A woman arranges books at The Free Black Women's Library, hosted by 462 Halsey Community Garden on Mothers' Day

Community gardens are not only places to grow fresh food and enjoy the great outdoors with your neighbors. They are also prime locations for pop-up libraries, shows, art-making, meal-sharing, and all kinds of educational and cultural programming that make communities vibrant and strong. Take 462 Halsey Community Garden, pictured above – a Bedstuy community space, formed by neighbors with help from 596 Acres, that hosted The Free Black Women’s Library on Mother’s Day! (Photo by Murray Cox; more photos here.)

Jamaica, Queens – Merrick Marsden Neighbors Association Garden II is having a grand re-opening tomorrow, Saturday May 21 from 10am to 3pm! In 2013, 596 Acres helped the Merrick Marsden Neighbors Association (MMNA) secure this property in the face of havoc wrought by the City’s dastardly tax lien sale. The property is now owned by the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust where it will be preserved as open space in perpetuity and stewarded by MMNA. More info here. Please RSVP to Samuel Belton at 347.579.7564

Williamsburg, Brooklyn – After a years-long campaign, decades of vacancy will be transformed into vibrancy in the Southside as Hooper St. Park Garden! This lot was planned as Open Space through Urban Renewal in a plan adopted by City Council in 1992 – which we have finally brought into being through facilitating relentless local organizing. The lot was just transferred to the NYC Parks Department and can now become a community garden! Contact Robert at to get in on the garden-making fun.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – 9 Moffat Street has arrived at greener pastures! Last year, this lot would have been auctioned off by the City to a private developer if not for our intervention. It was just transferred to NYC Parks and can now become the garden neighbors have been dreaming up! Add your dreams: contact Celeste of Council Member Espinal’s Office at 718-642-8664 or

This brings us to 36 vacant lots transformed by neighbors with support from 596 Acres!Help us support community land access advocacy where it is most needed by donating.

JOIN US THIS SUNDAY #eminentdomain4good 
This Sunday, May 22 from 3pm to 7pm, 596 Acres will be at El Jardin del Paraiso’s Mudball Ball on E 5th St between Aves C & D in Manhattan. Come listen to the audio documentary we made last year in collaboration with El Jardin’s founding members in the garden itself while marveling at old photographs from a founding gardener’s collection. The documentary highlights the use of eminent domain to preserve the emerging garden in the 1990s. Today, communities are asking for the use of eminent domain to protect their vital spaces. You can support current campaigns to protect and preserve beloved garden paraisos; Imani Community Garden in Weeksville, Maple Street Community Garden in Prospect-Lefferts, and Roger That! community garden in Crown Heights, Brooklyn will be featured. Event information here and details here. Get a head start by signing this petition supporting Maple Street Community Garden.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – Your neighbor Wesley is developing a plan to transform a vacant public lot on Dekalb Avenue between Evergreen and Myrtle into a community garden! This weekend, he is gathering neighbors and taking next steps: collecting signatures to show the City that residents want this lot transformed, and creating a proposal for a garden on this lot. This is a great opportunity! Contact him at or 317-698-5224; or, sign up as an organizer here:

Bushwick, Brooklyn – Neighbors contacted us about a vacant lot in their neighborhood – on Stockholm Street near Evergreen Avenue. While the lot has been selected as a potential site of housing development, so far nothing has moved forward and it may be possible to make it into a community space. The next step: create a campaign that will convince the Parks Department that your community group will be successful stewards. Get involved by signing up as an as an organizer here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – In response to our signs, a neighbor called us interested in what options there are for the vacant lot in her life and what the next steps would be. We told her to begin witha petition that neighbors can sign to let the City know they want this lot transformed. Next steps? Put together a proposal for this lot and win the support of the local community board. For a successful proposal, about ten neighbors need to sign up as future volunteers. Become one of them by signing up to organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – It might be time to revive efforts to create a garden on a big vacant lot on Lafayette near Tompkins Avenue. Previous plans have been foiled by the Community Board’s desire to see affordable housing developed there, but that is not so straightforward. We just got a note from another interested neighbor. Our sense of the political climate at this time is that a temporary garden is not possible – HPD has stopped allowing temporary agreements – but a permanent one might be. Several neighbors have posted their email addresses and phone numbers here so you can get in touch to make it happen:

