Guerrilla Gardeners in Queens

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Why you should care

Because sometimes Central Park is not enough.

Six years ago in the middle of Long Island City in Queens, New York, 11 gardeners commandeered a scraggly patch of abandoned land just beside some railroad tracks. That plot of land, once littered with trash, soon transitioned into a slice of unlikely green life growing in the middle of a New York City industrial business zone. What started as an illegal “guerrilla garden” is now a running urban farm called Smiling Hogshead Ranch, with about 50 member farmers.

“This project and countless other ones like it help people ground themselves in a city that tries to spiral you out toward a system based on money, which doesn’t have anything to do with who we are as humans,” said founding member Gill Lopez. “It allows people to understand themselves as part of nature … rather than some external thing that visits nature every once in a while.”

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