He’s taking care of his community!
A Brooklyn man transformed a local wasteland into a community garden, distributing over 10,000 pounds of food, Upworthy reports.
Kofi Thomas is a Brooklyn-based gardener who has been working in community green spaces since 2016. In 2017, an elder recommended a local area that could be used to build a garden, Thomas cleaning out the 13,000 square foot wasteland filled with trash and transforming it into what is now known as the “Good Life Garden.”
Thomas then took to the streets to enroll the community in his vision, launching a GoFundMe that raised more than $44,000 to get the garden off the ground. He said he has been working to preserve and improve green spaces in the borough because they are a place of healing and growth.
“Our Brooklyn neighborhood has suffered physically and mentally over this past year. Physically from an inability to be mobile and be outside. Mentally we have sustained trauma from isolation, fear, and loss of loved ones due to the pandemic. We are victims of social, economical, and environmental inequalities that have been intensified. We will begin to heal through the transformation of our green spaces. We are raising money to improve our environment as a vehicle to Educate and Empower communities in Brooklyn,” a message from Thomas on the site reads.
Since then, the space has become a resource for locals, including more than 30 senior residents who have begun gardening there. Thomas is offering a space for the community to engage in agriculture and healthy living and wellness, education, community ownership, and youth building.
“We provide a safe space for children to play and offer agency to our youth. They are involved in the decision-making on what we build, how we paint, and programming. To date, we have had over 300 students participate in green classrooms and countless neighborhood youth visits,” Thomas told Because Of Them We Can.
To date, Thomas has distributed over 10,000 pounds of food and prevented the waste of nearly 12,000 pounds of food. He looks at the garden as not only an opportunity for community building but also as a “vehicle for environmental and racial justice.
He currently serves as the director of 2 gardens with the hope of building two more within his Bushwick community. Funds raised will expand his operations, including creating a chicken coop and investing in culturally rich art and entertainment for the community to use and enjoy. The garden offers enrichment activities like yoga and writing workshops, investing in a clean energy system, a compost program, and building partnerships with schools and youth organizations.
Thomas is proud of his work thus far and encourages others to get involved, whether through donations or visiting the garden.
“If you are an educator, parent, or Black person in Brooklyn looking to get started or get your hands in the soil, reach out because the dream is to get all black people reconnected to the land,” Thomas said.
Photo Courtesy of @BKGreenGardner/Instagram