Just about everything grown in the 2nd Street Farm in South Troy gets consumed in the same neighborhood.

Dara Silbermann purchased the once vacant lot in 2017, with the goal of connecting the post-industrial neighborhood to food production. She runs a by-donation market at the farm to increase the community’s access to fresh produce since the closest grocery store is more than a mile away.

“The problem with food apartheid isn’t about having enough food for everyone, it’s having a distribution mechanism that includes everyone. And often times, the people who are not included in our good distribution networks are Black and Brown communities, poorer communities and immigrant communities,” said Silbermann.

Silbermann practices regenerative farming by building her own soil from composting food scraps, and she promotes sustainability by collecting materials like leaf bags from yard and tree companies for mulch.

“Everything is coming from things that may have otherwise ended up in Troy landfills,” said Silbermann.

What You Need To Know

  • Dara Silbermann transformed a vacant lot into a vibrant micro-farm in 2017 to help combat "food apartheid"

  • She uses regenerative farming practices and recycled material in nearly every inch of the space

  • The 2nd Street Farm stand opens in mid-May; all produce is for sale by donation

Her main mission, though, is to increase plant and ecological literacy.

“As a city, we lack the ability to identify beneficial plants and harmful plants. I know of people who have gotten code violations for growing walls of watermelons. And that to me just screams of a lack of knowledge because we should be praising walls of watermelons. Where we’re just growing fruit, providing privacy,” said Silbermann.

Silbermann wants to help people feel confident growing their own food. She says you don’t need a lot of space, and you can learn as you go.

“All farmers are just experimenting at all times,” said Silbermann.

The 2nd Street Farm market opens in mid-May at 492 2nd Street in Troy. Silbermann will also be selling produce at Freedom Square market this summer.

She offers by-donation perennial plants, when available, for those looking to grow themselves.

Silbermann will be participating in a perennial dig at the Sanctuary for Independent Media garden on May 8.