[sws_picture_frame7 src=”http://bloomfield-garfield.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/community-members-maria-graziani.png” title=”” alt=”Maria Graziani” align=”sws_frame_left” lightbox=”” album=”album” video=””] [/sws_picture_frame7]

Who starts a farm on 15 abandoned and tax-delinquent lots on a hilltop in the middle of a struggling city neighborhood where people once mined coal? That was exactly what Maria Graziani did in 2005 when she founded Healcrest Urban Farm at the top of Garfield. Graziani was an urban studies major who came to Garfield as a block-and-lot intern with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and decided to stay. Through a partnership with the BGC, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the city’s Green-Up Program, she was able to pull together just under 2 acres of land to launch her dream. When she started out, the land was “filled with garbage… DPW [Department of Public Works] hauled off about two big trucks of it.” Starting out as a vegetable farm, Healcrest has since moved into specializing in medicinal and culinary herbs. Graziani sells the herbs in bulk and also uses them to create a line of natural body-care products and herbal teas under the name Vital Mother Moon.