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Laal Bhagan: A Community Garden

লাল বাগান

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The Bronx is made up of diverse ethnic groups from around the world, many of which come with indigenous knowledge in regards to agriculture. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from Bengali and Latinx populations residing in Norwood, in the Bronx. The opportunity for womxn to own and steward the land can create a ripple effect in the community, from growing culturally ethnic foods, connecting with neighbors, facilitating gardening/cooking workshops, to harvesting produce and contributing to a local economy.

At Laal, we believe working with mother earth is a healing attribute. When working with soil, there are serotonins that are released which helps with overall feelings of happiness in the brain. Ownership of land by womxn in Norwood has intergenerational impacts, where immigrant womxn with farming backgrounds can be facilitators/teachers to those that were never given the opportunity to learn. There is greater social cohesion when community gathers around seed banking of precious ethnic fruits and vegetables, then coming together once more to share the harvest.

Laal seeks to attain a plot of land to create a community garden for womxn to steward the land. It will serve as a safe place for womxn to come together, discuss pressing issues, work with soil in planting medicinal food/herbs, harvest produce and share with each other. The community garden also acts as a learning hub, in order to share knowledge about indigenous practices of growing food, composting, and cooking healthy meals. We plan to expand this vision where families are able to grow in the little space they have with hydroponics or grow lights, ultimately thinking about integrating urban agriculture into the local economy. Utilizing knowledge that many of our immigrant families bring with them in agriculture to create a business model in which food grown in Norwood can supplement local restaurants and be sold to the local community. This allows womxn who have never worked before to be leaders in creating income for themselves. Economic freedom and democracy is a stepping stone for a more liberated future.

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