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News from the Acres - April 23, 2015

23 April 2015
gardens are worth saving!

Last Saturday's Bike Ride for Gardens at Risk was a hit! The photo above is from the garden stop over atMaple Street Community Garden, where gardeners shared the history of the space and recapped the current battle they are fighting in court. To see more photos from the ride, check out the Facebook album!

EARTH WEEK CELEBRATION TODAY WITH ECOSTATION NY
596 Acres will be tabling at EcoStationNY's Earth Week Celebration TODAY Thursday, April 23rd from 3 pm to 5 pm at Bushwick Campus Farm (400 Irving Avenue between Woodbine Street and Putnam Avenue). Visit our table to learn how you can work with your neighbors to start a campaign to get access to vacant, public land. While you're there, take a farm and greenhouse tour, visit a composting and sustainable agriculture workshop, or see cooking demonstrations and an art exhibit. There will also be performances of poetry, theatre, and music celebration of planet earth!

LET'S BUILD A REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COOPERATIVE!
real estate investment cooperative (REIC) allows individuals to pool their money and energy to invest in land and buildings. We are building the political and fiscal power to preserve the spaces we care about for the long haul. Join us for an evening of teaching and learning next Tuesday, April 28th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Middle Collegiate Church (50 East 7th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, Manhattan). Please RSVP if you would like to attend by emailing info@nyctbd.com. At this initial gathering, we will talk about the REIC model, share examples of how cooperative financing has worked in other places, hear from groups that need financial investment to help them retain existing community space, examine opportunities for acquiring property outside the market paradigm and talk about how we might implement our own REICs.

DATE CHANGE: 596 ACRES' NEXT GENERAL MEETING ON *THURSDAY, MAY 7th*
Whether you're stuck in the middle of a land access campaign or just curious about how to get started, come to 596 Acres' next General Meeting on THURSDAY, MAY 7th at 7 pm at our NEW offices at 540 President Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues) in Brooklyn to get the scoop.

Recently, Housing Preservation and Development (who has jurisdiction over approximately half of the vacant public land Citywide) has stopped issuing interim-use licenses. But never fear! We can help groups organize to advocate for having City-owned properties transferred to the Parks Department to become a garden. To learn more, come to the meeting! You can also contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Morrisania, Bronx - Neighbor Laura walked by the vacant lot at 405 East 161st Street at Melrose Avenue every day when she comes home from work and would like to connect with neighbors to clean it up! Email Laura at lmp945218@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

East Harlem, Manhattan - Harlem resident John is still working on getting the support of Manhattan Community Board 11 to start a garden with a park vibe and a stage for local performances at 174 East 108th Street between 3rd and Lennox Avenues. He's got quite a list of supporters, but would love to get more neighbors in on these plans. Do you live in the neighborhood and want to head to a community board meeting with John? Shoot him an email at triplemgarden@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

East New York, Brooklyn - Kevin runs Progressive Youths Soccer Academy and would like to transformone of the vacant, public lots behind the homes at Sapphire Street and 155th Avenue into a soccer field so that the program can expand to engage more young people! 596 Acres has connected him with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (who has jurisdiction over the space) to discuss applying to a lease. Do you want to help make this happen or have some great ideas for this future youth hub? Email Kevin at blacstoc@gmail.com or call Mary at 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Jamaica, Queens - There's a wide, flat lot at 9043 Desarc Road between Redding and Sitka Streets that might be the perfect place for some communal growing, or a park to relax in! Join the lot's page as an organizer or give Mary at call at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or email at mary@596acres.org.

Lots with Access
East New York, Brooklyn/Cityline, Queens - Last Thursday the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS) continued to build out the new BACDYS Community Garden(corner of Forbell Street and Glenmore Avenue) with the help of New York Restoration Project's Gardens for the City program. (Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to see a super cute photo!)
596 Acres is so happy that our work facilitating a license with the MTA means that this space is finally open to the public! If you'd like to jump into the planning of the communal beds, head over to the gardenthis Saturday, April 25th at 10 am to join the discussion.

Long Island City, Queens - Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Avenue at Pearson Place) is hosting a clean up day to use their Love Your Block grant this Saturday, April 25th from 11 am to 4 pm to do some street tree care, plant some native plants, and spruce up bike lanes.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn -  La Casita Verde (451 Bedford Avenue at Division Avenue) is having a celebration in honor of Earth Day next Wednesday, April 29th from 4 pm to 6 pm. You can check out the space and learn more about the garden's food scrap collection service, their design and building of an aerated static pile (ASP) style composter that uses solar panel system (donated by Kiwi Energy), and Soil Cycle, a cargo bike they will be coordinating with schools to facilitate growing soil and reducing food waste. Neat! Head on over!

Harlem, Manhattan - Join the new Mandela Garden (West 126th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues)this Sunday April 26th at noon for a de-paving event to remove all the concrete from the garden! Neighbors will be joined by Arif Khan a founding member of Depave.org, a rapidly growing West Coast de-paving movement. Bring friends, and if possible, bandana or dust mask, work gloves, picks and 1 inch x 6' metal pipe for prying up, though the garden will supply as much materials as possible.

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 atorganizers@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.

yours,
596 Acres

News from the Acres - April 16, 2015

16 April 2015
this saturday: bike ride for gardens at risk!

THIS AFTERNOON'S BACDYS COMMUNITY GARDEN BUILDOUT
Join Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS) as they continue to build out the new BACDYS Community Garden with the help of New York Restoration Project's Gardens for the City program THIS AFTERNOON Thursday, April 16th from 3 pm to 6 pm at the corner of Forbell Street and Glenmore Avenue! Come help spruce up the space and celebrate the opening up of this community space with us!(That's a photo of the first phase of the garden's build out happening above! Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to see the accomplished raised beds and picnic tables!)

