identifying particular lots for those who walked by as an experiment (think alternative parks department…). People responded to our signs and we helped forge relationships between neighbors and help those neighbors negotiate with NYC agencies for permission to use previously closed-off land in their neighborhoods to for community-controlled green space and food production.
Six months after we started our experiment, there are four new gardens preparing to build their soil for a spring planting: FEEDback Farms, the Java Street Garden Collaborative, 462 Halsey Community Garden and Myrtle Village Green.
We are also getting ready for spring — spending the winter groundtruthing** the data we have from New York City’s Planning Department, preparing a new broadsheet that will tell the stories the community groups that successfully organized for control of green spaces in their neighborhoods based on information they learned reading our signs on the fences. These stories are the spark. A future of communities determining their own geographic destinies is coming.
We are also making new signs and talking to city agencies that don’t know us yet in order to figure out which lots we should label. We know that Brooklynites are prepared to be in charge of their destiny. We are laying the tracks. We need some rails. Or maybe just a FEAST.
Because you can’t. hold. back. spring.
Awarded $800 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012
The Newtown Creek Armada
Awarded $500 grant at FEAST #12, January 21, 2012
Prison Production: Amplifying Hidden Histories
Prison Production will be a 5-6 week Theater-in-Education residency at Wadleigh Secondary School in Harlem. Two 12th grade economics classes will focus on developing an economic analysis of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex. Five actor-teachers will use theater (in-class dramas, and student role play), to create dialogue and draw connections to history.
Wadleigh is a performing arts school located in a community whose struggle with racial justice has earned historic attention, and whose pioneering spirit in the arts has captured the imaginations of generations of US performers. Today, Harlem faces problems of over-policing, racially-targeted stop-and-frisk policies, and high rates of incarceration. Despite a lack of difference in drug use between racial groups in New York, people of color, and especially black men, are more frequently arrested for drug crimes, and convicted more harshly, than their white counterparts. Meanwhile, private prisons that house these folks are being subsidized by tax dollars to alleviate poverty in largely white upstate communities. Educators and academics have tended to ignore this history, which has been decades in the making.
Prison Production will amplify the urban historical narrative of the US prison industry, particularly its infrequently criticized role in maintaining poverty and racial segregation of the poor for the benefit of the rich.
Wadleigh High School: http://schools.nyc.gov/
The International Day of Soup was a smashing success! Project organizers from FEAST Brooklyn, FEAST Mass, Philly Stake, and Sunday Soup Chicago hosted over 100 diners on October 1st, 2011 to raise a grant in support of the wolrdwide and ever-growing meal-based micro-granting network.
By the end of the night, we had raised $2000. As this was more than we had even planned for, we decided to award $1500 to the winner and $500 to the proposal that came in second place.
The winning proposal came from Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt where organizer Ania Szremski is starting a new micro-granting program. Check out the proposal video below.
The second place proposal came from Sunday Soup in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the organizers will collectively decide with the meal-goers there what to do with the money. Their (highly entertaining) proposal is below.
Overall, ten groups of organizers applied for the grant. All of their proposals are worth a second look. You can find them all here.
A big, hearty thank you to the following folks:
- Portland Stock, FEAST Tampa Bay, and Michele from Cosa Bolle in Pentola for Skyping in live to give toasts during the event.
- Ruben Henriquez for his amazing photobooth.
- Julia Gualtieri and Walker Mettling for screenprinting our aprons.
- Walter Youngblood of KINGLeche Crèmes for his goat milk ice cream.
- Nato Thompson and Creative Time for organizing Living as Form and inviting us to participate.
Int’l Soup Network Dinner organizers — we couldn’t all fit into the frame! (Photo: Ruben Henriquez)
Awarded $200 grant at FEAST #11, July 9, 2011
Brooklyn Diggers’ Imagine 1861 in Greenpoint (The 150th Anniversary of the USS Monitor)
The Brooklyn Diggers are a collective of activists, historians and artists. Our aim is to reclaim the working class psycho-geography of our neighborhoods and to expose ignored perspectives in our history; encouraging residents and visitors to contemplate their lived environment with increased insight and empathy.
For our next project, we will re-create Williamsburg-Greenpoint circa 1861 for a one-day participatory festival along the waterfront, imagining when North Brooklyn waterfront was at the center of national trade and industry. The handiwork of hundreds who occupied this neighborhood would make a major impact on United States Civil War. Our festival will draw visitors into meticulously researched recreations of daily life during this period. This will include demonstrations of old Greenpoint occupations, such as rope making, ship-building and metal-working. Costumed interpreters will engage visitors in conversation. Culinary historians will serve popular dishes from the period. The festival will also give us the opportunity to reconstruct, with participant help, a giant paper-mache model to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the USS Monitor, the Greenpoint-built Civil War ironclad that greatly aided the Union’s victory. A marching band playing Civil War era music to create a festive atmosphere. The event will conclude in a parade celebrating North Brooklyn’s Civil War history.
Our hope that is through immersing visitors in our imagining of Greenpoint-Williamsburg during this important time, we will remind New York City that North Brooklyn has long been a significant place– setting trends not just on the fashion pages of the New York Times, but actually contributing to major events in American History.
Awarded $200 grant at FEAST #11, July 9, 2011
Greenpoint Oil Spill Remediation Oyster Mushroom Pilot Project
Mycoremediation is a term coined by noted mushroom researcher Paul Stamets, who discovered the enzymes and acids that mycelium produces are superb at breaking apart hydrocarbons. Oyster mushrooms gained national attention after the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill, when nearly 60,000 gallons of fuel were dumped into San Francisco Bay. Clean-up workers successfully introduced oyster mushroom spores to help decompose the oil. And once oyster mushrooms run out of food, they die off and decompose naturally, posing no threat to the environment, according to the EPA. 
Meanwhile, here in north Brooklyn: “An estimated 17 to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naptha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute a 55-acre, 25-foot-deep swath of soil in Greenpoint.” 
We therefore seek financial support for an oyster mushroom pilot project, to begin attempting as a community to mycoremediate the oil spill beneath us. We’d buy spore kits and related supplies, to generate a self-replenishing source of mushrooms for this purpose. We’d also seek volunteers to help plant various sites: people’s backyards, city parks, empty lots, the banks of Newtown Creek… We wish to be methodical, learn what works here and why. After this phase we’d ask Paul Stamets to advise us directly, as well as the city’s ecologists (who are already curious). We then would approach Exxon itself, who are obligated to further remediate the spill site.
3. image: http://nymag.com/news/features/32865/index4.html
Awarded $1000 grant at FEAST #11, July 9, 2011
The Step Right Up Program
In ten weeks, students in The Step Right Up Program create an original theatrical production from start to finish: from conceptualization (script writing, storyboarding), to design (costumes, sets, props, lighting, sound) to production (acting, directing, choreography, music, multi-media). Given complete creative freedom, these kids come up with some awesome stuff!
This fall, will be our third year at The Green School. The student population is predominately minority with a high concentration of immigrant students. This is an at-risk community, with 75% of the school’s population living at or below the poverty level. The students come mainly from East Williamburg, Bushwick, East New York, Canarsie, and Bedford Stuyvesant.
Our Teaching Artists have found their community in this same neighborhood. And sadly, right along side a very artistic community, these kids don’t have arts programming unless it is brought in by outside organizations. We are committed to providing this opportunity of creative expression. While our teaching methods encourage resourcefulness, the cost of raw materials does add up. $1,000 would allow us to purchase materials we need to build a set, make costumes and props, as well as purchase lighting and audio equipment.
Thank you for extending this opportunity to the community at large. We look forward to the moment they look out into the audience and see their families and the people that are living, working and creating in their neighborhood (you!) and they can say, yeah, I made this and I’m proud!
Awarded $1000 grant at FEAST #10, February 26, 2011
Since its inception in 2006, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy [GCC] has engaged communities of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Redhook to take an active role in the cleaning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. The GCC organizes volunteers for monthly “Clean and Green” days- weeds are pulled, healthy soil is spread, trees are planted, and debris is removed. In 2010 alone, our growing volunteer force built three street-end parks- all of which filter stormwater before it runs into the canal.
This spring, the GCC is launching the new program “Composting Gowanus!” The vision is to compost the plant material collected from Clean and Greens, together with kitchen scraps from local restaurants, coffee grounds from coffee shops, sawdust from woodshops, and organic byproducts from other local sources. The compost will serve as a soil amendment at canal street-end parks and produce a supply of healthy organic matter available to the community.
The goal for this first year is to distribute 5-gallon buckets to our local restaurant partners (the number of buckets per business will depend on need). Our volunteers will pick up the buckets weekly via bicycle and trailer. The food scraps will be composted and reintroduced into the community as soil nutrients -thus CLOSING THE LOOP.
We have the volunteers!
Clean and Greens are planned!
Compost bins are built!
Partnerships with local businesses are happening!
What we need now:
- A moisture meter scale
- A compost thermometer
- Composting Gowanus! stickers [for buckets and business windows]
- 2 bicycle trailers
- Wood Chipper/Shredder
- Your support!