The Brady Farm is a part of the Brady Faith Center. Started in 2016 our vision is an urban farm woven into the fabric of the community that provides sustained nutritious foods, employment, and education that nourishes the body, mind and spirit of the residents. In the spirit of Father Brady, the farm is meant to meet the needs of people where they are and in ways that are meaningful to them.
The farm was started in 2016 with generous support and vision from a private donor. The 5.8 acres are lie between Onondaga Creek and a tributary of the creek, and are split between two parcels. Even though the farm has a creek and woods, it is an urban site surrounded by homes, a school, and traffic just blocks away. The site was first farmed in the 1800’s by the McCarthy family. A mill on the McCarthy farm created a small island. Their 20 acre site became known as McCarthy Island. For some time in the early 1900’s the Syracuse Circus was came to the farm for three days each year. In the 1940’s, the farm was sold, apartments were built, then condominiums, and finally another set of apartments. We frequently get visitors who lived in the apartments as children. In 2003, the nearly abandoned apartments were blighted and home to frequent crime. Finally, after a series of murders in one summer at the buildings, Home Headquarter decided to demolish the remaining structures. The property is still owned by Home Headquarters.
When the Shady Willows apartments came down, tests revealed asbestos in buildings and leaky petroleum tanks. Significant portions of soil at the site was removed and clean soil was brought in as backfill. Unlike most urban sites which contain elevated levels of heavy metals, the farm has exceptionally clean soil which was confirmed by soil tests in 2014. While the soil is safe from contamination, remnants of concrete and brick can be found on the site, and the backfilled soil isn’t ideal for growing. Some parts of the fields still have the rich sandy loam that once supported the McCarthy Farm and is a dream to grow in. The development of the Brady Farm offers a chance to transform the physical and social environment of the neighborhood, resurrecting it’s past as place to nourish bodies and bring people together and heal some of the environmental and social scars we left behind.
Our mission is to create an economically sustainable and resilient source of affordable, locally grown food for the community, skilled and employable youth and adults, hands-on community education, and respite for the community. We seek to honor the cultural and environment heritage of the community and the land, serving as stewards and leaning on the hopes and needs of the neighbors to guide our path.
The Brady Faith Center (“BFC”) is an urban mission on the southwest side of Syracuse, NY which strives to serve as an “oasis for peace, hope, and justice.” BFC has a 70-year history, begun by Father Charlie J. Brady, of walking the streets and neighborhoods of Syracuse, loving people, advocating for justice, and spreading the good news that God’s compassion and grace is present for all. The Brady Faith Center’s mission is to meet the spiritual, educational, and social needs of individuals and families in the Southwest Community of Syracuse.
For more information about the Brady Faith Center please visit http://bradyfaithcenter.org/