After years of being frustrated with food options in her neighborhood, Tanya Denise Fields started farming.
She grows tomatoes, squash and berries, and raises hens to lay fresh eggs.
It’s not just for her and her six children, but also for the many other Longwood families living in the Bronx struggling with food insecurity.
“I knew pretty quickly that the work I wanted to do was to enrich the lives of moms and their children,” said Fields.
Fields was inspired to make a difference after going through financial struggles of her own.
“I was putting myself through school, feeding myself and my children on food stamps,” she said.
But after her daughter was diagnosed with asthma, Fields realized the importance of providing children with fresh food.
“I knew the kind of effect that it had on my brain development, temperament and overall health,” said Fields.
She got to work, and through the Park Department’s Green Thumb program, turned a vacant lot into the Black Joy Farm.
“I feel like I just helped to lay the foundation of something that we all wanted,” she said.
The 5,400 square foot space is owned by the city, but it’s completely run by Fields.
“Having a place like this where moms can grow food with their kids, social distance, take away a box of fresh produce, take home some eggs, allow their kids to run around and get out some of that energy,” Fields said.