THIS SATURDAY'S BIKE RIDE FOR GARDENS AT RISK
Join 596 Acres, the New York City Community Garden Coalition, and Public Space Partythis Saturday, April 18th as we ride to visit and learn more about five gardens under threat by private developers: Maple Street Community GardenRoger That Garden ProjectEldert Street GardenChildren's Magical Garden, and Siempre Verde Community Garden. Large-scale community support can help advocate for these private properties to be acquired by the City and transferred into Parks Department inventory to remain valuable community resources. Check out the press release for this event to get the ride schedule and read a more about these gardens under threat. You can also join the
Facebook event to keep updated on meeting details and the route of the ride!

Don't have a bike? The Maple Street Community Garden (Maple Street between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues, Brooklyn) is having a Spring party and fundraiser for 596 Acres, whose director, Paula Z. Segal has been representing the gardeners in court. There will be eating, drinking, and relaxing, as well as planting, painting signs, turning compost, and tours of the garden! Please join them and donate to help support 596 Acres continuing work to open up and preserve public land! You can also always donate to 596 Acres online, too!

AN EARTH WEEK CELEBRATION WITH ECOSTATION NY
596 Acres will be tabling at EcoStationNY's Earth Week Celebration next Thursday, April 23 from 1 pm to 5 pm (open to the public at 3 pm) at Bushwick Campus Farm (400 Irving Avenue between Woodbine Street and Putnam Avenue). Visit our table to learn how you can work with your neighbors to start a campaign to get access to vacant, public land. While you're there, take a farm and greenhouse tour, visit a composting and sustainable agriculture workshop, or see cooking demonstrations and an art exhibit. There will also be performances of poetry, theatre, and music celebration of planet earth!

SAVE THE DATE: 596 ACRES' NEXT GENERAL MEETING
Whether you're stuck in the middle of a land access campaign or just curious about how to get started, come to 596 Acres' next General Meeting on Tuesday, May 5th at 7 pm at our offices at 540 President Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues) in Brooklyn. to get the scoop.

Recently, Housing Preservation and Development (who has jurisdiction over approximately half of the vacant public land Citywide) has stopped issuing interim-use licenses. But never fear! We can help groups organize to advocate for having City-owned properties transferred to the Parks Department to become a garden. To learn more, come to the meeting! You can also contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Brownsville, Brooklyn - Christopher is a Brownsville resident who has been helping out a friend lead a community garden for the past year. Now, he's excited to organize a new space to open! If you live in Community Board 16 near where Powell Street meets Pitkin Avenue, reach out to Christopher at citrus0345@gmail.com or call Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - Johanna, the Sustainability Coordinator at P.S. 46/Brooklyn New School is leading students to craft a campaign to start a native plant garden at the vacant Department of Transportation (DOT) property that sits adjacent to the school and the footbridge over the Gowanus Expressway. Johanna is working with 596 Acres to create a proposal that the helpful staff at Council Member Brad Lander's office will work on getting to the right people at DOT. If you live in Carroll Gardens or Red Hook and want to help, reach out to Johanna at johanna@bns146.org or 646-808-5595.

Flatbush, Brooklyn - After months and months of perseverance, neighbor Sophia has finally received a letter of support from her community board to start a garden at 2334 Tilden Avenue at Lott Street! If you live in the neighborhood and want to help Sophia advocate for this property to be reassigned to the Parks Department, contact her atgreenlodging20@yahoo.com or call her at 718-501-2395.

Lots with Access
Lower East Side, Manhattan - Siempre Verde Garden (on Stanton Street between Clinton and Attorney Streets) is holding a garden meeting next Wednesday, April 22nd at 6 pm. Head on over to learn what's new in the garden and the possible changes coming!

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - La Casita Verde (451 Bedford Avenue at Division Avenue) is now accepting neighborhood food scraps for composting on every Saturday from 3 pm to 4 pm as well as during open garden hours. To learn more about this free service and the garden's new pilot scrap pick-up service in the neighborhood, click here.

Harlem, Manhattan - Electric Ladybug Garden members (West 111th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglas Boulevard) are heading to the Manhattan Community Board 10 Executive Meeting next Wednesday, April 22nd to see if board members will vote to pass a resolution to protect four Harlem gardens. Head over to 215 West 125th Street (between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard) in the 4th Floor conference room at 6:00 pm to show your support!

Harlem, Manhattan - 227 Garden (227 West 115th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards) is having their first garden meeting next Wednesday, April 22nd from 11 am to 4 pm. This is a great chance to get involved if aren't already and find out how you can help get this garden growing!

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, April 16th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Castle Gardens (625 West 140th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive, Manhattan). Come to the meeting to discuss strategy, meet with fellow gardeners, and stay in the conversation about keeping up the momentum for protecting the 17 community gardens on HPD's development list.

Imani Garden II (1680 Pacific Street at Schenectady Avenue, Brooklyn) is holding aCompost Tea and Spring Clean Up this Saturday, April 18th from noon to 4 pm. Learn how to make compost tea and help the garden get ready for spring, including bringing leaves from a nearby park in a wheelbarrow brigade and cleaning out our water storage tanks and fish ponds. Bring some work gloves and if you have them, rubber gloves for cleaning the tanks and ponds. Tasty vegetarian stew will be provided, but if you can bring your favorite beverage and some hearty bread.

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 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.


yours,

596 Acres

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Yorks Ride Bikes to Connect Gardens Under Threat

13 April 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015, 2-6pm (detailed schedule below) 

Join Public Space Party, the New York City Community Garden Coalition and 596 Acres to ride to small gardens and community parks that add essential depth to New York City’s open space network and are in danger of losing their land to private development: Maple Street, Roger That, Eldert Street, Children's Magical, Siempre Verde, and Elizabeth Street. These gardens need community support in asking the city to move their land from the private market into the public inventory where they belong. They are small, community spaces that serve as multi-purpose community living rooms year round.

The ride begins under the arch at Grand Army plaza at 2pm. The first stop is at Maple Street Community Garden in Prospect-Lefferts. Maple Street garden was formed in 2012 by the Maple 3 Block Association and community members who transformed a trash-strewn vacant lot into a multipurpose garden and community space. The lot had been vacant and collecting trash for over a decade since its most recent resident and owner passed away and her home burned down. 

