Spring 2016


Photo by Nora Bouhaddada
Are you planning a visit to New York City this summer, or maybe a staycation? If so, we suggest you venture off the beaten tourist path to two destinations in the outer boroughs.  

What do a corner grocery in Brooklyn and a shoreline park on Staten Island have in common? If you train your eyes to see, you will observe practitioners of the art of regeneration hard at work in both locales, operating in the shadows of the global capital of finance, but quietly reinventing it. 


Photo by Susan Arterian Chang

To visit Bed-Stuy Fresh & Local, take the A Train, not to Sugar Hill in Harlem as Billy Strayhorn famously suggested, but to Utica Avenue in Brooklyn. If you're looking for the sort of mini-Whole-Foods clone that's typically found in gentrifying neighborhoods, you won't find it here. Instead, you'll be welcomed into an unpretentious organic grocer that opened its doors three years ago with an intentionally warm and wide embrace of the local community. The store has since been supplying residents with healthy food options, the majority of which are sourced from local food producers and regional farms.  

Owners Sheila Akbar and Dylan Ricards had always wanted the store to operate as a worker cooperative, but they were unable to secure funding to realize that dream until they connected with a unique regenerative finance and advisory organization, The Working World, profiled in a recent Field Guide story.
We invite you to read the first chapter of our story of this new-generation "mom and pop" grocer. Visit the store on Facebook for summer events, including upcoming Saturday night BBQs.  


Photo by Nora Bouhaddada

In early June, we met our advisor and Patagonia's long-time chief storyteller Vincent Stanley at the Staten Island Ferry for a visit to Tottenville, where the ambitious, $60 million Living Breakwaters project  that will attempt to restore resilience to a community ravaged by Hurricane Sandy will be located. We spent the day with John Kilcullen, director of Conference House Park, who gave us a tour of the project's site and of the beautiful 267-acre park--rich in history, biodiversity, and shoreline vistas.

Our day trip got us thinking about what it really means to rebuild in places like Tottenville, where once-thriving, place-based economies have been compromised and where natural systems have been degraded, not just by superstorms, but by the "march of progress."  

We look forward to following the course of the Living Breakwaters project as it challenges the Tottenville community, four years after Hurricane Sandy, to renew itself. Our story begins here.

-Susan Arterian Chang, Director of the Field Guide
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    View our videos on YouTube    Visit our blog