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News from the Acres - July 2, 2015

02 July 2015

 

summer *fun*raiser - friday, july 24th!!!

596 ACRES SUMMER *FUN*RAISER 
On Friday, July 24th support 596 Acres continuing work to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by joining us in raising funds and fun at the 596 Acres' Summer *FUN*raiser from 7 pm to 2 am at Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Brooklyn. Party with DJ DirtyFinger and more! PRE-ORDER YOUR TICKETS TODAY! Join the Facebook event, too!

GARDENS AT RISK UPDATES
This morning gardeners of Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, in Prospect Lefferts Gardens Brooklyn) successfully used the order they got via their attorney, Paula Z. Segal of Mohen & Segal, to tell a contractor GET OFF OUR LAND! The contractor was hired by Housing Urban Development LLC, a company claiming to own the property that the garden is on. This article from DNA Info covers the gardeners dealings with these historically fraudulent operators.

The Roger That Garden Project (at the corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) is a lively neighborhood space that also under threat of private development! TYC Realty claims to have purchased the deed to the land, subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax debt liens, for $10. These developers have attempted to illegally lock out the gardeners. The gardeners are heading back to Landlord-Tenant Court this Tuesday, July 7th at 10 am at 141 Livingston Street (at Smith Street) in Room 603. Please attend! Your attendance not only help support this garden, but makes a statement about public space across our city! Arrive by 9:45 to allow time to go through security, and if you'd like a Roger That t-shirt to wear, please join the Facebook event page and leave a note! The space boasts an amazing mural created by the Crown Heights Youth Collective. Are you an attorney with experience with the Visual Artists Rights Act? Help save a piece of public history! Email paula@596acres.org.

URBAN SUSTAINABILITY
Join the NYC Urban Sustainability Meetup and the NYC Energy and Environment Happy Hour this Tuesday, July 7th where Paula will give a short presentation on land, access and sustainability. For more info and to RSVP, click here.

1278 MYRTLE RIBBON CUTTING & 596 ACRES GENERAL MEETING
On Saturday, July 18th join 596 Acres in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening of1278 Myrtle (at the intersection of Cedar Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) with a ribbon cutting! In July, of 2014 596 Acres worked with the local nonprofit BK Rot, a collective dedicated to compost collection and redistribution via a youth employment program, get the abandoned lots transferred to the Parks Department!

The ribbon cutting will kick off at 3 pm, shortly followed by a 596 Acres General Meeting that will run until 5 pm. This is a great chance to see what's happening in a newly established, active, land-secure site and come share updates of your organizing campaign. Contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 ormary@596acres.org with questions!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Grand Concourse, Bronx - On the east side of the Macombs Dam Bridge there's a sliver of landcontrolled by the Economic Development Corporation. Neighbors who attended Bronx Community Board 4's Parks Committee meeting a few weeks ago contacted us about improving the space. Neighbors are tired of having to call the Department of Sanitation to complain that it needs to be cleaned up! If you're interested in teaming up to help beautify this patch of land, contactorganizers@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 to connect with other neighbors!

South Bronx - Lamine, who runs a catering business in front of the MTA-owned lot on East 150th Street near Grand Concourse, would like to see the space turned into a well-lit park with seating to help improve the safety and aesthetics of the block. Contact Lamine at 718-885-5723 orLamineSylla@netzero.com if you're a neighbor who can lend your support!

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - The Green and Government Club of PS 146 is drawing attention to thetriangular Department of Transportation-owned lot next door to their school. Recently, they moved one of their school garden planters inside the space and decorated the concrete walkways with chalk! Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to check out the artistry! 596 Acres and the club are working on planning a signature-gathering event in the coming weeks. Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to learn more!

Lots with Access
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Keap Fourth Community Garden (the corner of Keap and South 4th Streets) is hosting a Full Moon Poetry Reading reading TONIGHT, Thursday, June 2nd from 9 pm to 10 pm. All are welcome! If you would like to read poetry please contact Kaitlynnissen@gmail.com.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Ten Neighbors Garden (658 Saratoga Avenue at the corner of Blake Avenue) is holding a workday next Saturday, July 11th from 4 pm to 6 pm. Help the newly re-established garden to level the ground, move garbage, plant and much more.

Lower East Side, Manhattan - On Monday, July 13th Siempre Verde Garden (Stanton and Attorney Streets) is receiving a load of mulch and needs volunteers to help move it and spread it! Head over the garden at 9 am and wear work clothes and gloves, if you can!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $180,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email atorganizers@596acres.org and let us know!

yours,
596 Acres

 

 

596 Acres Summer FUNraiser

02 July 2015

Have you ever enjoyed the transformational quality of creating a new space together with your neighbors? 596 Acres has facilitated the transformation of 32 vacant lots into something better!

Help us continue to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by joining us in raising funds and fun at 596 Acres' Summer *FUN*raiser on Friday, July 24th from 7 pm to 2 am.

This event will be kid- and adult-friendly and include a plant sale, face painting, a magician, haircuts, photobooth, snacks, drinks, live music and a dance party with DJing by DJ DirtyFinger (https://soundcloud.com/dirtyfinger) and more! Stay tuned for more information!. Join the Facebook event, too: https://www.facebook.com/events/481018605386778/

Can't wait to see you there! Buy advacne tickets below.

Friday, July 24 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Gowanus Studio Space, 166 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

 

Join us!

News from the Acres - June 25, 2015

25 June 2015
today at 2 pm: emergency meeting at maple street community garden!!!

 

EMERGENCY MEETING FOR MAPLE STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN THIS AFTERNOON!
Yesterday an Emergency Order was drawn up by lawyers of Housing Urban Development LLC, a company claiming to own the property that Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) is on, that called for an injunction barring gardeners from the property. Unfortunately, the order was signed by Judge Mark Partnow without hearing any arguments other than what the court attorney reported to him after the lawyers from each of the two sides gave him the main points of their cases. This is another tactic by the historically fraudulent operators to evict gardeners from land! Back in February, gardeners, via their attorney Paula Z. Segal of Mohen & Segal, got an order from civil landlord tenant court directing that Housing Urban Development LLC and their representatives should stay off the property as well. This order is still in effect. This means NO ONE is allowed on the property for the time being. 

*PLEASE HEAD OVER THE GARDEN THIS AFTERNOON, THURSDAY, JUNE 25TH from 2 pm to 4 pm* for an emergency planning session. All are welcome! Please show your support for this powerful community resource that is being threatened by fraud!

WE'RE HIRING A PROGRAM MANAGER FOR THE NYC COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS PROGRAM
Do you want to play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land? We are looking for a flexible thinker who is ready to commit to a growing organization and would be thrilled to connect technology and organizing. Click here for more details on what the job entails, what we're looking for in an applicant, and how to apply.

SAVE THE DATES
Join the NYC Urban Sustainability Meetup and the NYC Energy and Environment Happy Hour onTuesday, July 7th where Paula will give a short presentation on land, access and sustainability. For more info and to RSVP, click here.

On Saturday, July 18th join 596 Acres in celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening of1278 Myrtle (at the intersection of Cedar Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) with a ribbon cutting! In July of 2014 596 Acres worked with the local nonprofit BK Rot, a collective dedicated to compost collection and redistribution via a youth employment program, get the abandoned lots transferred to the Parks Department! The ribbon cutting will kick off at 3 pm, shortly followed by a 596 Acres General Meeting that will run until 5 pm. This is a great chance to see what's happening in a newly established, active, land-secure site and come share updates of your organizing campaign. Contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org with questions!

On Friday, July 24th support 596 Acres continuing work to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by joining us in raising funds and fun at the 596 Acres' Summer *FUN*raiser from 7 pm to 2 am at Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Brooklyn. Party with DJ DirtyFinger and more! Stay tuned for more information and how to pre-order tickets!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The vacant lot on Suydam Street between Herkimer Street and Atlantic Avenuewas planned as "Open Space (Park & Playground)" in the Central Brooklyn Urban Renewal Plan and has been sitting in Housing Preservation and Development's inventory for decades - waiting to become open space! A women's astronomy club in the neighborhood is super motivated to transform the lot into community composting and vegetable-growing site that can host an array of other activities. The ladies are on the agenda for the next Brooklyn Community Board 3 meeting in September, and have the summer to plan and collect a bunch of support. Want to help? Contact Chopp at chopp.stewart@thefutureproject.org or 904-405-6291.

Morrisania, Bronx - Neighbors organizing around the former Department of Transportation (DOT) roadbed on East 159th between St. Ann's and Eagle Avenues have crafted an online petition (sign it!) and their own signs now hanging on the lot (scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to see them!) to help draw in support for their future garden. Contact Victor at maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at718-665-4281 if you have questions or want to help out in some way!

