PHOTO ESSAY | We asked people, “What would you like to grow?” The answer? Way more than fruits & veggies.

On September 20, 2014, we teamed up with Create Change Fellows from The Laundromat Project to celebrate the creativity and rich history residing right on Kelly Street. We asked people: “What would you like to grow in your neighborhood?”

Their answers led to a pop-up outdoor living room where we shared stories and talked about violence in the neighborhood. There was a spontaneous dance party, yoga, healthy cooking demonstrations with Tanya Fields of The Blk Projek, painting, and even photos from the 1970s of the first Kelly Street community garden, where the seeds of community change were first planted. In all cases, people wanted to grow more love — for our bodies, minds, and community.

In this beautiful photo essay, Sasha Phyars-Burgess captures what it means to “grow love” at the Kelly Street Garden.


Kelly St Green, A Bronx Garden

“Double Green” garden in the Bronx is estimated to produce in excess of $43,000 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables for the benefit the families living on Kelly Street while removing over 250,000 gallons of storm water, annually. Check out what is going on now at

On The Ink

At our September 20, 2014 Field Day, Saheli Choudhury from The Bronx Ink spent the day with us. You can read her full article here, but we picked some excerpts that we thought captured the spirit of Field Day. Thanks, Saheli!

On Saturday morning in Hunts Point, children on Kelly Street had free rein of the pavement, which some of them brightened with colored chalk. Some kids played catch while others were engrossed in arts and crafts. With the help of adult volunteers, children cut out bananas from cardboard and painted them, some coloring them yellow, others maroon and sky blue. Residents from neighboring blocks looked on. They had gathered at the newly renovated Kelly Street Garden at block 924 of the famously banana-shaped street to celebrate the second annual Field Day organized by the non-profit outfit, The Laundromat Project.

[Longtime Kelly Street resident Robert] Foster was around in the late 1970s when the first garden was inaugurated in block 924, where he helped plant the first batch of seeds. “It ain’t as luxurious,” he said of the old garden, but the spirit of community thrived due to the large presence of children. “You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a kid,” he said, smiling. Over the years, the conditions of the houses deteriorated, the streets became unsafe as murders and drug activities rose, and the children disappeared behind closed doors. “I can’t fault people for not wanting to have their kids out there,” Foster said, hoping the newly renovated buildings will signal a safer environment for children to come out and play.

The kids were out in full force on Saturday, running around the raised beds on the pebbled pathway, only to be told repeatedly by Rosalba Lopez Ramirez, the garden caretaker, not to stomp on the plants.

IMG_0358_field day

Seeding Change-One Seed at a Time

Our work here on Kelly Street is ongoing, and is in the stages of blossoming. On April 28, we planted seedlings that will become our summer crops in the garden!


Garden caretaker Rasheed helps Isaiash plant broccoli seedling. Photo courtesy of Rosalba Lopez Ramirez.












GOOD FOOD! Spring Series Cooking Class

Fifteen of us had a FEAST last night on Kelly St. at the last installment of our Chef In the Garden Spring Series. WE HAVE GROWN. Starting on Wednesday, May 28th eight of us set off to cook our first side dish: braised kale.

All together the 3 cooking classes have brought together over 30 local resident who have participated in cooking GOOD FOOD! The spring cooking classes mini series (May-June) took place the 2nd & last Wednesday of the Month from 6:30-7:30PM. Adults and children have cooked locally grown Bronx ingredients such as kale, broccoli leaves, and fresh cilantro.

Don’t worry. We’ll be coming back for the summer starting Wednesday, July 9th. Sneak Peak for the Summer: tacos w/avocado, seafood salad, collard greens & kebab, fruit smoothies, and spinach wraps.

Special Thanks to all resident participants, Urban Rebuilding Initiative & Citizens Committee for New York City for your support.


Read About our last cooking class:

From the New York Puerto Rican style cuisine to Mexico’s native nopal. To keep us fresh & cool we started with agua de Horchata with coconut water (tastes like rice pudding). It was DELICIOSO!

We moved on to making a nopal salad quite hydrating (added #quesofresco). Early research on nopal is finding that is a good for diabetes management & more! GOOD FOOD & Guilt Free! To complement the nopal salad we made some RICE & BEANS with homemade #SOFRITO made by local residents!

Developing an Appetite for this Good food? (By Order Made) We thought so, below you find the links to the recipes although we added our own little spunk to them.