As Ali Jacobs, 31, an active member who lives on Sterling Street stated, “Our neighborhood is beautiful, but very short on public land.  Our garden has no gate nor lock, it is accessible by the entire neighborhood, and is used heavily by children and adults as a common outdoor space.”

The Maple Street Community Garden is being threatened with demolition by Housing Urban Development LLC, a private development corporation with a history of subprime lending and irregular title transfers. Gardeners are resisting eviction by appearing in Housing Court and urging the City to condemn the property and transfer it to the Parks Department (next court appearance is May 4, 2015 at 10:30am at 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn in room 603).

The next stop is Roger That garden, a community space in Crown Heights, Brooklyn that stewards native plants, grows edibles, and maintains community compost. Roger That garden is currently under threat of development by a real estate developer who purchased the deed to the land, subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax debt liens, for $10 from the man who used to own and operate a hardware store on this lot before abandoning the buildings. The developers have attempted to illegally evict the garden through a lock-out.

Roger That can be saved if the City invokes eminent domain and buys the property to preserve it as a Parks Department garden. Eminent domain has been used to create New York’s parks and open spaces dating at least back to 1807. Prospect Park, Central Park, the Ocean Parkway Greenway and Astor place are just a few of the over 350 condemnations for the creation or preservation of parks and open spaces that have been recorded in New York’s county courts. 

The ride will then move on to Eldert Street Garden in Bushwick, a space that was established on vacant lot in 2009. Elder Street offers vegetable plots, educational programming for kids and adults, composting, and a welcoming public space where folks can relax and connect with the natural world.

Kim Anderson, one Eldert Street garden steward, says, “For those of us without a private garden to grow in, or a forest to walk in, community gardens are all we have. When we work in our community gardens, we take back our fundamental right to work the land, and call a piece of earth our own, no matter how small. And we do it together.” 

The lot that the garden was on was donated to a local charity organization for use as a children’s garden; its recent transfer to a private for-profit corporation is under investigation by the New York State Office of the Attorney General. The gardeners are asserting their rights as tenants under New York City law and continuing to grow in the face of bullying by the developer. They are asking that the City halt all construction permits to the property and acquire it for transfer to the Parks Department.

From Bushwick riders venture into Manhattan to visit Siempre Verde garden, 2 small parcels of public land on Attorney and Stanton Streets that were reinvigorated by neighbors in 2012 who responded to signs posted by 596 Acres. The garden parcels are divided by an 18-foot parcel owned by a private developer who has put forward a proposal to purchase the City-owned properties and use all three as primarily luxury housing. The gardeners are asking that the City transfer the existing garden lots to the Parks Department for preservation and acquire the private parcel to make the garden whole. 

"We are essentially animals so having access to nature provides creature comforts, soothes the savage soul and regenerates the weary spirit,” says Ann Lee, of Siempre Verde Community Garden. “Gardens are a place to pause and respite from the grind of concrete cities. Gardens are the future for urban people."

The fifth stop on the ride will be Children’s Magical garden, founded in 1982 by community activists with the mission to create a safe space for the neighborhood’s children to play in and learn about nature. They have been tirelessly serving their community for 30 years, and have been fighting development since May 2013, when a portion of their garden was destroyed by a developer who claims to own the land despite doing nothing with the property for decades.

Finally, riders visit Elizabeth Street Garden, located on city-owned land on Little Italy’s Elizabeth Street. The Garden, open to the public by local volunteers, provides a sanctuary for residents in an otherwise dense and tightly packed neighborhood. The site has a long history as a public school, gathering place, and playground, before it was transformed into a garden by Elizabeth Street Gallery in 1991. In June 2013, neighbors started a campaign to  permanently preserve the Garden as a New York City park but the City has not yet transferred the land or indicated that preservation is a priority. The garden continues to operate with a revocable lease and has been suggested by elected officials as a site for private housing development.

“As cities become more dense and our economy shifts toward sharing, gardens serve as 21st century community centers where neighbors get to know each other the old-fashioned way while enjoying shared backyards,” says Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden President Jeannine Kiely. “Neighborhood green spaces have great value and make cities livable.”

“The social rate of return for community gardens takes place in countless forms,” noted Benjamin Shepard, of Public Space Party.  “We call for the city to support open space, recognizing the multiple benefits of green space in world facing increasing temperatures and climate chaos.”

 “The City needs to take a more active interest in the fates of these properties and affirmatively act to preserve the institutions that New Yorkers love,” says Paula Z. Segal, director of 596 Acres and attorney for the Maple Street, Roger That and Eldert Street gardens. “This isn't about housing versus gardens. This is about living in a City that places the needs of people who live in neighborhoods above the potential for others to make money off those neighborhoods.”

 

Ride Schedule

Riders will meet under the arch at Grand Army Plaza at 2, leaving at 2:10 PM sharp.   

2:15-2:30pm

Maple Street Community Garden

237 Maple Street between Rogers and Nostrand, Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn

Contact: Tom La Forge, (917) 400-2187

Web: maplestreetgarden.org

 

2:45-3:30pm

Roger That

98 Rogers Avenue at Park Place, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Contact: David Vigil, (646) 643-9623

Web: rogerthatgarden.org

 

4-4:30pm  

Eldert Street Garden

315 Elder Street between Knickerbocker and Irving, Bushwick, Brooklyn

Contact: Kim Anderson, (917) 623-6408

Web: eldertstreetgarden.blogspot.com

 

5-5:20pm

Siempre Verde Garden

189 Stanton Street, Lower East Side, New York

Contact: John Donahue, jdonahue00@hotmail.com

Web: svgarden.org

 

5:20-5:35pm

Children’s Magical Garden

129 Stanton St, Lower East Side, New York

 

5:40-6pm

Elizabeth Street Garden

204-208 Elizabeth Street, Little Italy/Soho, New York

Contact: Jeannine Kiely, (917) 297-4475

Web: elizabethstreetgarden.org

News From the Acres - April 9, 2015

09 April 2015
farewell to a small green patch

Sadly, as of Wednesday, April 1st A Small Green Patch (Bergen Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, Brooklyn) officially closed as a community space. Housing Preservation and Development is moving forward on transferring the two City-owned lots the garden was on to the private for-profit development corporation (that owns the center lot that sits between the two public lots) to begin a housing project this summer. The garden has been closed in anticipation.