South Bronx - At a recent Bronx Community Board 4 Parks Committee meeting, we met neighbors who were concerned about the MTA-owned lot on East 150th Street near Grand Concourse, which is dimly lit and attracts trash and rodents. Lamine, who runs the catering company behind the lot, would like to see the space turned into a well-lit park with seating to help improve the safety and aesthetics of the block. Contact Lamine at 718-885-5723 or LamineSylla@netzero.com if you're a neighbor who can lend your support!

South Bronx - Do you live within Bronx Community District 3? Last week 596 Acres visited the Parks Committee of the Community Board, who would love to see more neighbors getting motivated to start new open space and garden projects on some of the vacant, City-owned land in the district, such as the tiny lot at 829 Freeman near Prospect Avenue that's only 17 feet wide, or the triangular corner lot with sloping levels at Washington Avenue and East 161st. Contact organizers@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 to learn how to connect with neighbors to turn these spaces into something better than vacant lots!

Rosedale, Queens - Where Francis Lewis Boulevard meets 145th Avenue there's a lot filled with trees floating on the corner, waiting to become a pocket park or neighborhood hang-out spot! Contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org if you want to find out how you can bring your neighbors together to make something happen!

Lots with Access
Long Island City, Queens - Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Avenue near Pearson Place) is holding a Post Workday Workday this coming Tuesday, June 30th from 6 pm to 8 pm. Join the weeding, fertilizing, and watering fun!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Siempre Verde Garden (Stanton and Attorney Streets) is hosting a series of finger knitting workshop for people ages 7 and up in conjunction with Hamilton Fish Library on from 1 pm to 3 pm on Wednesdays for the entire month of July, kicking off July 1st. Make bracelets, necklaces and decorate fences! All are welcome!

COLLABORATORS
The Isabahlia Farmers' Market in Brownsville, Brooklyn is kicking off for the season starting this Saturday, June 27th! The market will run every Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm through November 7th at the Powell Street Garden at 410 Livonia Avenue between Powell and Junius Streets. You'll find eggs, jam, fresh produce from the garden, cooking demos and more! For questions contactisabahlialoef@aol.com or call 718-498-3174.

 
GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $180,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email atorganizers@596acres.org and let us know!

yours,
596 Acres

We're Hiring a Program Manager for the NYC Community Land Access Program!

22 June 2015

Since 2011 596 Acres' Community Land Access Program has helped 32 groups transform vacant, City-owned pieces of land into community resources. Our online mapping tools makes information about public property available and easy to understand. We also engage neighbors by hanging up signs up on the fences and work with them to help realize community control over spaces.  As the program manager, you'll play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land and shaping how the program grows.. This job is part visionary, part coach and part super-letter-writer.


We are looking for a flexible thinker who is ready to commit to a growing organization who is thrilled to connect technology and organizing. Here's what you’ll do:

Program Management:
  • Coordinate, collaborate, and strategize in tandem with Executive Director
  • Work closely with 596 Acres advisory committee, both as a staff support and strategic partners
  • Manage volunteers and interns
  • Support development of organization’s programmatic work plan
  • Work with the Executive Director, governance board, staff and members to develop and evaluate organizing strategies
  • Generate new program ideas and work with staff and board to implement and carry out programming related to the organization’s priorities
  • Write the weekly News From the Acres
  • Use social media as development tool
  • Develop print and web materials as needed
  • Manage graphic designers and cartographers
  • Foster a team-oriented, supportive, accountable work environment at 596 Acres
  • Develop materials for communicating program strengths to funders

Outreach:
  • Hang signs on fences of vacant lots City-wide
  • Lead workshops for various community based organizations and neighborhood groups
  • Table for 596 Acres at community events
  • Initiate and cultivate meaningful collaborations with community leaders, local politicians, and community-based organizations
  • Represent the organization with local and state government officials, in the media, and with private organizations
  • Use social media as outreach and organizing tool
  • Help complete a summer outreach project to visit 7 community boards in districts with the highest concentration of vacant, public land to share information about 596 Acres' work, current neighborhood land access organizing efforts, and district-specific maps

Land Access Advocacy Organizing:
  • Support the organizing efforts of local land access advocates around NYC by monitoring website activity and following up with active organizing groups regularly
  • Process and respond to new intake/email within 48 hours
  • Maintain our email-oriented database with extreme attention to detail
  • Stay current on process of application for license and leases through relevant city agencies for community use
  • Liaise with city agencies and intervene in direct community outreach when needed
  • Help complete a summer outreach project to visit 7 community boards in districts with the highest concentration of vacant, public land to share information about 596 Acres' work, current neighborhood land access organizing efforts, and district-specific maps
  • Facilitate monthly general meetings

Here's what we're looking for in an applicant:
  • Extreme comfort with email and filing
  • Experience in and commitment to bottom-up organizing, grassroots leadership, and collective decision-making
  • Comfort with responding to email immediately within regular working hours
  • Comfort with flexible organizing schedule to accommodate community event needs
  • Willingness to travel throughout the five boroughs
  • Familiarity with City government processes (and willingness to learn more about them!)
  • Demonstrated ability to work in multi-racial, multi-lingual settings

This is a full time position with benefits that will begin on September 1, 2015. Our office is in Gowanus, Brooklyn; regular office hours are required. To apply, submit a cover letter and resume to organizers@596acres.org.  Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

 

News from the Acres - June 18, 2015

18 June 2015
community boards supporting community land!

Thanks, Patchen Community Square (at the corner of Patchen and Putnam Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn), for hosting 596 Acres' general meeting this past Saturday!

UPDATE: GARDENS AT RISK
Last Thursday night Brooklyn Community Board 8 voted in favor of sending a letter to Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) asking that the Imani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue) in Crown Heights be removed from the list of sites being offered to developers for $1 and that the garden be transferred to the Parks Department. Thanks, Brooklyn CB 8! (Scroll down to the News from the Acres section to hear what else was in this awesome letter that 596 Acres drafted!)

Last night Brooklyn Community Board 4 in Bushwick voted unanimously (with 1 abstention) to advise HPD that the lot the EL Garden (Jefferson Street at Evergreen Place) is on be removed from #HPDlist as well! Hooray!

This Saturday, June 20th #HPDlist space Tranquility Farm (659 Willoughby Avenue at Throop Avenue) in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn is hosting an Open House from noon to 2 pm with Council Member Robert Cornegy as special guest! Head over to show the Council Member how important public open space is to you!

For two years the Roger That Garden Project (at the corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn has been battling a real estate company who claims to have purchased the property the garden is on for $10. Head over to the space this Saturday, June 20th from 4 pm to 7:30/8 pm to help gardeners paint some text on the fence that draws attention to the fact that the space's beautiful mural, created by the Crown Heights Youth Collective, is also a risk and encourages residents to contact Council Member Robert Cornegy's office. Gardeners are also getting geared up to head back to court on Tuesday, July 7th. Save the date! More details to come!

ON THE ROAD
596 Acres's Paula Z. Segal is headed to Detroit this Sunday, June 21st to share the Living Lots framework, strategy and open source tools at the 2015 Allied Media Conference, as part of the Building the Other World That's Possible track of conference programs organized by the New Economy Coalition. Check out the archive of Beautiful Solutions that the organizers created that also feature 596 Acres.

SAVE THE DATE: 596 ACRES' *FUN*RAISER 
Help us continue to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by joining us in raising funds and fun at 596 Acres' Summer *FUN*raiser on Friday, July 24th from 7 pm to 2 am at Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Brooklyn. This event will be kid- and adult-friendly and include a plant sale, facepainting, a magician, haircuts, photobooth, snacks, drinks, live music, a dance party with DJing by DJ DirtyFinger and more! Stay tuned for more information and how to pre-order tickets!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Weeksville, Brooklyn - On Wednesday, June 24th starting at 2:45 pm teachers and students from PS 335 Granville T. Wilson School will be collecting signatures and hanging signs on the corner lot across the street from their school at 1662 Bergen Avenue at Rochester Avenue. Head over to sign your name and share what you're excited to see in the space! Last Thursday night Brooklyn Community Board 8 voted in favor of sending a draft letter that 596 Acres crafted to HPD and Mayor di Blasio asking that an interim-use community garden be allowed on this site and the site at 175 Buffalo Avenue, where the Celestial Church of Christ has been organizing. Awesome!

