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Edible: Backyard Farm Produces Fresh Food In Brooklyn

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At Fox Trot Farmyards, workers are showing New Yorkers how much they can produce literally in their own backyards. Edible Magazine's Rachel Wharton filed the following report.

Hidden behind a beautiful 19th-century house, Fox Trot produces 450 square feet of really good food.

It's a prototype project run by bk farmyards, which hopes schools, community gardens and homeowners like the Fishers will let them turn their unused land into working farms.

"The homeowner that lives here is donating their land and also their water," says bk farmyards founder Stacey Murphy. "People are reaping the benefits of that by becoming CSA members and getting produce from the site."

CSA stands for community supported agriculture. CSA members pay farmers a lump sum in the spring to get vegetables, greens and herbs once a week until fall.

Because they host Foxtrot, the homeowners get theirs for free. Not bad for some of the freshest vegetables in the city.

"The produce is harvested about 45 minutes before they (the members) show up," says Murphy.

Once a week Murphy and her farmers-in-training meet to plan crop rotations and yields. Then she shows them how to harvest the week’s kale, cabbage and greens, or how to trim cucumbers, basil, eggplants and tomatoes.

They wash, weigh and bag up the goods for their six CSA customers who come over to pick it up.

"We measure everything that goes into the site so that we know if a farmer wanted to farm 12 of these sites that they could sustain a lifestyle in the city on those 12 plots," says Murphy. "This year is about training people how to take care of backyards so we can increase the amount of food that’s being grown in Brooklyn."

Beyond producing 20 to 30 pounds of produce a week until November, Foxtrot brings neighbors together and is a boon to Brooklyn's water, air and soil.

It also looks a lot better than it used to. Murphy says the land that is now known as Foxtrot used to be completely unused, with weeds as tall has her head.

To learn more about CSAs and urban farming, visit EdibleManhattan.com

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