Eat Hackney has fallen in love with the East Village in Manhattan, specifically its community gardens… In the 1970s the East Village was a real urban jungle, with burnt-out and decrepit buildings creating empty abandoned lots. Residents started to fill the ugly gaps with plants, and now this revitalised grid of streets has an astonishing 41 community gardens. Many East Village gardeners “grow to live” – Eat Hackney saw such edible goodies as figs, grapes, green and yellow beans, peppers, cucumbers, kale, pak choi, cabbages and basil. The East Village gardeners have mastered the art of vertical planting, so that high arbours and vines enclose fragrant and leafy spaces.
Across town, non-profit Grow NYC operates the market at Union Square which sells locally grown produce, some of it from the island of Manhattan itself. All this has inspired Eat Hackney to head to Columbia Road for some plants and seeds, and grow to live in her own back yard.