Bushwick, Brooklyn - So much happened at last night's Brooklyn Community Board 4 meeting:

  • The board voted to put approval of the plans for the property at the corner of Bushwick Avenue and Beaver Street on hold, pending a redesign by the Parks Department to reflect community concerns about safety and input in the design process. In the future there will be a meeting with the Parks Department and the architecture team, hosted by the Community Board, and all are invited! Add your name and contact info to the lot's page by clicking the "organize" button to stay in the loop!
  • The board voted not to recommend that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services-controlled lot on Moffat Street and Broadway Avenues should not go through ULURP to be auctioned to private bidders. This is an opportunity for neighbors to get organized and advocate to have the property transferred to the Parks Department to become a secure community space! Contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org to find out how to get started!
  • Parks Department is in the process of acquiring the property on Moffat Street where Knickerbocker Avenue ends to create a new skate park for the neighborhood! Keep in touch with Brooklyn Community Board 4 to stay updated on the progress!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - At the 596 Acres General Meeting on Saturday we chatted with Sophia who has been working to turn the lot at 2334 Tilden Avenue at Lott Street into a garden. Next step? Sophia is going to connect with Council Member Mathieu Eugene (who has expressed support for open space) and find out what he can do to turn the last vacant, public lot in his district into a valuable neighborhood resource! Contact Sophia atgreenlodging20@yahoo.com or 718-501-2395 to join the efforts.

Edgemere, Queens - This past Sunday the 596 Acres team headed to the Rockaways for a sign-making and signature-gathering event at at the corner of Beach 43rd Street and Beach Channel Drive, where neighbors have been organizing to create a new community growing space. (Scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter to see photos of the action!) Over 70 signatures were gathered! With the help of 596 Acres, these residents are teaming up with other Edgemere organizers, like Steve Cooper, who is organizing around316 Beach 46th Street at Rockaway Beach Boulevard, to arrange a meeting with Council Member Donovan Richards to find out how these groups can gain access to their sites despite HPD's recent refusal to issue interim-use licenses!

Lots with Access
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - 462 Halsey Community Garden (at Lewis Street) is co-hosting a Dig In Art workshop on "Printmaking with Everyday Objects" this Saturday, June 20th from noon to 3 pm. Check out the Facebook flyer for more details.

Harlem, Manhattan - This Sunday, June 21stSt. Nicholas Miracle Garden (St. Nicholas Avenue between West 126th and 127th Streets) is a venue for performances as a part ofMake Music New York. Click here to see the full line-up for the day!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Siempre Verde Garden (Stanton and Attorney Streets) is looking for a Living Wall Expert. The garden will be working with the school LES Prep in July and August during their summer term to build a living wall and are looking for experts who can speak to the kids on how to do it, provide them with best practice example and give them feedback on their designs. If you or someone you know can help, contact Sylvia Clow-Wilson at sylviacw@gmail.com or Ursula Murphy at ursulam@gmail.com.

COLLABORATORS
New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly general meeting is TONIGHT, June 18th at 6:30pm, near the Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island. Take the D, F, N, or Q to Coney Island, head south to the boardwalk, and make a right, and walkjust past the Brooklyn Cyclones Stadium to a boardwalk gazebo. In addition to general community garden happenings, updates in the Boardwalk Community Garden case will be discussed. The NYCCGC are planning to take part in the Mermaid Parade this Saturday, June 20th to draw attention to the ongoing case and need your support! Head to the meeting to learn more!

The Isabahlia Farmers' Market in Brownsville, Brooklyn is kicking off for the season starting Saturday, June 27th! The market will run every Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm through November 7th at the Powell Street Garden at 410 Livonia Avenue between Powell and Junius Streets. You'll find eggs, jam, fresh produce from the garden, cooking demos and more! For questions contact isabahlialoef@aol.com or call 718-498-3174.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!
 

yours,
596 Acres

News from the Acres - June 11, 2015

11 June 2015
596 acres general meeting: this saturday, june 13th at 3 pm in brooklyn

SEE YOU SATURDAY!
Our next general meeting for aspiring and seasoned land stewards 
is this Saturday, June 13 at 3pm!
Whether you're stuck in the middle of a land access campaign or just curious about how to get started, come to 596 Acres' General Meeting to get the scoop! We'll be meeting at the lovely Patchen Community Square (at the corner of Patchen and Putnam Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn), a site 596 Acres helped access in the spring of 2012 anda garden at risk! Take the J or Z Trains to Gates Avenue and take an 8 minute walk south, or take the A or C Trains to Utica Avenue and take a 15 minute walk north. Contact Mary at mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

UPDATE: GARDENS AT RISK
This past Tuesday morning, members of the Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) and Paula Z. Segal, the garden's attorney, headed back to Supreme Court to fight the speculators who are claiming to be the owners of the land the garden is on. Another new lawyer for Housing Urban Development LLC appeared and their unpreparedness meant that their underlying motion for a default judgement and the gardener's motion to dismiss were adjourned until September. Now the gardeners have the summer to enjoy their space!

Last Thursday 596 Acres and gardeners from a few of the at-risk #hpdlist gardens in Brooklyn were a part of the Van Allen Institute's HANGOUTS! A Medley of Presentations, Conversations, and PerformancesImani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue) in Crown Heights, Patchen Community Square (at Patchen and Putnam Avenues) in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and 462 Halsey Community Garden (between Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue) in Bedford-Stuyvesant all participated in talking about their spaces. (That's a shot of the action at the top of this newsletter!)

For two years the Roger That Garden Project (at the corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn has been battling a real estate company who claims to have purchased the property the garden is on for $10. Read more about the history of the lot, the efforts of gardeners, and the sneaky last-minute call to court in this article from Gothamist.

SAVE THE DATE: 596 ACRES' *FUN*RAISER 
Help us continue to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by joining us in raising funds and fun at 596 Acres' Summer *FUN*raiser on Friday, July 24th from 7 pm to 2 am at Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Brooklyn. This event will be kid- and adult-friendly and include a plant sale, facepainting, a magician, haircuts, photobooth, snacks, drinks, live music, a dance party with DJing by DJ DirtyFinger and more! Stay tuned for more information and how to pre-order tickets!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Weeksville, Brooklyn - 596 Acres has been working with both the Celestial Church of Christ and PS 335 Granville T. Wilson School, to help turn the publicly-owned spaces at175 Buffalo Avenue and 1662 Bergen Avenue, respectively, into thriving community gardens! Brooklyn Community Board 8 is considering combining the draft letter that 596 Acres crafted to Housing Preservation and Development and Mayor di Blasio asking that these groups be allowed steward these spaces with a support letter advocating for the preservation of Imani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue) in Crown Heights! The full board is voting on the letter TONIGHT, Thursday, June 11th at 7 pm at 1291 St. Marks Avenue between Rochester and Buffalo Avenues. Fingers crossed!

Edgemere, Queens - Last week, Queens Community Board 14 sent off a letter directly to Housing Preservation and Development requesting that the agency allow neighbors to transform the lot at the corner of Beach 43rd and Beach Channel Drive into a garden! With the help of 596 Acres, organizers are holding a pop-up event this Sunday, June 14thfrom 12 pm to 4 pm to make signs and gather more supporters! All are welcome! We're also looking for some folks who want to sell or share art, crafts, plants, food, and more!Contact Alexis at 347-606-9925 or Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 if you want to help.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Last night neighbors gathered for a meeting in front of the lot at 463 Tompkins Avenue between MacDonough and Macon Streets to plan next steps. Next, a signature-gathering campaign begins! If you live in the area and want to help by gathering some support from whomever you know in the neighborhood, contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - Attention Bushwick residents! Wednesday, June 17th at 6 pm Brooklyn Community Board 4 will be holding their monthly general meeting with a presentation by the Parks Department on the design plans for the property at the corner of Bushwick Av and Beaver Street. The meeting will be held at the Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center at 195 Linden Street at the corner of Wilson Avenue. Anyone interested in this future of this long-awaited park should head to this meeting to hear what's planned and also voice your input!

Morrisania, Bronx - Neighbors organizing around the former Department of Transportation (DOT) roadbed on East 159th between St. Ann's and Eagle Avenues have created bilingual petitions and fliers, and written letters to local businesses, schools, churches, and the Bronx Borough President! Contact Victor at maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at718-665-4281 to get your name on the petition or stay looped in for the next meeting.

Lots with Access
Greenpoint, Brooklyn - Java Street Community Garden (Java Street at Franklin Avenue) is having a SPRING into SUMMER party this Saturday, June 13th from 12 pm to 4 pm. This party will host food, a raffle, a compost workshop, seed bomb making, and more!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - Members of Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) will be working on the garden's awesome mural and the rainwater harvesting system this Sunday, June 14th at 10 am. If you're interested in learning how to do either of these things, head on over!

COLLABORATORS
Am I Invisible? NYC | SP Open Call 2015 invites everyone to make visible their experience of city biking and urban mobility through art and photography. The Open Call is free to enter, and runs from May 3rd to June 30th, 2015. Submit your images to win prizes! Find out more at bicycleutopia.com.

