When Inhabitat stopped for a visit, Meg Paska, aka the Brooklyn Homesteader, was tending to seedlings. What started as a love for homebrewing and gardening in Baltimore quickly evolved into a beekeeping enterprise after taking a course in 2004. For those who want to start their own beekeeping venture, a visit to Hayseed’s for supplies as well as a consultation with Paska is the perfect remedy. When asked about the clientele, Paska explained that most people that come to the store are interested in getting started with urban farming and don’t necessarily have much experience. More than anything, people seem excited to see something “off-Bedford.”
The pop-up is housed in a former garage that has been transformed by Domestic Construction into a space enlivened with repurposed wood crates, creative lighting and now, farm supplies. Ball jars are reconstructed into lights, old brick walls are painted white, skylights offer a great source of natural light and the work of local artists adorns the wall. Kids may be especially drawn towards Carrot, the resident rabbit.
Although most of the weekend workshops are geared towards adults, the environment is kid-friendly and inviting. A formerly empty lot that abuts the pop-up space has also been adopted and converted into a green space by Domestic Construction. Upon learning that the lot was about to be rented to a mechanic who wanted to use it to store cars, the group launched a Kickstarter campaign and proposed that the landlord instead give them the chance to rent the space and put it to good use.
And so have they done. Wood chips have spread over the ground and the lot is now home to planters of all sorts. Wood crates attached to the fence serve as the perfect base for a vertical garden and old tires find a second life housing plants. A shed constructed from scrap wood and a mix of found windows will soon become a shop filled with oddities. Community members are also invited to add to the environment by contributing their household compost to the bin that occupies a small corner of the lot.
While the store is focused on farm supplies, the stock also includes a range of other goods related to the environment. Overalls and dresses by Dusty Rose Vintage and necklaces featuring preserved bees from Paska’s collection are also sold. Natural dye kits from the Textile Arts Center make for a great way to get excited about experimenting with plants and fibers, and Raganella’s Botanical Solutions offer a great source of natural deodorants, bug repellent, and lotion. The more serious urban farmer may be excited to know that Hayseed’s offers Countryside Organics- the only place to find soy bean-free, organic poultry feed in New York City.
Initially hesitant about investing in a farm supply store in the city, Hayseed’s founders soon realized that they couldn’t loose with the closed loop system they had created. Because each of the ladies has her own farm, the supplies that aren’t sold can be split between them and will eventually be put to good use. However, with the surge in urban gardening and rooftop farms, they shouldn’t have too much trouble finding homes for their useful goods!
All images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat