Anthony Guevara (he/him)

Anthony is located in Brooklyn, NY and is currently working in food access in New York City after being fired for going on strike at a non-profit farm last summer.

Currently I’m not farming.

I’m working in food access in New York City.

This is kind of a transition thing.

It’s also the winter season, so a bit of a time off. 

I manage youth farmers’ markets and compost collection throughout the city, mainly in Brooklyn and the Bronx. It’s harder now – I’ve been doing that for the summer and into the winter. The hours are cut, I’m working part time. I only have 3 days a week right now. Two of them are market shifts, one of them is a stand alone thing and the other is in a bigger green market. We are supposed to be food access for all communities, but largely food deserts and through the non-profit we are ordering wholesale from local farms and selling it. In the summer there is a workforce development aspect to it so they employ youth. 

Recently, until this past summer, I was farming and I was fired for going on strike.

I had been working for a non-profit food access farm called Project Eats and it was my second season with them.

We were off to a rough start in the beginning and very understaffed.

We were very underpaid, there were a lot of promises that weren’t kept.

We had been communicating with the farm manager as well as the president of the non-profit and were trying to figure something out.

Things kept betting pushed back and expectations weren’t met so we decided to go on strike.

It didn’t last very long.

We got fired.

There were four farmers total and they fired all four farmers.

I had something going on with the National Labor Board – I asked if this was going to go anywhere…we went on for two months. It ended up going nowhere.

It turns out they didn’t have jurisdiction for farmers. 

At first it felt like a lot of my time was wasted, now I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how non-profit farms work and just about farming in general.

Sadly, how few rights you have and even when there are laws – city laws that would protect you – it just feels like there are ways to get around those.

It’s helped me with my non-profit job now to kind of feel out and see similarities between how they operate. 

The owner of Project Eats has an exhibit at MOMA right now.

Her main thing is Project Eats, but it’s a revolving door.

I don’t really know what is going on – I don’t know any of the people working there anymore. I know people have left already. My farm manager is no longer there.

It’s just sad.

The owner appears to be someone who helps the community, and she has helped the community, she opened the first Black-owned art gallery in New York City, but the farming non-profit is




In the first season I was farm staff at the rooftop that they have in the Bronx, partnered with a hospital.

My expectation was that I would be working with the farm manager.

Really it was just me the whole time.

I was given a seeding chart and taught what goes where from the crop plan. I had previous knowledge so I was okay for the most part. It led to me doing the farm stand, the food pantry, trying to get volunteers.

All these roles were either already established or roles that I was told were going to be hired for, so I ended up doing everything.

Oftentimes I was the only person there so I was making executive decisions that I wasn’t compensated for and probably shouldn’t have been making.

The second season I was on an acre and a half to two acres, in a strange location.

There is a men’s shelter and then the farm and the farm is essentially blocking the entrance to Manhattan.

It’s on an island between Manhattan and Queens.

People are constantly coming over the fence as a means of getting into the city from the shelter.

Our seedlings all got destroyed one day, someone came in and flipped over the tables. There is one person doing all of that seeding all over again.

Sometimes people would be sleeping in there, you would open the hoop house and someone would be snoozing in there.

There were just general safety issues, and a lot of things that were not the farmer’s responsibility,

And The men’s shelter is for all convicted sex offenders.

I found out about it through a comedy documentary show called “How To with John Wilson”.

He was interviewing people all over New York and he interviewed someone there and I was like, ‘Woah, I work right there’.

I just feel like it shouldn’t be hidden. 

So you got the men’s shelter,

you got the farm and then soccer and lacrosse fields.

You also have a psych ward.

The bus route goes from the psych ward, to the men’s shelter, soccer and lacrosse field and then the farm.

It’s a trip.

It would be totally fine, but it’s kept so secret until you’re actually there.

Our farm partner was the shelter. We are leasing the land from the shelter – we were supposed to be cooperating with them, but that was non-existent, we were just using their land. 

We were just told the shelter is Help USA, a large national non-profit for helping people get employment, helping people get back into society.

It was purposely kept from us that it was a sex offender men’s shelter.

Some other farmers were told that the leadership didn’t want to tell us that because they thought it would scare people away from Project Eats.

I’d say I’ve been farming for four years total and that has been on and off.

It hasn’t always been in New York City.

I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon.

I was in Korea.

Korea is where I found farming and started doing longer farm stays.

I’ve done a bit of that in both Korea and Japan.

I met a really lovely laid back couple in Korea who were farming two hours outside of Seoul. They had the classic job of working nine to five in an office and went a whole 180 and moved out to the country and started farming. It was a welcoming new experience for me. They had a CSA and it just seemed like money wasn’t the main concern. They were interested in meeting people. I’ve had experiences with farmstays where they use you for free labor and it definitely wasn’t that.

It was about hanging out, learning what you want to learn, taking time to get to know you. They would also take time off for themselves and I respected that.

It made me want to do it for a living, knowing it doesn’t have to be all encompassing. 

Going to Korea, I didn’t have the inkling to do that – I didn’t have an interest in farming. I went there to teach English after college and I met some people out there that I worked with who did farm stays as a means of traveling or grew on their roof. They recommended it to me and at first it was a means of traveling for cheap and going to places that tourists don’t go, but then I fell in love with farming. 

Then I moved to Portland to have a career in farming, and did that for two years and went traveling again in Europe.

I didn’t farm for a year.

I wanted to do something in a city again and I decided to move to New York City and started doing food access stuff and found the Project Eats job within a year. 

I have worked for other people on farms because I feel like I need to learn and improve my skills.

Owning a farm was more of an idea in the past.

When I lived in Oregon, I thought I would work for this amount of years and I could possibly buy land and start something.

That idea has changed.

I felt isolated doing the farm work out there. I was outside the city.

Now I have more of an idea of a cooperative type of farm and also in an urban environment. The ownership part of it is something that I’m thinking of, I wouldn’t say totally no but it would have to be some kind of cooperative thing, sharing the land, multiple owners. 

Part of why I don’t want to farm on my own is my values on land ownership and what that really means – that wouldn’t make me happy.

Land is meant to be shared.

I do also think – from my experience, it’s not livable.

It’s just not going to make a lot of money.

People are more so in debt than profiting off of a farm and employing people. I’ve also had negative experiences from farm owners wanting more and creating greed.

I want to avoid that. 

I love working outside. I love being physical. I think that is the only way that I can work for money.

I like growing food, the simplicity of seeing something start from seed to being edible. Learning, meeting like minded people, all kinds of people. 

I do see myself doing this long term in some capacity. 

A dream farm for me would be something small, like an acre to two acres that is mission driven farming.

Cooperatively owned and managed.

I also think there’s more need for organic or fresh produce in urban settings.

I’ve met so many people of different generations and backgrounds with farming history.

There are a lot of urban gardens, but not as a means of employment.

I’ve met so many people who would totally do it. There are a few non-profit farms that are really good, but they are not so broad. There are a lot of opportunities to use people’s talents and their interests. Brownsville is a largely African American neighborhood and people from Jamaica and island countries. They know way more than I do about stuff that we are growing and either are walking by or volunteering with us – why aren’t these people working here? There are plenty of people like that in New York City.