A magnificent thing has been happening outside my window in Brooklyn. This past summer, I noticed vegetable gardens and fruit trees overwhelming the once-empty hull of yard behind my building. The paved patios have been blasted up and turned into thriving miniature farms. Gardens are being grown on the rusty fire escapes and tended by my young, overall-clad neighbors. Everything is getting greener, and leafier. Everything seems more… alive. A month ago, before the present frost hit, a gaggle of speckled birds I have never seen were casually tearing at the round fruits of a new tree. I’ve lived in my Brooklyn apartment for 14 years, long enough to turn from tenant to witness, so you’ll believe me when I tell you the change is considerable.

 

The results of the urban gardeners’ efforts are delightful and alluring. Even… More…

No one expected the comforts of home. Yet I did hope for something a little more pleasing. A little more, what, pretty? Maybe rolling fields, a big red barn, rustic flavor in that roadside-farmstand, bed-and-breakfast kind of way? But on this organic farm in rural Western New York there are no gently weathered chairs, no flowerpots or drying herbs or other signs of country artifice, just ragged ground and barns held up, it seems, by air.

My husband and I, and our friends, have become comrades in community-supported agriculture, members of a farm co-op that requires an investment not only of money, but of time. And this is our first workday. At the meeting where we’d learned about the farm, heard what was required of us and what we’d get in return, I’d looked around the room and felt suddenly aware of my lipstick. We were upstairs in a Quaker… More…