Here is a note from Tami Johnson (pictured above), one of the lead organizers over the last four years, sent on the occasion of the closing on behalf of A Small Green Patch: "I am writing to thank you for every second of time spent, every hole you dug, every picture you painted, every meeting you attended, every woodchip - bag of mulch/soil/compost you moved, every group you put together, every workshop you gave, every compost drop off you donated, every answer or idea that you freely gave, every permission you granted, every person you taught how to farm/garden/grow. Even though A Small Green Patch has closed it's gate to allow for development - everything that each person brought to share over the past 4 years of it's existence is truly incredible. So many individuals, groups and city agencies played a vital role in what became A Small Green Patch. Many thanks to Green Thumb, HPD and Jay [the owners of the middle, private lot] for allowing us to use the vacant space in Brooklyn - Block 389, Lot's 27, 28 and 29 to create the open space it became. Thanks to Sanitation for hanging out at the beginning so we could clean the lots up to use. I can't name all of the players that helped make this happen but personally I am truly grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from this whole experience."

We are also so happy that A Small Green Patch had the opportunity to create a thriving community space for so long! We look forward to hearing that the members of A Small Green Patch are spending their time at surrounding neighborhood gardens!

CITY LINE/EAST NEW YORK HAS A NEW COMMUNITY SPACE!
Join Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS) as they build out the new BACDYS Garden with the help of New York Restoration Project's Gardens for the City program next Thursday, April 16th from 3 pm to 6 pm at the corner of Forbell Street and Glenmore Avenue! Come help spruce up the space, build beds, and celebrate the opening up of this community space with us!

This space is actually a roof of the A Train tunnel and was a park more than 25 years ago. For over two years, 596 Acres helped BACDYS organize, connect with resources, and negotiate with the MTA. The garden is designed by pro bono architect Wendy Andringa of GreenLab Studio in collaboration with Grain Collective. "As a long term resident of this community I am extremely overjoyed with the reality of the project rising from paper to a life form," says Darma Diaz, BACDYS co-founder. "This garden will be heaven sent for both seniors and youth who have no place within the community to enjoy a green environment." Head to the lot's page and look under the notes section to read more about the journey of creating this new space!

A BIKE RIDE FOR GARDENS AT RISK
Join 596 Acres and Public Space Party next Saturday, April 18th as we ride to visit and learn more about five gardens under threat by private developers: Maple Street Community Garden,Roger That Garden Project
Eldert Street GardenChildren's Magical Garden, and Siempre Verde Community Garden. Large-scale community support can help advocate for these private properties to be acquired by the City and transferred into Parks Department inventory to remain valuable community resources. Join the Facebook event to keep updated on meeting details and the route of the ride!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Rosedale, Queens - Kenika emailed us this week to get more information on the wide and grassy lot at the corner of Memphis Avenue and 225th Street. She'll be posting a sign on the fence and at her local library (who thinks this is a great idea) and talking to neighbors about starting the Rosedale Queens Garden. If you live in the area and want to help out, emaildennis.kenika@gmail.com or call her at 718-600-3236.

Coney Island, Brooklyn - Oksana, Ben, and Yousiff are interested in accessing vacant, public space along the waterfront on Neptune Avenue at West 21st Street for poossible boating access or recreation space. Any other Coney Island residents interested in exploring the possibilities? Reach out to these three at boatsonlot41@gmail.com or give Mary at 596 Acres a call at 718-16-6092 ext 3.

Springfield Gardens, Queens - Thomas, a member of the Friends of Idlewild Park, has been working on a campaign to access the vacant, Department of Citywide Administrative Services-lot at the corner of 47th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard for a native plant garden and composting site. Want to get involved? Email him at t.arrington@idlewildparkpreserve.com or call 347-866-5114.

Lots with Access
Ditmas, Brooklyn - This Saturday April 11th Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) is holding an action day from noon to 4 pm to launch their community compost drop off program! Bring your food scrap! They will also being creating some signage for the compost program and unloading and spreading a big mulch delivery. All are welcome!

Harlem, Manhattan - Electric Ladybug Garden (West 111th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglas Boulevard) is holding their garden elections for their board of directors this Saturday, April 11th at 226 West 111th Street, across the street from the garden, through the gate and down the steps to the basement community room. Voting starts at 2pm sharp. See you there!

Harlem, Manhattan - Harlem Valley Garden (197 West 134th Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard) is holding a Spring Workday this Sunday, April 12th from 11am to 4pm to spruce up the garden. Head over to help deconstruct the greenhouse, throw down some mulch, build terraced beds, and more! Join the Facebook event here! Bring food scraps to feed the worms!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Siempre Verde Garden (on Stanton Streets between Clinton and Attorney Streets) has restarted their weekly open hours: noon to 5 pm every Saturday and Sunday! Swing by to meet neighbors, check out what's being planted, and hear what events are coming up! At the bottom of this newsletter are hose are two cute members showing of their findings from the garden's recent Easter egg hunt!)

COLLABORATORS
Did you know Greenpoint & Williamsburg have high levels of lead in soil? Find out more! JoinNeighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) next Thursday, April 16th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm for a presentation by the NYC Department of Health’s Nancy Clark, the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Environmental Disease and Injury Prevention and Deborah Nagin, the Director of Healthy Homes Program to discuss testing children’s lead levels and how to reduce exposures by. Head over to the McCarren Park Recreation Center, Multipurpose Room C at 776 Lorimer Street between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street. Join the Facebook event or RSVP viathe NAG website to RSVP!

