Brenda Duchene of the Powell Street Community Garden has a vision. Ever since she started working with the East New York Farms, she’d been thinking of ways to bring a similar community garden to Brownsville. Now, with the help of her dedicated volunteers and some of the resources at CBU, she’s secured funding and made her vision a reality.
Duchene’s passion for working with seniors and youth alike led her to approach the Powell Street Community Garden in a unique way. She decided to make the revitalization of the garden an intergenerational effort shared by seniors and neighborhood kids alike. Where the kids were excited about getting hands on experience, the seniors were interested in beautifying the neighborhood – Duchene realized that, working together, they could definitely do some great things.
The garden is settled on 1.5 acres in Brownsville, and after putting up much of the initial cost out of pocket, Duchene found out about CBU and won one of our first grants. That money was used to build and install a number of planter boxes, and with her recently won Love Your Block grant, there are plans for another 25 planters in the works.
Future plans for the garden are big and bold. Duchene hopes to make the garden into a resource for teenagers who aren’t able to find jobs next summer – she wants to give them the opportunity to become entrepreneurs by planting vegetables that they can sell at local farmers markets. This plan will bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood, put some money in the pockets of the kids, and jumpstart activity in the finished garden. Other plans include healthy meal workshops that focus on fresh produce and aim to improve the way people eat and source their food. With all of these projects gathering momentum and a whole community behind them, it doesn’t look like the Powell Street Community Garden (or Brenda Duchene) will be slowing down any time soon.