Bridgeport already has 20 different places in the city, such as community gardens, where food is cultivated. The Bridgeport Community Land Trust wants to bring all these sites together in a connected network and add even more sites.”
“The city seems to be excited about it,” Sarah Tunney said. “It looks like it migh actually happen.”
Bridgeport Community Land Trust plans to build a community center on Reservoir Avenue behind the Trumbull Gardens complex. The community center would host a farmers’ market every Saturday morning where city farmers can grow their produce. Also, every Saturday morning, the center will give out free, nutritionally dense meals to Bridgeport children.
“We’re trying to create an institution,” Tunney said.
The center would sustain itself financially by charging adults for the meals and by renting out the kitchens during the week to community members.
The Land Trust’s project would be more diverse than typical Connecticut farmers’ markets because it would sell diverse produce. Bridgeport’s immigrant populations bring seeds over when they come from Bangladesh and Mexico, Halstead said, and they already know how to farm.
“We can capitalize on that diversity,” Robert Halstead said.
Halstead and Tunney cooked a soup for people who attended the Green Market Exposition at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport on Saturday. They used produce from the existing community gardens.
The group also has other goals, such as
- getting an ordinance passed in Bridgeport that allows people to have chickens in their backyard.
- installing bee hives on Bridgeport buildings and begin producing Bridgeport honey.
The group already runs a cooperative in Bridgeport similar to a CSA and delivers produce to people’s doorsteps. But right now the produce comes from the Bronx and New Jersey.
Camelot Development, a real estate development company based in Bridgeport, plans to take an existing community garden in Bridgeport and build a semi self-sufficient building that will serve as a “teaching kitchen” on site. Children from the nearby Achievement First charter school will learn how to process food and can bring it home to eat with their families.