She returned to her roots.
Now she runs a thriving urban farm wedged into a triangular plot in the Bronx, between the Grand Concourse and the Metro North railroad tracks. At her farm, New Roots Garden, membership consists of refugees and migrants, resettled by the International Rescue Committee, whose herbs and vegetables sustain their memories of home.
“Just putting your hands in soil is a form of healing,” Ms. Durrant, 63, said.
The plot she has managed with volunteers for eight years sits on city land and is among more than 500 community gardens in New York City. About a third of them have sprouted in the Bronx, where the gardens are emerald oases, providing residents a respite from hot, treeless streets clogged with traffic, as well as a bounty of locally grown food.
In a city whose climate has more recently been considered subtropical, these plots also try to temper the effects of climate change, absorbing water and carbon emissions as heat waves, intense rain and mostly snowless winters wreak havoc.
Lawmakers in Albany this year acknowledged those benefits, especially in the fight against climate change, voting to designate these kinds of gardens statewide as crucial to the urban environment. Passed with strong bipartisan support, the bill awaits the governor’s signature.
Photographed for The New York Times, with words by David GonzalezVital Places of Refuge in the Bronx, Community Gardens Gain Recognition
Lawmakers in Albany voted to designate community gardens statewide as crucial to the urban environment, especially in the fight against climate change. The bill awaits the governor’s signature but the role of these gardens stretches back decades.