Fast-forward a few months and Lake, a makeup artist, and Kabin, a photographer, have turned their living spaces into micro-greenery, Newtown Creek Farms, supplying Brooklyn restaurants with nutritious, albeit small, leafy greens.
Ive always been a part of my community garden here and Ive always had an interest in farming, Lake said. We found ourselves as two creatives out of work, so we just started growing microgreens.
Microgreens, considered by many as baby plants, are a superfood and the basis of Newtown Creek Farms. The greens are grown indoors under LED lights with a quick two-week turnaround. For Lake, after taking several farming courses, the process was quite simple.
It grows quickly, its hyperlocal and nutrition-dense, she said. You can grow it all year round and anybody can eat it.
Newtown Creek Farms currently sells radishes, broccoli, peas and salad mixes to restaurants who are still able to fork out for the superfood. Lake said given many restaurants lacked funds because of the pandemic, it was hard to gauge how things would go for Newton Creek Farms in the future.
But were at an advantage because were able to scale everything slowly, she said, adding they had a rare opportunity to be strategic with who they worked with and hone in on how to approach their business.
Although Lake and Kabin are committed to the farm, Lake said they werent abandoning their former jobs anytime soon. Even now, Lake said their creative work intersected with the farming, with Lake styling the microgreens for shoots and Kabin taking the photographs.
As New Yorkers were really good at adapting and hustling, Lake said. Weve been making it work and we love it. We love our jobs so were not completely closed off to the idea of doing jobs here and there.
Lake said there were plans to grow the Newton Creek Farms, but she had been enjoying the opportunity to learn and explore how to farm on a small scale. Its allowed us to grow slowly. We have a good pace and were learning what works and what doesnt work for us, Lake said.
As New York City continues to open up, there are hopes of a farmers market and providing educational classes teaching the bountiful benefits of microgreens, which Lake insisted arent a garnish. Theyre a superfood, Lake said. You can pretty much eat it with anything, from pizza to burgers.
With many Brooklyn residents struggling to access food due to the pandemic and existing food deserts, Lake hoped people would consider microgreens as a cheap and accessible nutritious ingredient, adding: Theres got to be a balance and accessibility for everyone because we all deserve good food.
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