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The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers Cooperative of Pittsburgh (BUGS FCP)  “revives and continues the tradition of black farmers begun after Emancipation in the 1860’s. It imparts the gardening and agricultural skills many people in the community have to others to keep that tradition alive.”

It addresses the dire food desert problem in many majority-black communities by making fresh food available to people who have limited transportation options. It does this with the biweekly BUGS farmers market and monthly free food distribution in partnership with 412 Food Rescue. The market is in Homewood for now, but BUGS is planning a second market in Uptown/Soho next year. The farmers markets include cooking demonstrations so people can learn new ways to prepare the food they buy, whether they are beginners or experienced cooks.

The markets also hold talks on various social justice themes, such as the impacts of gentrification and increasing economic opportunity in the black community. In this way, the cooperative can keep tabs on developments and issues in the community. That they have a good time doing all of this, too. Music, dance, and art are a part of every farmers market.

There are 25 members now and the organization is growing. BUGS has partnerships with the Black Permaculture Network, Grow Pittsburgh, the Penn State Cooperative Extension’s Pittsburgh Food
Policy Council, Landslide Community Farm, the Homewood YMCA, and many other groups in several majority-black neighborhoods. To join or get more information contact them at blackfarmerscoop at gmail.