From Skid Row to Lettuce Rows: The Bowery Mission Gets a Rooftop Garden.

Farmer Steve, volunteer Martin Bruhn and Carrington Morris

We recently paid a visit to the Bowery Mission to report on a story for next summer. For almost 150 years, the shelter has provided transitional housing, food and sanctuary for those in need.

Traditionally the recipient of good-will food donations from the likes of City Harvest, the Mission is now supplementing their offerings by growing their own on a rooftop garden.

Already there are loads of greens, tomatoes, peppers and herbs, courtesy of a budding rooftop farming initiative there, but the program isn’t just vegetables.

We got to meet with Farmer Steve, a Mission resident and former architect whose turns in the road now find him serving as planter-in-chief; Ping, the lovely chef de cuisine who creates on-the-spot menus depending on the day’s deliveries; and a host of other characters. Vocational and educational training for the community are in the works. For those interested in getting involved, volunteers are invited to help out at the garden and support the burgeoning program. More on the horizon to follow in our feature next year.

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee is a New York-based food and drink writer with a master's degree in magazine journalism from New York University. She stays true to her Texas roots by listening to Willie Nelson regularly and drinking a Lone Star on occasion.

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