BK Farmyards In Brooklyn, New York And Founder Stacey Murphy

In Brooklyn, backyards go agrarian

We live in the era of the urban homestead, when butchers have groupies and amateur beekeepers make honey on their roofs.

But with real estate what it is, actual farming has been relegated to oddball places like rooftops and truck beds. It goes without saying that New York City has no spare land to cultivate, right?

Wrong, says Stacey Murphy, founder of the nonprofit BK Farmyards, which launched in May. Her program is simple: Turn backyards and vacant lots around Brooklyn into lush, food-producing gardens. Own a backyard or plot of land? Give Murphy some seed money and her team will install planting beds and an irrigation system and tend to the crops for the whole growing season.

At harvest time, you'll have the freshest produce possible–right from your own backyard. And it doesn't require much space: About 250 square feet can grow enough food to feed four people for seven months.

Murphy has already set up two farmyards in Ditmas Park and is plotting out more acres for next year's growing season. She's also looking for sites in lower-income "food deserts" where she'd like to see fresh produce sold in the local bodegas.

In addition, she soon hopes to build "Dinner Party" sites in various neighborhoods, which would be outfitted with a kitchen and communal tables, where communities can come together to share meals and take food classes.