Since 2009, Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ has been successfully runninga community garden on their school grounds and helping to raise produce for needy families in the area. This August, the university if hosting its first regional community garden conference, Gardening for Good, from August 6th through 9th and will feature three keynote speakers and 4 subthemes: Health and Gardening, Community and Sustainability, Urban Gardening and Poverty and Gardening and Education. A call for proposals is running now through June 30th! Click here for more info and to apply!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Free Sod?
Neighbors Allied for Good Growth are hosting the Williamsburg Walks in Brooklyn this weekend, and will have a LOTS OF SOD to give away following the event on Sunday, June 14th!  It will be ready for pick up at 5:30 pm along Bedford Ave between North 5th and 7th Streets and between North 9th and 11th Streets. Keep in mind there will be no thru traffic on Bedford so you will need to park at one of the cross street intersections. Just show up if you're interested!


The NYC Environmental Law Leadership Institute visits Isabahlia Garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn, another garden at risk on HPD's list of sites offered to developers for $1.


yours,
596 Acres

News from the Acres - June 4, 2015

04 June 2015

 

tonight: #hpdgardens hanging out with the van allen institute

#HPDLISTGARDENS AT THE VAN ALLEN INSTITUTE
TONIGHT, Thursday, June 4th from 7 pm to 9 pm 596 Acres and gardeners from a few of the at-risk #hpdlist gardens in Brooklyn will be part of the Van Allen Institute's HANGOUTS! A Medley of Presentations, Conversations, and Performances at BRIC Arts Media House at 647 Fulton Street at Rockwell Place in Brooklyn. Come hear from Imani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue) in Crown Heights, Patchen Community Square (at Patchen and Putnam Avenues) in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and 462 Halsey Community Garden (between Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue) in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver will be there as well! There are still tickets available!

SAVE THE DATE
Our next general meeting for aspiring and seasoned land stewards will be in a garden in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 13 at 3pm. Watch this space to find out which garden and mark your calendar now! 

UPDATE: GARDENS AT RISK

On Tuesday night, the Brooklyn Community Board 8 Parks Committee unanimously voted to request that the full board write a letter advising that the Imani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue, Crown Heights) be removed from Housing Preservation and Development's list of sites being offered to developers for $1 (the #hpdlist!) and asking for the garden to be transferred to the Parks Department! This community is making its opinion known! Keep going! 

This coming Tuesday, June 9th at 9:30 am Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) and Paula Z. Segal, the garden's attorney, will be back at the Kings County Civil Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, Room 441 fighting speculators who are claiming to be the owners of the land the garden is on. Attendance is important! We need all the bodies we can get to show the judge that Prospect-Lefferts residents will be impacted by the court's decision!

LAST WEEKEND AT IDEAS CITY 
Great to see those of you that came out to visit 596 Acres' booth (pictured at the top of this newsletter) at the New Museum's Ideas City Festival on Saturday! 596 Acres, Deborah Berke Partners, and GRT Architects presented "What do we do with our land?," a set of audio tours which focus on the mechanisms residents of the Bowery and Lower East Side can and have used to affect development in their neighborhoods. Missed coming out to take the tour? Listen to the oral histories of land stewards from the Cooper Square Committee, the Elizabeth Street and Siempre Verde Gardens, and El Jardin de Paraiso at your own convenience. You can also check out the cool map of these sites we shared at the festival.

UPDATE: NYC REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COOPERATIVE
The first membership meeting of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (REIC) was last Thursday night. An REIC is way for people to pool money to buy buildings and land, and chose to own the what they buy and lease affordably! Together, over the next few months, members will be working and learning in area-specific workgroups and will come together again in September for a membership report back. If you're interested in joining the REIC, click here to learn how! If you're interested in joining a workgroup, check out the workgroup meeting schedule and emailreic4nyc@gmail.com to have a facilitator plug you in.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn - Caitlin runs The Movement Creative, a company that teaches natural movement in schools and builds pop-up playgrounds around the city. Her organization is interested in creating an inter-generational playground in the 20' by 75' space on Malcolm X Boulevard and Chauncey Street, even if it's only temporary! Contact Caitlin at info@Themovementcreative.com or 973-768-2915 to help gather neighborhood support!

Morrisania, Bronx - The company that manages the apartment buildings on either side of the formerDepartment of Transportation (DOT) roadbed on East 159th between St. Ann's and Eagle Avenues is extremely supportive of neighbors stewarding the space and have had conversations with the Borough Commissioner Constance Moran and DOT about making it happen! The company can even provide tools and soil to turn this eyesore into a vibrant resource when the time comes! All that's missing is the neighbors! Email Victor, a neighbor from across the street, at maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at 718-665-4281 to let him know when you're free for a first meeting.

Flushing, Queens - Neighbor Marina wants to start gardening project on the Department of Citywide Administrative Services-controlled lot on 63rd Road near 136th Street, next to Mt. Hebron Cemetery. Interested neighbors can reach out to Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org to be connected with her!

Lots with Access
Flatbush, Brooklyn - Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) is having a building and planting-focused workday this Saturday, June 6th kicking off at 12:30 pm. Help the garden finish building and installing three pallet beds that have been started! (That's some gardeners painting signs at the last workday, pictured below!) All are welcome!

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Ten Neighbors Garden (at the corner of Saratoga and Blake Streets) is holding a workday this Sunday, June 7th from 12 pm to 4 pm. Bring gloves, water, breathing masks and sunscreen to share, if you can! Call Carlos at (347) 653-7366 with any questions.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn - Java Street Community Garden (Java Street at Franklin Avenue) is having aSPRING into SUMMER party on Saturday, June 14th from 12 pm to 4 pm. This party will host food, a raffle, a compost workshop, seed bomb making, and more!

COLLABORATORS
Attention: East Harlem! As part of the East Harlem rezoning planning process, the Council Speaker’s office is hosting a series of public workshops on important topics for the East Harlem community. The first workshop focuses on open space, recreation, and culture, and it will be held TONIGHT, Thursday, June 4th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, 2180 Third Ave at East 119th Street. You can learn more about this process and stay looped in to future workshops on other topic by heading to the Council Speaker’s webpage, and if you have questions, reach out to the Speaker's Office (212-788-9121), Manhattan Community Board 11 (212-831-8929), or Community Voices Heard (212-860-6001).

GreenThumb is holding a Summer Supply Giveaway this Saturday, June 6th from 10 am to 2 pm at the GreenThumb Compound at Queens Plaza South and 10th Street in Queens. There is one pick-up per registered GreenThumb garden! More details in the link above.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

yours,
596 Acres

What Do We Do With Our Land? -- annotating community land stewardship on the Lower East Side for the New Museum IDEAS CITY Festival

30 May 2015

“Gaining our freedom is, in the first place, ripping off a few acres from the face of a domesticated planet.” - Attila Kotanyi and Raoul Vaneigem, “manifesto of unitary urbanism”


Invisible structures and invisible histories make cities as we know them, see them, smell them and dig in their soils. On the occasion of the Ideas City Festival, hosted by the New Museum, 596 Acres, Deborah Berke Partners and GRT Architects invite you on a tour of tax lot lines, leases, settled court cases, City-agency jurisdiction assignments, histories of organizing, memories of long meetings, cleared garbage heaps, community land trusts and New Yorkers struggling and succeeding to create and control the space of the City, together.

 

You can see a PDF of the printed map we handed out at the festival here.

 

Elizabeth Street Garden is the only green oasis in the Little Italy and SoHo neighborhood. The Garden, open to the public by volunteers, provides a beautiful sanctuary for local residents and workers. The site was transformed from a derelict lot into a garden in 1991 when Elizabeth Street Gallery leased the site from the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

In June 2013, neighbors came together to preserve the Garden permanently as a unique public green, open space. The community learned the Garden resides on city-owned land and in conjunction with the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area rezoning, the City committed to build housing on the site. In 2014, Community Board 2 passed a resolution supporting the permanent preservation of the Garden, in its entirety, as a NYC Park.  

Since then, Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden has grown a volunteer base of nearly 400 people, established a nonprofit corporation, staffed and opened the Garden to the public year round and programmed more than 150 free public events—including gardening and educational programming for adults and children, wellness programming such as yoga, tai chi and meridian tapping, and an annual Harvest Festival attended by more than 2,000 neighbors.

 

Currently, the Garden has no protections as an official NYC park, garden or open space. The City can recognize its importance and protect it by transferring the land to the Parks Department. What can you do?  Volunteer ONE hour a month to keep the Garden open for all!  Email volunteer@elizabethstreetgarden.org.

El Jardin Del Paraiso, situated between E 4th and 5th Streets and Avenues C and D in the Lower East Side, was created as a green space by local residents in 1981 out of series of abandoned lots, some owned by the City and some owned by private entities. Homesteaders, gardeners, artists, religious leaders, the Junior League, and the principal of P.S. 15, worked together to advocate for the expansion and preservation of the garden as a permanent park. The group convinced the City that El Jardin was perfectly situated to become a new park for the Lower East Side in a part of the neighborhood badly served by the existing green spaces. The city condemned three adjacent privately owned lots that formerly divided the space during the 1990s using eminent domain, making the park whole.

