North Brooklyn’s Hidden Treasure: The Farm on Kent
The fight for Bushwck Inlet Park has made one of our community issues very clear: Greenpoint & Williamsburg get the short end of the stick when it comes to green space. We simply don’t have enough of it. This trickles into another issue: we also don’t have many community gardens or places that aren’t packed on the weekend where we can put our fingers in the dirt. In Greenpoint, we’re limited to the 61 Franklin Street Community Garden and the Java Street Community Garden. This lack of uncrowded green space where we can relax with neighbors, help plant a few things, and enjoy a nice evening sunset is what makes The Farm on Kent one of our hidden little gems. And tomorrow, they’ll be celebrating this glorious summer by becoming a sunset beer garden!
North Brooklyn Farms began its journey in the shadows of the Domino Sugar refinery in the spring of 2013. That was when friends Henry Sweets and Ryan Watson convinced Two Trees Management (the big developer that owns the entire site) to let them convert a parking lot on Kent and South 3rd Street into “Havemeyer Park,” a small farm with a dirt bike park created in partnership with the bike shop Ride Brooklyn. For two years, everything came along beautifully. It became a safe place for the kids to play, there were affordable Sunday dinners, and regular volunteer hours for those of us who like playing in the dirt. Plus, having an urban farm around means fresh produce from a farm stand. Everything is grown organically in “new” soil to avoid the likely contaminants in the site. But then Two Trees needed the plot back in order to start building.
Fortunately, Two Trees does realize the beauty of North Brooklyn Farms and the great thing it’s doing for our community. They set aside a permanent site across Kent Ave, just to the south of the landmarked Domino Sugar refinery building, and significantly larger than Havemeyer Park. Now known as “The Farm on Kent,” the entire farm and bike track were replicated, a new grassy lawn was made complete with picnic tables, and now the public has access to that stretch of the East River for the first time in 150 years. Yes, if you just want a relaxing spot to watch the sunset, you’re free to walk on in and chill in the grass.
All of the events are back and then some: Sunday summers, Fourth of July Fireworks viewing, daytime dance parties, a weekly farm stand, donation-based yoga with The Blue Moon Collective, and this Saturday, a beer garden. Local breweries participating are Greenpoint Beer & Ale, Transmitter Brewing, Grimm Ales, Sixpoint, Threes Brewing, Other Half, LIC Beer Project, Rockaway Brewing Co., and Finback, plus a number of others from beyond the five boroughs. The event goes on from 5pm – 9pm and there will be BBQ available from the Smoke Show. Tickets are still available via Eventbrite, and individual drink tickets will be available at the door.
The Farm on Kent is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 8pm. The weekly farm stand is on Wednesdays, 4pm – 8pm; Saturdays, 12pm-5pm; and occasionally pops-up on Sunday afternoons.