Chickens are coming to Cypress Hills! In a collaboration with The Peoples Food Project and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Pollos del Pueblo (The People’s Chickens) will help provide fresh organic eggs to the East New York community. With help from volunteers and ioby funding, a vacant lot is in the process of being transformed into an urban farm that will grow fresh produce and raise chickens.
The vacant lot in use is zoned for affordable housing, but it was found to be too small to be cost effective. So the local citizens came up with a better idea: creating a space where they could work together to better their community. The area of East New York is one of the many in the New York City region that lacks access to fresh food. In fact, only 25 percent of the area’s retailers even offer produce, leaving its residents with unhealthy processed foods to feed their families. The problem is partially caused by the USDA’s consideration as bodegas as food markets, which is not always the case.
Pollos de Pueblo will help combat this food desert by creating a space to grow vegetables and fruits, and the chicken egges will provide a source of essential protein. Community members have already begun clearing the land and building raised beds, which are easier to construct and also don’t require soil testing. The site will also develop a composting program so that the community can work together to better their surroundings.
The area is also host to ten other community gardens, but this will be the first to raise chickens. Volunteers and school children will learn to take care of the chickens, collect eggs, and harvest vegetables. The foods will then be shared by the community. Community farms like these help neighborhoods break hard habits, improving health and fighting the war on obesity and diabetes.