 

The lots that El Jardin is on were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Parks Department in 1999 but have not yet been officially mapped as parkland; they also have buildable floor area and are zoned as residential land (R8B). The buildable area could be transferred as development rights to be used elsewhere or eliminated if the City officially maps El Jardin as parkland. Today, El Jardin Del Paraiso provides recreational green space for a diverse community to gather, and hosts a broad program of educational and garden events. In 2012, the park joined the neighborhood coalition LUNGS (Lower East Side Neighborhood Gardens), urging the city to officially create a Community Garden District in the Lower East Side and permanently preserve the remaining gardens in neighborhood.

In 2012, residents of the Lower East Side gained access to two parcels of city-owned vacant land near the corner of Stanton and Attorney Streets and created the Siempre Verde Garden. The parcels are in the inventory of Housing Preservation and Development. The lots had previously been a garden in the 1980s and 1990s. 596 Acres, New York’s community land access advocacy organization, had posted signs on the rusty fences surrounding the lots announcing that the land was publicly owned and that (re)creating the garden was possible. Neighbors who saw the signs connected with one another through 596 Acres and organized to get an interim use license through the New York City Parks Department Green Thumb program. Siempre Verde provides an inclusive recreational open space in an otherwise densely developed area.


The gardeners are in the midst of efforts to make the garden whole by having the City acquire a privately owned lot that divides the two garden parcels. This could happen through a purchase, a condemnation via eminent domain or a donation from the owner of that parcel. The development company that owns that lot is simultaneously campaigning to have the City parcels that the garden is on transferred to itself for new housing construction. The gardeners have so far been successful in preventing City approval of the developer’s plan and instead getting the local Community Board to unanimously request that the garden parcels be transferred to the Parks Department’s jurisdiction, where they will be more likely to be protected by state public trust doctrine. The City has not yet heeded the Community Board’s request; the lots continue to be sites of speculation and insecurity while the garden thrives.  

The Cooper Square Committee (CSC) is a non-profit organization of Lower East Side residents preserving and developing affordable housing, community and cultural spaces. CSC formed in 1959 to fight the City of New York’s Cooper Square Slum Clearance plan, one of the first of the over 150 Urban Renewal Area Plans created and adopted for NYC’s “blighted” neighborhoods. The City plan was to bulldoze the buildings, move the residents and start over with a higher income population living in a less densely populated neighborhood. The CSC succeeded in resisting that plan and forced the City to adopt a their alternative plan, aimed at keeping the neighborhood racially, economically, and culturally diverse instead. The adoption of the community plan prevented the displacement of several thousand people as well as the demolition of over 300 buildings. In 1991, CSC created the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (MHA), now managing nearly 400 low-income cooperative apartments. The MHA owns the 21 buildings that these apartments are in; the Cooper Square Community Land Trust owns the land beneath the buildings and leases to the MHA on a renewable 99-year term. The mission of the Community Land Trust is make sure these 21 lots are used for affordable housing for low and moderate income people; covenants in the deeds to these lots give the Community Land Trust oversight power over the renter, the MHA. Residents own shares in the MHA that give them access to their units. This balanced system is the tool that CSC has used to permanently preserve affordable housing on some of the most expensive land in NYC.

News from the Acres - May 28, 2015

28 May 2015
THIS WEEKEND AT IDEAS CITY: LAND ACCESS IN THE L.E.S. & FREE SOIL TESTING!

TONIGHT: FIRST MEMBERSHIP MEETING OF THE NYC REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COOPERATIVE
The first membership meeting of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (REIC) will be on TONIGHT, THURSDAY, May 28th at from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at IATI Theater (64 East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan on the 2nd floor). An REIC is way for people to pool money to buy buildings and land, and chose to own the what they buy and lease affordably! To learn more, click here and check out this article in Crain's New York.

THIS WEEKEND AT IDEAS CITY 
Join 596 Acres this Friday, May 29th and Saturday, May 30th at IDEAS CITY, a +festival hosted by The New Museum built around key challenges and opportunities facing cities around the world today, with the belief that art and culture are essential to their future vitality.

  • On Friday at 7 pm, Paula Z. Segal will be presenting at Pitching the City 2015 as part of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (mentioned above). Pitching the City is a platform for five innovative projects to pitch their ideas to a live audience and an esteemed panel of experts in a competition format.
  • On Saturday, from 12 pm to 6 pm, 596 Acres, Deborah Berke Partners, and GRT Architects will present "What do we do with our land?" to focus on exposing the mechanisms residents of the Bowery and Lower East Side can and have used to affect development in their neighborhoods. Visit Cooper Square Cooperative, Elizabeth Street and Siempre Verde Gardens, and El Jardin de Paraiso (all highlighted in the map above!). The tour kicks off at Booth #59 in Sara D. Roosevelt Park at the intersection of Chrystie and Stanton Streets, Manhattan.

While you're there, need to get some soil tested? Jan Mun, eco-artist and citizen bioremediator from the Greenpoint Bioremediation Project (gBP), will be collecting garden soil to be tested in collaboration with the Urban Soils Institute at Brooklyn College. There will be free, on-site soil testing from 12 pm to 6 pm at Booth #60, also in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, next to the 596 Acres booth. Anyone is welcome to bring a sample to be tested!

UPDATE ON GARDENS AT RISK!
Last Thursday, Harlem City Council Member Inez Dickens wrote a letter to Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been asking for active community gardens operating under "interim use agreements" in her district (Harlem Valley Garden,Harlem Grown, and Electric Ladybug Garden) to be removed from the list of sites offered to developers for $1 at this time. Read the letter here!

On Tuesday, Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) and Paula Z. Segal, the garden's attorney, were in Supreme Court fighting speculators who are claiming to be the owners of the land the garden is on. The garden will head back to court on Tuesday, June 9th at 9:30 am, at Kings County Civil Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, Room 441. The journey continues!

#HPDLISTGARDENS AT THE VAN ALLEN INSTITUTE
On Thursday, June 4th from 7 pm to 9 pm Paula Z. Segal of 596 Acres will give a presentation at the Van Allen Institute's HANGOUTS! A Medley of Presentations, Conversations, and Performances with gardeners from a few of the at-risk gardens in Brooklyn: Imani II Garden (Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue) in Crown Heights, La Casita Verde (451 Bedford Avenue at Division in Williamsburg), Patchen Community Square (at Patchen and Putnam Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant), and 462 Halsey Community Garden (between Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant)will each speak briefly about their spaces! Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver will be there as well! This event will take place at BRIC Arts Media House at 647 Fulton Street at Rockwell Place in Brooklyn. This event is likely to sell out, so grab a ticket as soon as possible!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors who are organizing to create garden and performance space on the 17-foot wide lot at 174 East 108th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues need to gather 100 signatures of support to show Manhattan Community Board 11 that the community is excited for and in need of this new space! Join neighbors for a walk around the neighborhood to gather signatures  this Sunday, May 31st at 3 pm, meeting in front of the lot. Email John at triplemgarden@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3 if you have questions!

East New York, Brooklyn - Joseph is an East New York resident who is interested in starting a garden in the trash-filled lots on Essex Street between Atlantic Avenue and Folsom Place, which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Contact him at josephsanchez017@gmail.com or 917-702-1435to help him gather local support!

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn - In the middle of Suydam Place between Atlantic Avenue and Herkimer Street, sits a lot that was planned as Open Space (Park & Playground) in the Central Brooklyn Urban Renewal Plan, but has been sitting locked up for years! When 596 Acres hung signs on the lot's fence last summer, we heard from neighbors who want to see a park happen, and just this week, we heard from a stellar observation club who wants to use it to view the skies!  Do you live in the neighborhood and want to help open up the space? Call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or emailmary@596acres.org.

Lots with Access
Brownsville, Brooklyn - Ten Neighbors Garden (at the corner of Saratoga and Blake Streets) is having their second clean up day this Saturday, May 30th from 9 am to 12 pm. There will be weed pulling so come ready to get dirty! Bring gloves, a breathing mask, sunscreen, and drinking water! All are welcome.

Flatbush, Brooklyn - Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) and the Church Ave BID are co-sponsoring a neighborhood beautification event this Saturday, May 30th kicking off near Downtown Natural Market at Church Ave and East 17th Street at 9 am. The BID will be distributing T-shirts and sending teams to take on a variety of tasks: painting over graffiti, doing weeding around the neighborhood, and helping out at Q Gardens - including building more of the awesome pallet planters pictured at the bottom of this newsletter!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Siempre Verde (at Stanton and Attorney Streets) is hosting Dig-In-Art: Manhattan Memory Boxes/Journals, an Artfully Unforgotten workshop for kids this Saturday, May 30th from 11 am to 3 pm! Kids can learn to turn old shoeboxes into memory boxes and learn to hand-bind recycled paper into journals. Participants will decorate their creations with recycled paper. Participants should try to bring an old shoebox (or two!) if they can! (In case of rain, the location will be at the Hamilton Fish Park Library at 415 East Houston Street at Columbia Street.)