Municipal Arts Society is partnering with Jane's Walk International from Friday, May 1st through Sunday, May 3rd to host free, locally organized “walking conversations” that get people together to explore, talk about, and celebrate their neighborhoods. Walks can be place-based, issue-based or activity-based and are a wonderful way to raise awareness of the great work that communities are all doing and challenges faced in building community-based resilience in NYC. Would you like to lead a walk that passes by and discusses your community space in the 596 Acres network?! Have another great idea? Read more here or attend an information session on Monday, April 13th from 6pm to 8 pm.  RSVP by calling 212-935-3960 x 1231 or emailing janeswalknyc@mas.org

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 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.

yours,
596 Acres

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: City Line East New York Gets a New Garden thanks to Organizing by BACDYS and 596 Acres

09 April 2015

East New York, Brooklyn

The Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS) Corporation of East New York is celebrating the creation of a new community garden at the corner of Forbell Street and Glenmore Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn. After signing a lease with the MTA to utilize the space in March, BACDYS teamed up with New York Restoration Project (NYRP), whose Gardens for the City program will bring materials and manpower to transform the space into a community garden from April 14-16, 2015. Volunteers will join to complete the initial construction on Thursday, April 16 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This space is familiar to anyone who has ever taken the A train to Rockaway - it is the roof of the train tunnel just as the train comes out and was originally designed as parklet. Fenced over 20 years ago, it was an eyesore created a dangerous blind corner for many years.

"The corner was full of garbage and rubble. It smelled. It was really ugly looking and people were afraid to come close," says Misba Abdin, President of the BACDYS board, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1982.

For over two years, 596 Acres helped BACDYS organize, connect with resources, and negotiate a lease with the MTA. MTA hosts other gardens on its property throughout the boroughs; 596 Acres recently supported the creation of Smiling Hogshead Ranch in Long Island City, Queens, and Q Gardens in Ditmas, Brooklyn. These three MTA-owned sites are just a few of the 32 community spaces that 596 Acres has helped neighbors create since their program began in early 2012.

"We could have never done this without 596 Acres," says Mr. Abdin. "They helped us figure out who we needed to talk to and bring all these great organizations together to make this garden real."

"It's amazing to be able to really feel the multiplier effect of our success across the city, to take what we learn in one neighborhood and transform it into success elsewhere," says Paula Z. Segal, attorney and director of 596 Acres. "Each campaign we work on is unique and we're pleased to have launched so many independent land stewards in such a short time!"

"As a long term resident of this community I am extremely overjoyed with the reality of the project rising from paper to a life form," says Darma Diaz, BACDYS co-founder. "This garden will be heaven sent for both seniors and youth who have no place within the community to enjoy a green environment."

The garden is designed by pro bono architect Wendy Andringa of GreenLab Studio in collaboration with Grain Collective. Materials for the garden construction are being donated by Build It Green and New York Restoration Project.

“This has been a great team effort - 596 acres has worked tirelessly to keep the transformation moving forward,” says Ms. Andringa. “I'm glad I could participate in the process - to see the Forbell green space finished will be so rewarding!”

"What we find fascinating is this grassroots movement by community to adapt and transform many of these unused urban open spaces," says architect Runit Chhay, Grain Collective. "As a professional, this is a great opportunity for us to support the community who have taken on this herculean task and we are grateful to be part of this."

“We’re thrilled to bring NYRP’s Gardens for the City resources, including staff, tools and materials, to help in this effort,” said Rebecca Fitle, NYRP Regional Engagement Manager. “This collaboration is a reminder of the importance of mobilizing. Together, we can empower the community, and each other, to transform green spaces into beautiful, accessible oases for the public to use for years to come.”

"I am proud to support and celebrate the creation of this new garden," says City Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., who represents the 37th District. "Community gardens are vital to building a healthy and vibrant community, as they eventually become pillars in the community bringing residents from various backgrounds together. I would like to thank the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation of East New York, 596 Acres, and everyone that came together to make this garden a reality.”

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3042060001/
http://596acres.org
http://bacdys.org
http://www.nyrp.org
http://www.greenlabstudio.net
http://graincollective.com

News From the Acres - April 2, 2015

02 April 2015
we're not giving up.

Check out this article published in Metro New York on Monday that highlights the persistence of neighbors like Dierell from 743 Blake Avenue (at Bradford Street) in East New York and how 596 Acres continues to work with folks to craft their campaigns and push for public access to public land.

596 Acres is featured alongside organization from around the globe in Enabling City Vol. 2, the second book by Chiara Camponeschi which explores the relationship between public space and democracy, the links between the commons and resilience and, ultimately, the role that social innovation can and must play in order to safeguard and advance both. You can read it online here - we're on page 120!

Last weekend, Paula Z. Segal, 596 Acres' Director of Policy and Advocacy, headed to Montreal for the two-day Degeneration-Regeneration where she gave the talk The Right to the City: One Vacant Lot at a Time. Check out these articles from Inquisitr and The Link Newspaper covering the conference.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - PS 146/Brooklyn New School's Green & Government Club is working on a campaign to turn a Department of Transportation triangular, paved property that sits between their school, the footbridge across the Gowanus Expressway, and Hamilton Avenue in to an open garden space for native pollinators that the general public and classmates from adjoining middle and high schools can enjoy. (At the top of the newsletter is an awesome banner that students made to hang on the school's fence that borders the empty property!) The club has created a petition to collect signatures from students, the PTA, and neighbors. If you'd like to help out in some way or get your name on the petition, contact the school's sustainability coordinator, Johanna at johanna@bns146.org or 646-808-5595.

East New York - There's a corner lot at 511 Liberty Avenue at Van Siclen Avenue that neighborhood gardeners and composters are interested in utilizing. Click the black 'organize' button in the middle of the lot's page to stay up to date on the planning of an upcoming meeting to discuss an neighborhood engagement strategy to access this piece of land under the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. You can also call Mary from 596 Acres at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or email mary@596acres.org.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Neighbor Addie is lives right next to the lot on snuggled in to Jefferson Avenue near Malcolm X Boulevard and would love to see it transformed in to some type of community space. She's already gotten in touch with the Department of Sanitation to clean the lot and connected with neighbors that are members of the local block association to see what they think of the idea. If you live in the area and want to help Addie take her next steps in holding a meeting, call her at 917-⁠749-⁠2183 or send her an email at addieny@gmail.com.

