Bushwick, Brooklyn has become a hipster haven. Its streets are lined colorful with street art, and you’ll find a unique local coffee shop, restaurant, boutique, or art gallery on every corner and in seemingly abandoned buildings. It’s a place I’ve been meaning to explore for a long time.
After chatting with some BK locals, I decided that I would embark on a ‘travel & do good’ adventure to get a good feel of the neighborhood’s culture. I started doing some research on effective local nonprofits, working specifically with the Bushwick community and stumbled upon RiseBoro Community Partnership.
After doing some research and vetting of other organizations, I spoke to Martha, Farm Manager and Educator, of their fairly new community garden/farm initiative. Not only were her knowledge and expertise apparent, but I could feel her passion through the phone. You could tell she really believes in the overwhelming positive impact this project has had on the local community.
I was sold! I organized a group of volunteers to go down one Saturday morning for four hours of hands-on, down and dirty work in the farm/garden. (Big shout-out to all you volunteers, you rock.) Martha gave us a tour of the farm (not only of the herbs/veggies/flowers, but of the compost toilet they built and all of the other cool amenities she designed) and talked about their programming, which includes free community cooking workshops, a place where neighbors can come drop off their compost, after-school educational programs, donations of their products to local families/food pantry, and more. What I love about the space is that many of the local children have never been able to dig in the dirt, or immerse themselves in nature due to their urban location, and this farm provides them that outlet.
We spent the day cleaning/sealing the chicken coop (yes, they have three chickens and one of their name’s is Tweety – love it), building an outdoor kitchen area, assisting with the compost processing, putting in posts for the tomato crop, and other miscellaneous projects. We laughed, we bonded, and we helped an organization in need of extra hands.
This was the type of volunteer experience I hope to give every single one of my co-mads travelers…working with a hands-on effective organization, connecting/conversing/working in a team with new people, and the satisfactory feeling of starting and completing an important task. co-mads not only works to provide this experience for all volunteers, but we ensure that our work is also beneficial for the organization we’re supporting.
We all had an incredibly fulfilling and inspiring experience with RiseBoro. One of the co-mads who participated lives in Brooklyn, and is likely going to become a regular volunteer participant at the farm. These are the connections we build!!! It is the most rewarding part of this “job” for me.
I’m going to plan a “Getaway with a Purpose” trip to Bushwick for two nights soon, in which we partner with RiseBoro and explore the many local cultural gems of the neighborhood. Let me know if you’re interested in participating so you can be the first to hear of this opportunity!
Can’t wait for the next adventure. Talk soon!