by Raven Cotyledon
The Cotyledon community is focused on, among other things, food justice and urban agriculture. We are connected with several related organizations in western Queens, including Hellgate Farm, the Queens Action Council, and Just Soil. We do our principle work, however, with a small community garden/urban farm called Smiling Hogshead Ranch (also known as SHHR, Hogshead, or the Ranch).
I first met gil when he was organizing a fundraiser for SHHR called the Hogshead Hoedown. I was impressed with all the people involved and how gil kept telling everyone what a great job they were doing.
Later, through gil, I met DNA. The three of us began talking about creating a commune but we also tried to start a composting business at the Ranch. I was living at Ganas on Staten Island and it took me two hours (each way!) to get to Hogshead, whether by train or by bike. One of the main reasons we chose to build Cotyledon in Queens was to be near the Ranch.
Gil was one of the founders of SHHR and is a director there. DNA has been working there for many years, building things and gardening. Recently, gil and DNA have been organizing young people at the Ranch, working with the Youth Leadership Council. I am a faithful composter there and, a couple of weeks ago ended up teaching small groups of third graders about snails, as part of Smiling Hogshead Ranch’s educational mission.
None of us get paid for the work we do at the Ranch. Rather, we see Hogshead as one of the main ways we can promote what we believe to the world. Smiling Hogshead Ranch isn’t the only thing that Cotyledon does, not by any means, but we see it as one of the most important.