“The first plant that changed my life was a tomato,” says Karen Washington, a black urban farmer in the Bronx. “It was the one fruit that I used to hate.” But after watching one that she’d grown shift in hue from green to yellow to red and taking a bite of it, she was instantly hooked. “When I tasted that tomato, when it was red and it was ripe, and I picked it off the vine, [it]…changed my world because I never tasted anything so good, so sweet. I wanted to grow everything.”
For a quarter century, all manner of trees and flowers, fruits and vegetables, have thrived across abandoned lots in the Bronx because of Washington. Deemed “the queen of urban farming,” she’s an African-American woman who’s dedicated her life to greening New York City’s poorest borough. Since 1985, Washington has assisted dozens of neighborhoods build their own community gardens, taught workshops on farming and promoted racial diversity in agriculture.”
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