Tenth Acre Farms was started in 2009 by three guys — Jordan Hall, Bennett Wilson, and Adam Wilson –who work part-time for CollegeHumor.com, all of whom grew up with farming families. The project began as a small backyard garden behind Hall’s apartment in East Williamsburg, then expanded to the abandoned basketball court at St. Cecilia’s School at 215 Richardson St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The farm is 100 percent organic, but the group says they will never apply for the official USDA certification because it is expensive, and it would unnecessarily raise the cost of Tenth Acre’s produce. Still, they give their word that no chemical ever touches the plants or soil.
The produce grows in raised beds, which means that they can use real soil and absolutely no “soil substitutes.” Fake soil does not allow for a healthy microbial and worm population, meaning that the soil is not as nutritious for the plants. Raised beds also mean that no feet ever have to trample on the soil, so the roots are free to grow wherever they like, including the spaces in between rows. Walking between rows of vegetables may seem like a totally normal thing to do on a farm, but it puts unnecessary stress on the roots, forcing the plants to use energy to fix their root systems rather than growing vegetables. To top if off, the raised beds mean that the soil and roots are above ground. This lets the soil heat up faster in the spring and cool down slower in the winter, giving Tenth Acre Farms a growing season that is three to five weeks longer than other farms.
The small farm — it’s literally a tenth of an acre — grows nearly seven tons of food each year. They compost as much as possible, putting the rich soil right back into their crops. The farmers sell their harvest at a market located on their farm, and they encourage visitors to walk through the farm as well. For the first time this year, Tenth Acre also started a CSA for the local community.