Past, Present, Future of Food: Bushwick, Brooklyn
A(n Urban) (Farm) Salon
March 7, 2009
1:00 to 4:00
Brooklyn Public Library, Bushwick Branch
340 Bushwick Avenue, L train to Montrose stop

Update 2.25.09

Thank you for all of the positive response we have received about this event! Just to be clear, this is going to be a discussion, not a lecture or panel. The format is inspired by the junto, a type of event I recently became aware of in Philadelphia. From Wikipedia: “The Junto was a club established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin for mutual improvement in Philadelphia. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.” Be ready to talk!

In addition, we have to warn you that as of now we have NO FOOD! It will come as no surprise to this group that in late February the good soil (or bad soil depending where you live) of Brooklyn is not producing a bounty of fruits and vegetables. Should anyone be interested in donating food or drink so that we can all munch during our chat, please contact us.

That is all! See you on the 7th!


What is this place, Bushwick, Brooklyn? At one point it was all farmland, and (with a little help from Queens) farmers raised enough food to feed the metropolis that New York City was already in the 18th and 19th century. There were farms everywhere. But today? There are trees here and there, maybe a couple of gardens in the middle of buildings, you can see dirt some places, but food is not made here. Food can be bought – anything you can imagine from around the world can be found here – but grown?

On March 7, as part of the Arts in Bushwick SITE Festival, we will explore how Brooklyn and Bushwick in particular went from being so rich an agricultural community to the desert it is today, and we’ll talk about what people can and ARE doing to grow food here. How did it happen that all the land was developed? What kind of food can you get to eat here now? What’s made here? Is it good for you in any way, shape, or form? Do Twinkies count as food? How about Cup-O-Noodles? Is ketchup a vegetable? What do you have to do to get healthy food? Assuming that as animals, land, earth, plants, other animals (human or not), and agriculture are important to us, what should we do about it? We have rooftops, streets, empty lots, and plenty of light. We have water. What can we grow? What would happen if we ripped up Metropolitan Avenue and planted corn and potatoes? What would happen to the community? The price of homes? Could we raise fish in English Kills? Would people in Woodhull Hospital benefit fig trees in front of the building? Would juvenile crime decrease if teens had beans and beets to take care of or knew how to make bread out of the wheat they grew?

We will pose these questions and many more to a group of people that eat in Bushwick and that have some vested interest in their community. That means everyone. Hopefully you. We invite community activists, librarians, teachers, conservationists, urban planners, cooks, business owners, nutritionists, moms and dads and kids, writers, architects, physicists, gardeners, more kids, puppies, nuns, griffons, ghosts, clowns, vampires, artists, – anyone that can eat food, solid, mashed up or dripped in on an IV is welcome to come and to discuss the state of food in Bushwick in a completely open forum.

What else do you need to know?

There will be food and drink
There will not be a panel
You may be called on, by anyone
You will be encouraged to say things you may think are stupid
People will be interested in what you have to say

Who are we?

Gabe McMackin is a cook that lives in Brooklyn
Nate Hill is a Librarian that lives in Brooklyn

How do you get a hold of us?

gabemcmackin at gmail dotcom

nathanielhill at gmail dotcom