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LONGWOOD, the Bronx — It’s planting season at Black Joy Farm along East 163rd Street and Simpson Street in the Longwood neighborhood of the Bronx.

With precautions and social distancing in place, volunteers and staff have been preparing planters and spreading the soil. The growth and the harvest this year will have a special significance.

Tanya Denise Fields established the urban farm six years ago in the former vacant lot, which is owned by the city.

“Our mission is a place that cultivates radical joy for community residents and folks of color,” said Fields.

The 5,400-square-foot lot is connected to the NYC Parks Department Green Thumb program, which is the largest community gardening program in the nation.

As a resident of the area and the founder of The Black Feminist Project, Fields saw first-hand the needs of the local blocks regarding issues such as community-police relations, open space, and food insecurity.

“In hyper-micro areas like Hunts Point and Longwood, we are not within walking distance of Van Cortlandt or Crotona, and some of the local parks have been shuttered. It leaves people who are already suffering to not have the ability to enjoy greenery and that’s really important,” Fields said.

Small groups of neighbors will be able to reserve Black Joy Farm for a few hours this summer in order to welcome their families and practice social distancing. Next week, they will begin taking reservations for food boxes.

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