Lots with Access
Long Island City, Queens - This Sunday, March 5th head over to a mini-workday at Smiling Hogshead Ranch (5-30 Skillman Avenue at Pearson Place) from 11 am to 3:30 pm to do some mulching, painting and organizing in preparation for planting!

East New York, Brooklyn - Ten Neighbors Garden (658 Saratoga at Blake Avenue) is about to start building and growing! If you're interested in joining this newly re-established garden shoot an email to Carlos at carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com to get looped in on this weekend's planning meeting.

Harlem, Manhattan - Harlem Valley Garden (197 West 134th Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard) is holding a Spring Workday next Sunday, April 12th from 11am to 4pm to spruce up the garden. Head over to help deconstruct the greenhouse, throw down some mulch, build terraced beds, and more! Join the Facebook event here!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - Last Saturday Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) had their first workday ever! Check out the write up and photos on their blog!

GARDENS AT RISK: MAPLE STREET IN COURT
Yesterday Maple Street Community Garden at Maple Street at Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn returned to Housing Court with their attorney, Paula Z. Segal of Mohen & Segal LLP, for a hearing on whether eviction papers were correctly served to the gardeners, who are challenging individuals claiming to be the owners of the lot that the garden is on. The judge adjourned the case until the morning of Monday, May 4th (mark your calendars!), when gardeners will return to court at 141 Livingston Street at Smith Street in Brooklyn. Until then, the gardeners will have more time to spend in their space and get started on some spring growing! (That's them pictured at the bottom of the newsletter!) Mohen and Segal is also representing Roger That Garden Project (at the corner of Rogers Street and Park Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn) and Eldert Street Garden (315 Eldert Street between Knickerbocker and Irving Streets, Bushwick, Brooklyn) both of which have been illegally locked out by private developers who do not have the right to evict the gardens.

AN INVENTORY OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE
On Friday, April 10th architects, historians, urban advocates, and City officials will present case studies of completed work, addressing design excellence and community priorities at An Inventory of What's Possible, hosted by the Institute for Public Architecture with Pratt Institute School of Architecture. Paula Z. Segal, 596 Acres' Director of Policy and Advocacy, will be discussing the intersection of community control of public resources and the need for housing in New York City in the morning session, Stabilizing Neighborhoods. She'll be putting the current offer that Housing Preservation and Development has made - to make City-owned lots available to private developers for $1, even those with gardens on them - in context of what we could be doing. Prepare to hear about Community Land Trusts and the potential for community-based real estate investment! Click here to get location details and to RSVP to this free event!

COLLABORATORS
East New York Farms! is looking for a few enthusiastic volunteers to help out at their annual compost giveaway event tomorrow, Friday, April 3rd from 4 pm to 7pm and this Saturday April 4th from 10 am to 1pm. They're looking for volunteers to give out information on composting, help local community gardeners move bags of compost and get to know the gang over at ENYF! Contact Deborah@eastnewyorkfarms.org if you can help out!

New York Restoration Project is reopening their weekly volunteer compost program for the year! Join them at Sherman Creek Park (along Harlem River Drive and Dyckman at 10th Avenue, Inwood, Manhattan) this Saturday, April 4th from 1 pm to 3:30 pm to help process all of the food scraps collected at the Inwood Greenmarket with organic waste recovered from NYRP’s landscaping operations. Learn about the process of composting while making a contribution to local waste reduction and greening efforts. Email volunteer@nyrp.org to get involved. Keep an eye on their calendar for monthly events!

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 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.


yours,
596 Acres

News From the Acres - March 26, 2015

26 March 2015
help shape our city's future!
MAPLE STREET IN COURT
Join Maple Street Community Garden (at Maple Street at Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn) as they head back to Housing Court with Paula Z. Segal of Mohen & Segal LLP as their attorney this Wednesday, April 1st at 11 am in Part 52/Room 603 (the commercial part of housing court) at 141 Livingston Street (at Smith Street) in Brooklyn. Shoot an email to tomlafarge@gmail.com if you'd like to wear a Maple Street tshirt to show your support!A big crowd could make a big difference! See you there!

HELP SHAPE OUR CITY'S FUTURE!
The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is actively seeking input for the next PlaNYC strategic planning document. This means they are asking us to suggest ways we can make NYC better. Fill out the survey (available in several languages) to voice your ideas!Need suggestions?
- Ask the city to improve the processes for community access to public land as temporary and permanent open space; include a strong suggestion that community input be required any time public land is sold to private entities.
- Require all developers who build on public land to build with publicly accessible open spaces as part of their designs, including roof gardens that neighbors can reach using dedicated external stairs or a publicly accessible elevator. 
- Fund infrastructure for community gardens on Parks Department land, including solar panels and rainwater catchment.
- Preserve all public land for disposition to Community Land Trusts and other not for profit organizations.
- Build parks and other community amenities in neighborhoods planned for up-zoning before the up-zoning.

HPD GARDENS AT RISK
On January 26th Council Member Antonio Reynoso sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation, asking to have EL Garden (120 Jefferson Street between Evergreen and Central Avenues, Brooklyn) and the other seventeen active community gardens on the Housing Preservation and Development Request for Qualifications listinviting developers to propose to build housing on these same sites removed from the list. Yesterday, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia responded - take a read at her letter!

ON THE ROAD
Paula Z. Segal, the executive director of 596 Acres, is in Montreal, Canada! Today, Thursday, March 26th she is speaking at Civic Engagement through Open Government Initiatives at Smart Cities Montreal, a 3 day program that gathers public administrators and international experts to discuss the future of cities. This weekend, March 28th and 29thshe'll be speaking at the 50th Anniversary of the Quebec Association of Landscape Architects: Degeneration / Regeneration on The Right to the City: One Vacant Lot at a Time.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Neighbors organizing around the corner lot at 375 South 5th at Hooper Street have planned a clean-up day this Saturday, March 28th at 11 am! They're ready to tidy up the space and meet neighbors who want to help advocate that this City-owned land be open to the public! Can you help out? Do you know a garden who can led out some basic tools for the day? Email Tiffany at tiffanyfrances.ny@gmail.com.

