Part of the NYC Community Organization Spotlight series
Name: Hellgate Farm
What they do: Hellgate Farm is a network of satellite gardens in Queens with a main farm located in Canaan, New York. At these locations they run community supported agriculture programs, teach gardening and carpentry to the community, provide design, contracting, and consulting services, and sell a number of their own products. Hellgate runs a weekly farmer’s market stand at Socrates Park on Saturdays (May-Oct) and their products can be found at various retail stores in Queens. Select items can also be delivered to Astoria or Long Island City. Hellgate also runs a compost program at their Astoria locations.
How they do it: Hellgate turns underutilized spots across Astoria and Queens into productive gardens with permaculture techniques. They are now applying their urban experience as they create a market garden and community in Canaan, NY. Hellgate is able to operate with the support of many volunteers who are equally passionate about urban agriculture. The community of volunteers teach and connect with one another at Hellgate’s various locations.
Latest project/campaign: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hellgate has partnered with The Connected Chef and Bench Flour Bakers to support Lifeline Deliveries, a grocery delivery service in Queens. Hellgate shared that, “A large majority of our neighbors live paycheck to paycheck and for a number of reasons, do not qualify for unemployment benefits or government aid. Our organizations have always prioritized healthy food for all and now is a time when our neighbors need us the most.”
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: Hellgate’s model of “converting concrete to green space is something environmentalists say is key to capturing carbon dioxide in the city and absorbing rain, which helps keep the waterways clean.” Their system also helps teach people about sustainable agriculture techniques and sustainable farming, allowing people in the community an opportunity to fully understand their impact on climate change and integrate food production into their built environment.
Location: Queens and Canaan, New York
Core Programs: CSA, Compost, Lifeline Deliveries Program
Number of staff: 6
Number of volunteers: Varies
Areas served: Queens
Year Started: Hellgate farm began in 2011
Director: Robert McGrath
Contact Information: Hellgate Farm can be contacted directly through their website.