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Guerilla farmers will soon be allowed to put down roots in LIC


Smiling Hogshead Ranch

Nov. 9, 2013 By Christian Murray,

A group of guerrilla farmers who illegally started a garden on an abandoned Long Island City lot will soon get the recognition they have long sought.

The group put down a garden on an industrial site, located on the corner of Skillman Avenue and Pearson Place, nearly 3 years ago.  They call their plot the Smiling Hogshead Ranch.

“It’s over an acre in size with largely unused railroad tracks crisscrossing through it,” Gil Lopez, a co-founder, said. Lopez said that the group rode their bikes around the area at the time—and used computers—to find the site.

The land, however, belonged to the MTA—despite the fact that there weren’t any signs saying ‘No Trespassing’ or ‘Keep Out.’

However, Lopez’ group has been lucky. It’s working with the MTA to structure a deal where it will be able to use the land in return for a small fee.

With recognition looming, the group is starting to put forward some lofty plans. It seeks non-profit status to raise funds; offer job-training programs for prospective gardeners; and work with schools to introduce children to horticulture.

Lopez said the group has had the soil tested at the industrial lot and that its members eat the produce—which include tomatoes, eggplant and fruit. He said that they have used mushrooms to clean the soil through a process call mycoremediation

The group has a large compost pile and is urging the public to drop off leaves, fruits, eggshells and other table scraps between noon and 4pm on Sundays.

Location of farm

Location of garden

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Thanks for this great article. The folks at smiling Hogshed are responsible, well educated and graciously deserving of these rights. They will certainly be of interest to the community in coming years and i encourage readers to see the spot for themselves.


Thanks for the write-up Christian. I want to encourage anyone interested in the Ranch to visit and “like” us on Facebook, Twitter ( @SmilingHogshead) & our Tumblr feed for upcoming events and come for a visit:
We are winding down for the season but still have a few things going on before winter sets in. We are always looking for new members and extra hands to help out.


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