Bedstuy/Crown Heights, Brooklyn – Your neighbor Shadel is putting together a proposal for transforming a vacant lot at Malcolm X Blvd and Chauncey Street into a community garden! Meet in front of the vacant lot next Saturday, May 28 at 11am, email Shadel at, and/or sign up to become an organizer here:

Harlem, Manhattan – Your neighbor Kimbley just joined other neighbors in a campaign to create a garden on a vacant lot on W 137th Street between Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X Boulevard! They are gathering signatures to tell the City that residents want this lot transformed into a public space. Next steps: putting together a proposal for a garden! Contact Kimbley at or 646-662-6503, Seth at and Leora at or 917-337-0147. Join them in signing up as an organizer and track progress here:

Lower East Side, Manhattan – Next Wednesday, May 25 from 5pm to 7pm, Siempre Verde Garden is hosting a Lower East Side History Month Event: Come Protest the Great Meat Boycott! The Great Meat Boycott took place in May 1902 in the Lower East Side and was the first consumer boycott in America; 20,000 women took to the streets to protest the sudden increase in meat prices of meat monopolies, succeeding in getting the monopolies to lower their prices. “We’ll be remembering these ladies fondly and loudly.” More info here.

Harlem, Manhattan – Starting on Wednesday, June 1, St. Nicholas Miracle Garden at 127th St and Malcolm X will be a new NYC Compost Project food scrap drop-off site hosted by Harlem Green and the Lower East Side Ecology Center! Wednesdays from 8am to 11am. More information here. The garden is also looking for more performers for its garden music series! More information here.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Keap Fourth Community Garden at Keap and South 4th Street is hosting free live music for kids (ages 0-4) every Tuesday at 10am, all season long!

Ozone Park, Queens – Pitkin Community Garden on Pitkin and 87th Street is having a garden planning meeting next Wednesday, May 25, 7:30 to 9pm at the Nativity Church, 101-41 91st Street, Corner of Rockaway Blvd. More information on Living Lots NYC, here.

Little Italy, Manhattan – This Saturday, May 21 at 1:30pm, Elizabeth Street Garden is hosting the NYC Kids Project Puppet Show! At Elizabeth Street between Prince and Spring Streets. Grab a picnic lunch and join for a free outdoor puppet show on disability awareness, anti-bullying and character development. Run time is 45 to 55 minutes; best for grades 2 to 6. More information here.

Bedstuy-Bushwick, Brooklyn – Monthly free summer concerts at The People’s Garden start nextFriday, May 27 at 6pm! Come hear CUMBIA DEL BARRIO VOL. IV, R-Tronika, Consumata and DJ Kill DJ and enjoy food from Traze. This is the first in a monthly series, a collaboration between The People’s Garden and Consumata Sonidera, to bring together the community of Bedstuy, Bushwick and NYC through the love of music! Event information here. Promo videohere.

The Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project (HKFP) is seeking a Summer Youth Farm Educator for a pilot youth internship program on their rooftop farm in Hell’s Kitchen! Applications are due next Friday, May 27, interviews will be in early-mid June, and the are looking to hire immediately. This is an exciting opportunity to design and implement a dynamic curriculum and special programming for local high school students focusing on urban agriculture, food and social justice. Full information here. HKFP is also looking for youth residing or attending high school in the Chelsea/Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen community interested in participating in this paid internship program! Applications are due by May 30. Full information here.

Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.

Neighbors signed up to support a community garden that will replace a vacant lot on Malcolm X Blvd and Chauncey Street at the Community Mediation Fair in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Neighbors signed up to support a community garden that will replace a vacant lot on Malcolm X Blvd and Chauncey Street last weekend at the Community Mediation Fair in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. More photos here. Join in the campaign by meeting in front of the lot next Saturday, May 28 at 11am, by emailing Shadel at, and/or by signing up to become an organizer here:

With gratitude,
596 Acres

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