Residents at Ingersoll Houses in Brooklyn are enjoying tomatoes, cantaloupes, bok choy and basil grown right in their front yard. Over the past two years, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Local Development Corporation (MARP) have partnered with residents to create the Ingersoll Garden of Eden on Myrtle Avenue. More than 20 residents tend to the garden, cultivating fresh food crops and flowers, which are sold at the Myrtle Avenue community-run Farm Stand. The Farm Stand is located adjacent to the Ingersoll Community Center every Thursday from July-October.

The Ingersoll Garden of Eden and Farm Stand are part of a larger program, Myrtle Eats Fresh, which receives financial support from the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the New York Community Trust. MARP coordinates gathering supplies like lumber, soil and wood chips, buys garden tools, supplies and food plants, and provides staff support, organizing assistance and gardening expertise. Some residents also have been trained to conduct cooking demos using healthy, affordable foods and recipes. The chefs were hired by MARP to share their skills with their neighbors at local markets and community events.

More NYCHA residents will benefit from MARP's efforts soon, as they plan to start working with residents at the nearby developments Farragut Houses and Whitman Houses to create similar community gardens. To learn more and get involved in MARP's Myrtle Eats Fresh program, contact Meredith Phillips Almeida, Director of Community Development, or Kassy Nystrom, Program Manager of Food Access Initiatives, at 718-230-1689, or go to MARP's website