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - This Sunday, May 31st from 11 am to 4 pm La Casita Verde (at the corner of Bedford Avenue at Division Street) is having a workday to do some planting, compost-turning, and re-organizing their space around the cool new tool shed they're going to build using the Love Your Block Grant the garden won from Citizens Committee of New York. Neighbors who are also interested in membership should also head over to sign up!

Congrats to Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Avenue at Pearson Place, Long Island City, Queens) and 462 Halsey Community Garden (between Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn), two of the 32 gardens we helped neighbors start and secure since 2011, for making Gothamist's list of the 10 best community gardens in NYC! Swing by these special spots sometime and say hi! Smiling Hogshead Ranch is holding a planting workday this Sunday, May 31st from 10 am to 3 pm.

COLLABORATORS
Bullettrun is a collaborative performance group which uses Parkour (a movement discipline often described as skateboarding without skateboards) as a form of self expression to build self esteem and create leaders in communities lacking social, educational and economic resources. They are currently looking for a garden or park space to create a site specific performance and would love to offer maintenance work in exchange! See examples of the group’s work here and contact Nadia atnadialesy@gmail.com or 718-486-6252 for more information.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!
 



yours,
596 Acres

City Council Member Inez Dickens Asks HPD Commissioner to Save Harlem Gardens

25 May 2015

Harlem City Council Member Inez Dickens wrote a letter on Thursday, May 21st to Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been asking for active community gardens operating under "interim use agreements" in her district to be removed from the list of sites offered to developers for $1 at this time. Her letter is here

These gardens have been included Request for Qualifications addressed to the development community. The lots that the gardens are on are being offered for nominal $1 transfers (free!) to become development sites.


Icon inez_dickens_community_gardens_support_2015.pdf (72.0 KB)

News from the Acres - May 21, 2015

21 May 2015
spring into action: future and existing projects to support!

HELP KICK OFF SPRING BY SUPPORTING THESE GARDENS AT RISK!
Harlem Valley GardenHarlem Grown, and Electric Ladybug Garden are three Harlem gardens within Manhattan Community District 10 that are on Housing Preservation and Development's list of 181 City-owned properties available for purchase for $1 by developers (described here). On Tuesday night, the Board toured these three gardens at risk to observe what valuable and thriving community resources they are(That's some of the crowd at Electric Ladybug pictured above!)TONIGHT, Thursday, May 21st at 6:30pm the Board's Land Use Committee will vote decide whether to write a letter of support for these keeping these gardens in place! Head over to show your support: 215 West 125th Street (between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevards) on the 4th Floor. There are over a dozen other gardens at risk of being sold for $1 throughout the City! Click here to learn how to contact your elected officials and let them know you want these spaces protected!

Stand in solidarity with Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street near Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) on Tuesday, May 26th at 9:30 am, at Kings County Civil Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, Room 441. Housing Urban Development LLC, the guys who claim to own the garden lot at 237 Maple Street, have filed a motion to "quiet title." If that's upheld, it means that their claim to ownership can no longer be legally challenged, regardless of any irregularities in the original filing. Learn more about the case here, and click here to read about all the fun stuff happening in the garden. (That's some of their young, carrot-harvesting members, pictured at the bottom of this newsletter!)

NEW MAP FEATURE!
When you take look at a specific lot or garden page on LivingLotsNYC.org, you'll be able to tell if it's part of an Urban Renewal Plan. There will be a link on the page that says "Urban Renewal" and can take you straight to UrbanReviewer.org to learn more about the plan that encompasses that neighborhood and to find out what was planned for each specific lot!

LAST CHANCE TO APPLY: WE'RE HIRING AN NYC COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS PROGRAM ORGANIZER!
Do you want to play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land? We're looking for a key team member to help with program management, outreach, and land access organizing for 21 hours a week! Click here for more details on what the job entails, what we're looking for in an applicant, and how to apply. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 27th at 12 pm.

"WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR LAND?" AT IDEAS CITY 
As a part of IDEAS CITY on Saturday, May 30th, from 12 pm to 6 pm 596 Acres, Deborah Berke Partners and GRT Architects will offer self-guided audio tours focused on exposing the mechanisms residents of the Bowery and Lower East Side can and have used to affect development in their neighborhoods. Visit Cooper Square Cooperative, Elizabeth Street and Siempre Verde Gardens, and El Jardin de Paraiso. The tour kicks off at Sara D. Roosevelt Park at the intersection of Chrystie and Stanton Streets.

ACTIVE DESIGN FOR SCHOOLS
BSCAH Saratoga Farm is a garden stewarded by two schools and the Bedstuy Campaign Against Hunger in Brooklyn that 596 Acres helped to access their space in 2013. They're listed in The Partnership for a Healthier NYC's Active Design Toolkit for Schools on Page 26 as a "success story." Awesome!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bushwick, Brooklyn - For over a year neighbors have been trying to uncover the details from the community board and Parks Department about the design plans for the park-to-be at the corner where Bushwick Avenue meets Beaver Street. 596 Acres is helping to gather letters from local groups expressing a need for neighborhood input to pass along to Council Member Antonio Reynoso's office, who is planning to meet with Parks about the creation of this exciting new park. If you're affiliated with a school, religious institution, nonprofit, or civic association in the neighborhood that would like to help, contact Mary at mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Morrisania, Bronx - The company that owns and manages the properties on either side of the former Department of Transportation roadbed on East 159th between St. Ann's and Eagle Avenuesis completely supportive of neighbors stewarding the space and will speak to the DOT about how to make it happen! Email Victor, a neighbor from across the street, at maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at 718-665-4281 to help plan the first neighborhood meeting.

Edgemere, Queens - Steve is a longtime Rockaway resident who leads the Franklin Avenue Civic Association of Edgemere. On Beach 43rd between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach Channel Drive (the same block as Edgemere Farm!) there are two lots that Steve would love to transform into another community growing space. If you'd like to help him organize, contact him atloc375@aol.com or 646-737-4996.

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors who are organizing to create garden and performance space onthe 17-foot wide lot at 174 East 108th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues headed toManhattan Community Board 11's Environment, Open Space, and Park Committee meeting last Thursday night. The board would love to see 100 signatures gathered supporting to the space before they issue a letter of support. No problem! Join the neighbors on Sunday, May 31st at 3 pm in front of the lot to go on a door-to-door signature-gathering adventure. Email John attriplemgarden@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3 if you have questions!

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, May 21st at 6:30 pm at Green Oasis Community Garden (8th Street between Avenues C and D, East Village, Manhattan). This is their first outdoor meeting of the year!

Mommies of Rockaway Parks United is hosting an It's My Park day at the Conch playground (Beach 49th Street and Beach Channel Drive, Edgemere) this Saturday, May 23rd from 11 am to 2 pm. There will be fence and bench painting and flower planting! All ages welcome!

Bullettrun is a collaborative performance group which uses Parkour (a movement discipline often described as skateboarding without skateboards) as a form of self expression to build self esteem and create leaders in communities lacking social, educational and economic resources. They are currently looking for a garden or park space to create a site specific performance and would love to offer maintenance work in exchange! See examples of the group’s work here and contact Nadia atnadialesy@gmail.com or 718-486-6252 for more information.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

yours,
596 Acres

We're Hiring a Community Land Access Program Organizer!

20 May 2015

Since 2011 596 Acres' Community Land Access Program has helped 32 groups transform vacant, City-owned pieces of land into community resources. Our online mapping tools makes information about public property available and easy to understand. We also engage neighbors by hanging up signs up on the fences and work with them to help realize community control over spaces.  As the organizer, you'll play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land. Here's what you’ll do:


Program Management

  • Coordinate, collaborate, and strategize in tandem with Executive Director

  • Work closely with 596 Acres advisory committee, both as a staff support and strategic partners

  • Manage volunteers

  • Support development of organization’s programmatic work plan

  • Work with the Executive Director, governance board, staff and members to develop and evaluate organizing strategies

  • Generate new program ideas and work with staff and board to implement and carry out programming related to the organization’s priorities

  • Write the weekly News From the Acres

  • Develop print and web materials as needed

  • Foster a team-oriented, supportive, accountable work environment at 596 Acres

 

Outreach

  • Hang signs on fences of vacant lots City-wide

  • Lead workshops for various community based organizations and neighborhood groups

  • Table for 596 Acres at community events

  • Support and initiate relationship-building and cultivate meaningful collaborations with community leaders, local politicians, and community-based organizations

  • Represent the organization with local and state government officials, in the media, and with private organizations

  • Use social media as outreach and organizing tool

  • Help complete a summer outreach project to visit 7 community boards in districts with the highest concentration of vacant, public land to share information about 596 Acres' work, current neighborhood land access organizing efforts, and district-specific maps

 

Land Access Advocacy Organizing

  • Support the organizing efforts of local land access advocates around NYC by monitoring website activity and following up with active organizing groups regularly

  • Process and respond to new intake within 48 hours

  • Maintain our email-oriented database with extreme attention to detail

  • Stay current on process of application for license and leases through relevant city agencies for community use

  • Liaise with city agencies and intervene in direct community outreach when needed

  • Help complete a summer outreach project to visit 7 community boards in districts with the highest concentration of vacant, public land to share information about 596 Acres' work, current neighborhood land access organizing efforts, and district-specific maps

  • Facilitate monthly general meetings

Here's what we're looking for in an applicant

  • Extreme comfort with email and filing

  • Experience in and commitment to bottom-up organizing, grassroots leadership, and collective decision-making

  • Comfort with responding to email immediately within regular working hours

  • Comfort with flexible organizing schedule to accommodate community event needs

  • Willingness to travel throughout the five boroughs

  • Familiarity with City government processes (and willingness to learn more about them!)