East New York, Brookln - At GreenThumb's GrowTogether Conference last Saturday, Mary (the 596 Acres staff organizer pictured tabling at the top of this newsletter!) met Sahir, an East New York resident who wants to turn the large, unfenced space at the corner of Autumn Lane and Hemlock Street into some type of park. Emailmary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connected to Sahir.

Astoria, Queens - A group of neighbors is interested in starting a community growing space on the unused land next to the the Elmjack Little League Field (just East of the bridge to Riker's Island), who have had a license to use this City-owned space since the 1960's. The group has been working on a draft letter to propose their idea to the League's board. Do you know someone who participate in the League? Want to get involved? Click the "organize" button on the lot's page and enter your contact info, or reach out to Val atvalentinmos@aol.com or 347-327-8894.

Lots with Access
Flatbush, Brooklyn - Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) is having its first workday! After two and a half years of work with 596 Acres, the group of neighbors has a signed lease with the MTA, approved liability insurance through the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, and can get to work transforming the space! On Saturday, March 28th around from 12 pm to 4 pm show up to lend a hand. Tool and supplies provided! Call Anne at 503-866-7195 or email qgardensinfo@gmail.com for more information.

Long Island City, Queens - Starting at 1 pm this Saturday, March 28th, head over toSmiling Hogshead Ranch's Hoedown Heyday, at Flux Factory (39-31 29th Street between 39th and 40th Avenues). It'll be a full day of skillshares, film showings, music, and artist talks from Hogshead members and supporters. At 7:30 pm a community potluck featuring a conversations with the Point-A Project will kick off, followed by a dance party into the evening. For the dinner, seating is limited, so please RSVP toSmilingHogsheadRanch@gmail.com.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - EL Gardin is hosting a New York Restoration Project Tree Giveawaythis S
unday, March 29th from 10 am to 12 pm. Click here to sign up to pick up a free tree!

COLLABORATORS
After five years of searching, the Libertad Urban Farm has a home at 972 Simpson Street between East 163rd Street and Westchester Avenue in the South Bronx! Celebrate and help them tidy up their new space by heading over to their Spring Workday this Saturday, March 28th from noon to 2 pm to help plant tree, build beds, and lay mulch! Shoot an email to info@theblkprojek.org or call 718-635-0951to let them know you'll be helping out!

Artfully Unforgotten is a non-profit arts organization that uses art and creativity as a tool to raise awareness and engage communities in environmental issues. Their main project, DIG IN ART, is an arts-based program that bring fun and educational art workshops into communities. There are no age limits for participants, and workshops can be adapted for people with disabilities! They're currently searching for spaces where they could host their workshops this Spring. If you're in a garden that would like to host a Dig-in-Art workshop, contact alda@artfullyunforgotten.org.
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!

Citizens Committee of New York's Composting Grant is back! Grants of up to $750 are awarded to community groups working to start or expand upon a composting neighborhood composting program. Click here to learn how to apply! The deadline is TOMORROW, Friday, March 27th!

Free raised beds?

We got an email from a woman in Brooklyn who is giving away four sturdy hand-built raised beds (3'x6'x11") and eight gently used EarthBox sub-irrigated planters (14"x29"x11"), plus a grab bag of other garden stuff! Interested? Potential takers can email madgelma@hotmail.com to arrange a pick up in the Columbia Waterfront Districttomorrow, Friday, March 27th or this Saturday, March 28th.

Free materials and plants?
A Small Green Patch is being forced to leaved their site at 348 Bergen Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Stop by this Saturday, March 28th between 10 am and 5 pm to pick up plants and gardening materials.

GREEN JOBS
The NYC Compost Project is looking for a new citywide NYC Compost Project Manager! The candidate’s primary role will be to guide and direct NYC Compost Project programs at seven external host sites, acting as the primary liaison between the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability and NYC Compost Project host sites. To learn more, got to the NYC Careers Website, scroll all the way down the page to the search field and in the Civil Service Title search field enter Community Coordinator. The deadline to apply is April 2nd.

Build It Green! is looking for a Program Manager for the NYC Compost Project site they host! They're seeking someone with a passion for composting, waste management, and urban ecology! Click here to learn more.

The Kingsborough Community College Urban Farm is looking is looking for an Urban Farm Manager! This role involves managing the farm, coordinating volunteers, record keeping, conducting events and more! Click here for more info and to apply.

The Department of Youth and Community Development's COMPASS Program (a City-wide after school initiative) at P.S 329 Surfside Elementary in Coney Island has an opening for a part-time garden instructor to facilitate classroom and garden instruction with elementary age students. The garden instructor must be able to foster creativity, engage students foster curiosity and connect with the community, as well as work well with staff to maintain a team environment. Click here to learn more!

yours,
596 Acres

Sanitation Commissioner Responds to Council Member Reynoso on Disposition of HPD Land Developed as Gardens and Compost Sites

26 March 2015

On January 26, 2015, Council Member Antonio Reynoso sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation, asking to have El Garden and the other seventeen active community gardens on the Housing Preservation and Development Request for Qualifications list inviting developers to propose to build housing on these same sites removed from the list.

You can see the original letter here and a map we made of the impacted sites here. Yesterday, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia responded: 

"It is my understanding that the lots identified in the RFQ are not deemed final sites approved for development. At this stage NYC HPD is in an exploratory phase of screening... but none of these sites are being offered for sale." 

You can read her letter here

 

 

News From the Acres - March 19, 2015

21 March 2015
intern with us!

GROWTOGETHER THIS SATURDAY!
If you missed us last Saturday at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Making Brooklyn Bloom, don't worry! You can head to the 21st Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference this Saturday, March 21st at Hostos Community College (450 Grand Concourse at East 149th Street, Bronx). 596 Acres organizer Mary Elizabeth Prall will be tabling from 9 am to 3 pm and hosting a land access workshop from 11:30 am to 12:45pm (the first session of workshops). The workshop will host gardeners from 61 Franklin Community GardenElectric Ladybug Garden, and the future Eden Learning GardenWe are also still looking for a volunteer to help us table! If you'd like to join Mary at the conference, please email her at mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3. To get details about the day, click the link above.

