Here at 596 Acres, our goal is to create spaces where communities can come together in PUBLIC, with everyone in the neighborhood. We work with individuals and groups who want to steward these spaces, but our ultimate goal is a space that is shared by strangers, who by sharing the space become less strange to one another.
This is a design challenge. Stewarding the conversion of vacant public land to gardens and community spaces can be a lot of work — it certainly takes time and money. It’s natural that our instincts are to protect that effort. But protecting the effort should not be at the expense of spaces that feel truly public, that are not secret gardens locked behind high fences.
As 462 Halsey Street Community Gardens prepare for their Grand Opening this weekend, we asked Shatia Jackson, one of the lead stewards, to explain how they are addressing this challenge (this is inspiring stuff); she said,
“We decided to keep the 462 Halsey community garden gates open to the public during daylight hours to encourage the neighborhood to take part. We want to build a sense of ownership and pride, not to exclude or discourage people from wandering in whenever they want. The first week went really well. With the exception of one person letting their dog poop in the front and a few children who came in unsupervised, but even they were pleasant, curious and ready to learn.”
462 Halsey Community Gardens adopted bylaws that include the following :
462HCG will be open to members all year round and to the general public April 1st to October 31st (unless otherwise specified for events). Hours are as follows:
See at the garden party on Sunday!