  • Demonstrated ability to work in multi-racial, multi-lingual settings

This is part time (21 hours per week) position with benefits. Pay is $24,000 per year (negotiable if you do not want to take advantage of the benefits package). Our office is in Gowanus, Brooklyn; regular office hours are required.


To apply, submit a cover letter and resume to organizers@596acres.org by Wednesday, May 27th at 12 pm.

News from the Acres - May 14, 2015

14 May 2015
solar-powered cart needs a garden home!

Thanks for all who came out to the 596 Acres general meeting last Thursday night! It was a great conversation around Housing Preservation and Development's halt on issuing interim-use licenses for the creation of community gardens. We chatted about how gardens at risk can protect themselves and how organizing groups can forge ahead. The takeaway: strengthen your numbers! In addition to writing letters to all your elected officials, the best way to draw attention to your space is to have it be thriving and full of excited neighbors who truly value it! Whether you're campaigning for access or fighting to protect your space, we encourage you to hold a membership drive, throw a party to gather petition signatures, or paint welcoming signs (like the new Ten Neighbors Garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn, pictured above at their first workday last Sunday)!

Stay tuned for info about the next 596 Acres general meeting taking place the second week of June, at a TBA garden location! If you'd like to host a 596 Acres meeting in your space contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

FIRST MEMBERSHIP MEETING OF THE NYC REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COOPERATIVE
The first membership meeting of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (REIC) will be on THURSDAY, May 28th at from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at IATI Theater (64 East 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan on the 2nd floor). An REIC is way for people to pool money to buy buildings and land, and chose to own the what they buy and lease affordably! This meeting will give a report back on what happened two weeks ago at our first gathering, and encourage you to get involved! To learn more, click here.

WE'RE HIRING AN NYC COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS PROGRAM ORGANIZER!
Do you want to play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land? We're looking for a key team member to help with program management, outreach, and land access organizing for 21 hours a week! Click here for more details on what the job entails, what we're looking for in an applicant, and how to apply. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 27th at 12 pm.

"WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR LAND?" AT IDEAS CITY 
As a part of IDEAS CITY on Saturday, May 30th, from 12 pm to 6 pm 596 Acres,Deborah Berke Partners and GRT Architects will offer self-guided audio tours focused on exposing the mechanisms residents of the Bowery and Lower East Side can and have used to affect development in their neighborhoods. Sites will include Cooper Square Cooperative, Elizabeth Street and Siempre Verde Gardens, and El Jardin de Paraiso. The tour kicks off at Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at the intersection of Chrystie and Stanton Streets), and physical maps, audio guides, and other visual artifacts will help tell the histories of each site and help visitors navigate among them.

596 IN THE NEWS!
Check out this great coverage from Care2 of our projects across cities!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - Join neighbors heading to the Manhattan Community Board 11 Environment, Open Space, and Parks Committee Meeting for TONIGHTThursday, May 14th at 6 pm at the Board's office at 1664 Park Avenue at West 117th Street, to ask for the committee's support to create a garden and performance space on the 17-foot wide lot at 174 East 108th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues. If you live in the neighborhood, head over to show your enthusiasm for a new community space! Extra bodies in the room make a big difference!

Edgemere, Rockaway - Last night neighbors and Paula from 596 Acres went to the Queens Community Board 14 meeting to speak with the board about the status of the proposal for a temporary garden on the lots at 357 Beach 43rd at the corner of Beach Channel Drive. Community Board 14's District Manager and Chair committed to having the board write a letter to Housing Preservation and Development as soon as possible, urging the agency to release the lots and allow the garden to move forward this season if possible. Hooray!

Morrisania, Bronx - At our fantastic 596 Acres general meeting last Thursday night we met Victor, a Bronx resident who is interested in a few different spots to create community space! His top pick is the large piece of land behind behind the middle school at Rae Street and St. Ann's Avenue, owned by the Department of Education. Victor has already reached out to the facilities office in charge of Bronx Schools and has been asked to email a letter of interest and intent to be discussed! Victor is also talking to neighbors about the former Department of Transportation roadbed on East 159th between St. Ann's and Eagle Avenues. Email Victor maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at 718-665-4281 to help him work on campaigns for either of these sites!

Lots with Access
Lower East Side, Manhattan - Council Member Margaret Chin sent a letter to Vicki Been, the Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development asking that Siempre Verde(at Stanton and Attorney Streets) be protected by transferring their lots to the Parks Department. Thank you Council Member Chin! You can read the letter here!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) will be having a workday this Saturday, May 16th from 12 pm to 4pm to transport the group's second set of composting bins from Flatbush Reformed Church, to do some trellis set up, and to build three pallet A-frame vertical planters. There's weeding, too! All are welcome!

Long Island City, Queens - Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Avenue at Pearson Place) is looking for someone to help sketch out an idea for a fun construction project this summer. Shoot them a message through their Facebook if you're interested!

COLLABORATORS
Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation is hosting a free book fair this Saturday, May 16th from 11 am to 2 pm at the Powell Street Garden (410 Livonia Street between Junius and Powell Streets, Brownsville). The Powell Street Garden is also on the list of gardens at risk due to Housing Preservation and Development's two small homes programs - so even if you're not in need of books you should head over and show your support for their awesome community work! For more information contact Brenda Duchene at 718-498-3174.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!
 
NEED A SOLAR-POWERED CART?
We've got a solar paneled unit that we'd love to be shared between gardens! It can provide is up to 300W at 120VAC (regular residential outlet electricity). This awesome little guy pictured below was created by R. David Gibbs and his students is great for charging cordless tool batteries, radios, lights, other small appliances, but larger tools - table saw, chops saw, a refrigerator are not OK. Email organizers@596acres.org if your garden is interested!



yours,
596 Acres

First Membership Meeting of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative

14 May 2015
tags: announ
A real estate investment cooperative has formed in NYC! On Thursday, May 28th, we will gather for the first time as the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative at IATI Theater: 64 East 4th Street in Manhattan on the 2nd floor, 6:30-8:30pm.
 

Dear NYC REIC members and prospective members,

 

This is an email to announce our next meeting (May 28th), give you a report back on what happened two weeks ago at our first gathering, and encourage you to get involved. We also wanted to announce that NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative just received a grant for $1,000 from RSF Social Finance, that we have been selected to present at Pitching the City on May 29th, and that we now have a website: http://nycreic.org!

 

Report back: What happened on April 28?

 

We made something happen together! At our first gathering on April 28th, New Middle Collegiate Church was packed for an evening of teaching and learning. Over 300 people showed up, and over 200 people joined the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, making this initiative a reality! We ran out of membership forms, so we know that there are more of you who want to join. You can do this at our Membership Meeting on May 28th (see below). If you missed the night of teacing and learning on April 28th, or want a review, a video recording of the event is available here: https://vimeo.com/126879980.

 

Updates: Who are we?

 

This is an all-volunteer initiative with an interim facilitation team (that’s who is writing to you now). We are running to catch up with our collective power! We need your help. Our goal is to have the governance structure reflect the population of New York City. Want to join us? Email: reic4nyc@gmail.com

 

First Membership Meeting: Thursday, May 28th at 6:30pm

 

In two weeks, on Thursday, May 28th, we will gather for the first time as the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative at IATI Theater: 64 East 4th Street in Manhattan on the 2nd floor, 6:30-8:30pm. This is a meeting for members to meet members, and to find points of unity so that we can move forward together! We will form workgroups so that members can begin to focus on the area of the investment cooperative that matches their time, interest, and ability. If you do not want to join a workgroup, check back in September. If you want to join a workgroup, but cannot make it on the 28th, email: reic4nyc@gmail.com.

