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Farmers Market Brings Communities Together In Crown Heights

Farmers Market in Crown Heights - Brooklyn, NY (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

Farmers Market in Crown Heights – Brooklyn, NY (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – With the bleak central Brooklyn cityscape as a backdrop, you might be surprised what a little color is capable of.

More: NYC’s 5 Best Farmers’ Markets, 2012

Crown Heights, a neighborhood scarred by riots between blacks and Jews in back in 1991, is coming together over something everyone needs - food, WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported.

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman On The Story


“The Jewish community cooks with eggplant. The Caribbean community does not. I remember seeing a Caribbean guy asking a Jewish person, ‘What do you do with that?’ and vice versa. They asked ‘What do you do with callaloo?’” Nancie Katz told Silverman of what happens at the farmers market there.

This little market popped up there last fall at the corner of Albany Avenue and Lefferts Avenue, but its story goes back years.

Katz was a New York Daily News reporter who covered education and then the courts in Brooklyn. She said she saw how few food options there were in the area.

It’s so easy to find unhealthy food, as a man on the street pointed out the nearby dollar menu at McDonald’s.

“The disparity is just galling,” Katz said.

When she left the Daily News, Katz started working with the local schools starting up healthy eating programs.

“Became so popular – the elderly people started coming, the Jewish population started coming – that we realized why don’t we have a farmers market?” she said.

And now they do.

“It looks fresher than the supermarket,” one woman told Silverman. “I don’t want to rat out the supermarket but it looks really good.”

“And it’s good it’s on Thursday because it’s right before the Sabbath,” another said.

It’s a small and poignant way to bring together a community divided for so long.

“Both peoples are actually very creative, innovative, passionate, kind people, you know, and that comes out here,” Katz said.

Do you know of any other ways the Crown Heights neighborhood has come together? Share the story in the comments section below.