(2) Nopal Salad Ingredients:

1 pound nopales, cleaned and sliced or chopped

1 sprig of cilantro

1/4 medium onion

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

Chopped cilantro

1 avocado

Directions: Gently mix together the cactus, chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro. Top off with queso fresco and enjoy with tortilla chips

(3) Making Sofrito:


Paving The Way & Planting The Seeds!

Paving the Way | Setting the Stones | Planting the soon-to-be garden

On Early morning the sounds of machines roars through. Beeping sounds have been common for Kelly Street residents for the last month. It’s loud enough to get you out of bed. A work crew of men working for Scott’s Landscape has been coming, bringing truckloads of soil, rock pebbles and blocks to build a rustic looking planter along the perimeters of the garden. The soil has been leveled, and beds for coverings are taking shape, with children in the building telling me that they, “Can’t Wait for the Garden”. And what about the roaring machines? One long time resident of Kelly Street puts it, “It’s the best noise she has ever heard”.


While the work crew, set the stones (literally!) residents on Kelly Street have been DIGGING DEEP, planting over 450 SEEDS from flowers, herbs, vegetables, and peppers. Curious to know what sorts of seeds? It’s so good that we almost didn’t want to say. But in the spirit of teamwork here is the list, which were seeded on the emergence of a new moon on April 28th.

2014-04-28 20.43.15


Cilantro (18)

Basil (18)


Nastrium (72)

Love in A Mist (12)

Aztec Sun (72)


Lettuce (30)

Chard (18)

Brussel Sprouts (18)

Pumpkin (24)

Butternut Squash (36)

Watermelons (30)

Onions (72)

Tomatoes (39)


Bell Peppers (24)

Chile Oaxaca (24)

We Planted Plenty of Veggies. THOSE VEGGIES GOT US HOOKED! And they are coming up! Coming up so fast, primarily under the auspicious and loving Grow Box that was donated to us from Grow NYC our consultant partners. Thank you Grow NYC! Gracias! Merci Grow NYC! Grazie GrowNYC!

Slide1 —-


But Kelly Street residents are also THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. They are going against the GRAIN. They are introducing water from the bottom of the planter! It’s called Sub-Irrigated Planter (Spn-Organoponia en macetera), which acts as a RESERVOIR-Saving Water, Fostering Strong Roots and Saving Time. 


With a quick, simple guide made by from Yumi Sakugawa ( and Spanish translation, residents came to build a sub-irrigated planter. A sub-irrigated planter is made from all re-purposed materials, including: (2) Quart Size Yogurt containers, (1) 8 yogurt container, (1) straw. Necessary Tools & Materials: (1) box cutter (1) funnel,  moist potting mix, and seeds (or in our case Serrano peppers). Serrano Peppers were donated by the Workforce Housing Group, part of the Kelly Street Restoration, LP.  Merci Workforce Housing Group!

Also, thank you to our wonderful caters Bascom Catering housed under the small business incubator with The POINT located in the Hunts Point, South Bronx. Check them out!


Kelly St. Garden Committee Receives $1,000 Grant Award

The roots of a tree are the roots of a community. And on Sunday, June 22nd the roots of 15 trees of Kelly Street between Intervale and and E 163rd street- Bronx 10459 will bring together community members from the block for a tree stewardship event. The Kelly St. Garden Committee (KSG) received ia $1,000 grant from Citizens Committee for New York City (CCNYC) to beautify the block. Important components of the project is setting up tree guards, water gaters, fertilizing the tree with compost and putting mulch to protect trees in order to ensure that the trees on the block will have a long life. Consequently by showing some love to the trees they will also provide community residents with many benefits including beauty and shade. In addition the tree guards will provide an opportunity for community members to plant some flowers or shallow rooted ornamental plants.

As part of the street tree stewardship committee members will work to get permits and block off the street of vehicular traffic for the day so that the kids can play in some activities that will planned by the KSG committee. A potluck and barbecue for residents to gather and share in food with one another will also take place.

Image from:…-jungle,-city-beach/

Image from:…-jungle,-city-beach/

A Story for Each Letter


This mural can be seen on Simpson St. and Longwood. Each letter provides a glimpse to community life from the dj on the spin table to young girls playing double dutch.


I believe this is one of John Ahearn’s fiber glass sculptures depicting local residents who lived in Longwood in the 80’s, many of whom still reside in the neighborhood according to a conversation with a resident in Kelly St. This sculpture adorns an apartment building in Longwood