 

Workplan

 

Together, over the next few months, we will identify our preliminary criteria to determine investment properties (properties we want to secure) and outreach to investors (members, unions, pension funds, other cooperatives). Our goal is to have a list of realistic properties and the money to secure at least one of them within two years. We will start on May 28th by inviting members to join workgroups that will move our project forward for the next three months.

 

Workgroups

 

Joining a workgroup means making a minimum commitment to attend one meeting a month over for the next three months. The workgroups we’ve identified are:

 
  • Facilitation

  • Membership Development

  • Media & Art

  • Case Studies & Inspiration

  • Finance, Project Vetting & Compliance

  • Vacant Public Building Inventory

  • Outreach to Institutional Investors (Foundation Program Related Investment Funds, Pensions, Unions, cooperatives, etc.)

 

Groups will work independently with facilitators June-July-August and we will come together again on Monday, September 28, 2015 for a membership report back (save the date).

 

Become a Member

 

If you have not joined yet, you will be able to do so before and after the May 28th meeting (from 6-6:30pm and from 8:30-9pm). Member investments are $10, but we have a hardship fund for those of you who cannot pay $10 at this time. Bring $10 cash for membership, and $20 if you can cover another person who cannot pay. If you can’t come to the meeting on the 28th, stay tuned as we will send an email about downloading the membership form and sending money to our bank account at Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union soon.

 

Tell your friends to join mailing list!

http://eepurl.com/biNPEr

 
See you on Thursday, May 28th at IATI Theater: 64 East 4th Street in Manhattan on the 2nd floor, from 6:30-8:30pm. Remember to come early or stay late if you still need to become a member. Please RSVP to reic4nyc@gmail.com so we know how many people are coming.
 

In cooperation,

 

Caroline, Paula, Mark, Devin, David and Moses

Your interim facilitation team for the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative

New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC REIC) leverages the patient investments and political power of members to secure permanently affordable commercial properties in NYC.

Website: http://nycreic.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYCREIC
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/REIC4NYC/
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/biNPEr

 

REIC-Header.png

 

Thanks to our partner organizations for supporting us with expertise in social finance, cooperative law, urban planning, media production, and solidarity economics: Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Fourth Arts Block, RSF Social Finance, Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship, 596 Acres, Duende Community Enterprise Group, OurGoods.org, NYCTBD, Greater Brooklyn, and Spaceworks. Email us if you’d like to become a partner: reic4nyc@gmail.com

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News from the Acres - May 7, 2015

07 May 2015
TONIGHT: 596 GENERAL MEETING, 7 PM, 540 PRESIDENT STREET, BROOKLYN!

JOIN US TONIGHT AT 7 PM: 596 ACRES' NEXT GENERAL MEETING FOCUSING ON HPD
Recently, Housing Preservation and Development (with control over approximately half of the vacant public land Citywide) has stopped issuing interim-use licenses for the creation of community gardens. But never fear! We can help groups organize to find solutions, such as advocating for having a City-owned properties transferred to the Parks Department to become a garden. Whether you're stuck in the middle of a land access campaign (like Edgemere Coalition Garden, who are moving forward with creating plans for the space, pictured at the bottom of this newsletter) or just curious about how to get started, come to the 596 Acres' General Meeting on TONIGHT, THURSDAY, MAY 7th at 7 pm to get the scoop. We'll be meeting at our NEW offices at 540 President Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues, near the R and F trains) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We'll have snacks! You can also contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

GARDEN AT RISK: AN UPDATE ON MAPLE STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN
On Monday, the gardeners of Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street, Brooklyn) and their lawyer, Paula Z. Segal, headed back to housing court for the 4th time! Again the case was adjourned by the judge after hearing testimony about whether papers that initiated the case were properly given to the gardeners. The judge then ordered both sides to submit formal legal briefs by May 26th, following which another hearing will be scheduled. If you're an attorney and want to help do some research by May 20th, please contact paula@596acres.org. To learn more about the details behind Maple Street's attempted unlawful eviction, check out this press release from 596 Acres and this story from DNAInfo New York.

WE'RE HIRING AN NYC COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS PROGRAM ORGANIZER!
Do you want to play a key role in helping neighborhood groups navigate the process of accessing land? We're looking for a key team member to help with program management, outreach, and land access organizing for 21 hours a week! Click here for more details on what the job entails, what we're looking for in an applicant, and how to apply. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, May 27th at 12 pm.

"WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR LAND?" AT IDEAS CITY 
As a part of IDEAS CITY on Saturday, May 30th, from 12 pm to 6 pm 596 Acres,Deborah Berke Partners and GRT Architects will offer self-guided audio tours focused on exposing the mechanisms residents of the Bowery and Lower East Side can and have used to affect development in their neighborhoods. Sites will include Cooper Square Cooperative, Elizabeth Street and Siempre Verde Gardens, and El Jardin de Paraiso. The tour kicks off at Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at the intersection of Chrystie and Stanton Streets), and physical maps, audio guides, and other visual artifacts will help tell the histories of each site and help visitors navigate among them.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - For about a year and a half John has been working with and organizing his neighbors to create a proposal for a garden and performance space on the 17-foot wide lot at 174 East 108th Street between 3rd and Lexington AvenuesNow, John is headed to the Manhattan Community Board 11 Environment, Open Space, and Parks Committee Meeting for next Thursday, May 14th at 6 pm at the Board's office at 1664 Park Avenue at West 117th Street, to ask for the committee's support. If you live in the neighborhood, head over to show your enthusiasm for a new community space! Extra bodies in the room make a big difference! Email John at triplemgarden@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Morrisania, Bronx - There's a wide but shallow lot at 405 East 161st at Melrose Avenuethat is a great spot for a neighborhood hub! Neighbors Laura and Victor have reached out to us to let us know they'd like to work creating a plan for the space! Do you want to join us for the first meeting? Email Victor maldonvic@aol.com or give him a call at 718-665-4281 to express your interest!

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn - Addie lives next door to the skinny vacant lot with the big, lovely tree in it on Jefferson Avenue between Stuyvesant Avenue and Malcolm X. Boulevard and has started a petition for neighbors supportive of creating a community space there. Want to help rally the neighbors and get this project moving? Email Addie ataddieny@gmail.com or call her at 917-⁠749-⁠2183.

Lots with Access
Long Island City, Queens - This Saturday, May 9th from 12 pm to 5 pm Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Avenue at Pearson Place) is hosting a community compost collection site while they offer info about Ranch membership and volunteer opportunities for the upcoming 2nd annual LIC Springs LIC, hosted by the Long Island City Partnership! Go hang out all afternoon and enjoy live music, dance, and theater performances plus interactive lessons, art & sculpture-making, fitness classes, outdoor dining, pop-up activities, a site-specific art gallery, sports games and more! Open to all ages. RSVP and find more details on the Facebook event page.

Bedford-Stuyvestant, Brooklyn - Patchen Community Square (at the corner of Patchen and Putnam Avenues) is having a volunteer day to build four new garden beds this Saturday, May 9th from 11am to 4pm. All are welcome, whether you're a garden member or not! If you have the time or a cordless drill, please head over and help out! If you're interested in gardening with us this summer, this would be a perfect opportunity to chat with the gardeners about joining as a members.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Ten Neighbors Garden (at the corner of Saratoga and Blake Avenues) is having their first workday this Sunday, May 10th from 10 am to 1 pm. Make sure to come with gloves and comfortable dirty garden clothes! If you have any questions, contact Carlos at Carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com.

Edgemere, Queens - Edgemere Farm (385 Beach 45th Street at Beach Channel Drive) is holding a bundle dye workshop from 12 pm to 3 pm this Sunday, May 10th! During or after this workshop you can see what's growing and learn more about the exciting season ahead! Check out the Facebook page for more info.

COLLABORATORS
Calling all urban food production, security, and access business ideas! Agritecture andVertiCulture are hosting an Urban Ag Pitch happening next Thursday, May 14th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at 61 Local (61 Bergen Street between Smith and Court Streets, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn). This is a chance to share you ideas with industry professionals and get feedback while competing to win an aquaponics training course with VertiCulture. To enter, send your name, email, and a 250-word pitch of your idea to urbanagpitch@gmail.com by Sunday, May 10th.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $150,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

NEED A SCALE? 
We still have some small scales for measuring food scraps or harvested produce. If you'd like one for your garden, shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3. Pictured below is students from PS 137K Rachel Jean Mitchell School using scales to weigh and measure foods scraps, pine cones, rocks and other objects. We're so happy we were able to contribute to their science and math curriculum!

NEED A GARDEN TABLE?
61 Franklin Community Garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn has a very study table they built to stack water barrels on and didn't end up needing. It measures 4' W x 4"L x 4' 5" tall and would be available for pick-up any day this weekend, May 9th and 10th! Email 61franklinstgarden@gmail.com if you're interested!

yours,

596 Acres