CAN'T MAKE IT THIS WEEKEND?
On Tuesday, March 24th from 6 pm to 8 pm 596 Acres organizer Mary Elizabeth Prall will be giving a presentation, Community Land Access – Transformation through Technology, hosted by the Henry George School of Social Science at the John Haynes Holmes Community House (28 East 35th Street between Madison & Park Avenues). You can reserve a place at this free event by clicking here!

INTERN WITH US!
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31st through June 4th, 2015. Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. We'd love to have someone who speaks Spanish! Click herefor more information and how to apply. Application due by 5:59p.m. TOMORROW Friday, March 20th.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Rockaway, Queens - Neighbors organizing around the future Edgemere Coalition Garden (at the corner of Beach 43rd and Beach Channel Drive) are on the agenda for Queens Community Board 14's Land Use Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 24th at 7 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall (333 Beach 90th Street near Beach Channel Drive). Community Board 14 already formally supports this new garden. On Tuesday, organizers will be asking the board to request Mayor De Blasio reconsider Housing Preservation and Development's never-reviewed policy of no longer creating gardens with licenses through GreenThumb. This shift in HPD policy will insure that the lot these Rockaway organizers have been planning to grow in will remain vacant for many more years. The policy, if not altered, will keep many groups around the City from gaining access to the lots in their lives. Call Alexis at 347-606-9925 or email her at alexissmallwood@yahoo.com if you can support them by coming on Tuesday!

Harlem, Manhattan - Join Tamika, a Harlem resident, and Mary from 596 Acres on Saturday, March 28th as they go door to door in search of more supporters for a garden at 109 West 126th Street(between Lennox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard) to present to Manhattan Community Board 10. Want to come along? Know of a school or organization close by that might want to support the project? Contact Tamika at 126streetcommunitygardenapiary@gmail.com or 845-380-4050 or contact Mary at mary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Flushing, Queens - There's a cozy lot nestled between blocks where the West end of 52nd Avenue almost hits 72nd Place. Do you live in the area? Have any ideas? Contact Mary atmary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Lots with Access
Lower East Side, Manhattan - This Saturday, March 21st from 2 pm to 5 pm, Siempre Verde Garden (at Stanton Streets between Attorney and Clinton Streets) is hosting Poetry Romp for Pedro and Poetry, Public Space and Community to celebrate the poetry of Pedro Pietri, the Nuyorican poet, playwright, founder of the Nuyorican Movement. This romp will kick off at Siempre Verde Garden, meander to Le Petit Versailles, and then wrap up at El Jardin del Paraiso. Join the Facebook event here!

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - This Sunday, March 22nd from 4 pm to 6 pm Keap Fourth Community Garden (the corner of Keap and South 4th Streets) is meeting to clean up, spread mulch and plant some peas. This is also a chance to sign up to be a member of the garden! Head on over!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - Q Gardens (at the corner of East 18th Street and Church Avenue) is having its first workday! After two and a half years of work with 596 Acres, the group of neighbors has a signed lease with the MTA, approved liability insurance through the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, and can get to work transforming the space! On Saturday, March 28th around from 12 pm to 4 pm show up to lend a hand. Tool and supplies provided! Call Anne at 503-866-7195 or emailqgardensinfo@gmail.com for more information.

COLLABORATORS
You are invited to help plan NYCommons, an emerging citywide coalition to influence policy making around how the city deals with its public assets like parks, libraries, community gardens, and other publicly held spaces. Be a part of protecting all our common spaces by joining an upcoming meeting:TONIGHT, Thursday, March 19th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Flushing Library (41-17 Main Street, in Rooms A-B Lower Level) in Flushing, Queens; or Tuesday, March 24th, from 10 am to 12 pm at Hostos College (450 Grand Concourse, in C Building, on the 3rd floor, at the back of the cafeteria), in The Bronx. For more information, please contact Lauren George at (212) 691-6425 orlgeorge@commoncause.org.

Join the New York City Community Garden Coalition TONIGHT, March 19th for its monthly general meeting, which will include board elections and a celebration in honor of some departing leaders. If you're a member of the coalition, you are eligible to vote in this election so please go and exercise your right! Head over to the Neighborhood Preservation Center (232 East 11th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues) in Manhattan from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Artfully Unforgotten is a non-profit arts organization that uses art and creativity as a tool to raise awareness and engage communities in environmental issues. Their main project, DIG IN ART, is an arts-based program that bring fun and educational art workshops into communities. There are no age limits for participants, and workshops can be adapted for people with disabilities! They're currently searching for spaces where they could host their workshops this Spring. If you're in a garden that would like to host a Dig-in-Art workshop, contact alda@artfullyunforgotten.org.

 
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 atorganizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Citizens Committee of New York's Composting Grant is back! Grants of up to $750 are awarded to community groups working to start or expand upon a composting neighborhood composting program.Click here to learn how to apply! The deadline is March 27th!

yours,
596 Acres 

News From the Acres - March 12, 2015

12 March 2015

 

see you this weekend!

SEE YOU THIS WEEKEND!
This Saturday, March 14th 
596 Acres will be tabling at the 34th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from 10 am to 3 pm. It's a full day of workshops, talks and activities centered around growing! Stop by our table to say hi to our awesome volunteers Rachel (that's her above!) and Ashley, and pick up a few copies of A New York City Advocate's Guide to Land Access to share with friends and neighbors!

This Sunday, March 15th 596 Acres will be participating in the Just Food Conferencefrom 8 am to 7 pm at Teachers College (Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Manhattan). 596 Acres Organizer Mary Elizabeth Prall will be on panel discussion duringWorkshop I: Policy & Advocacy at 10:30 am on Urban Land Tenure in New York City along with Karen Washington of La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition in the Bronx and Brenda Thompson-Duchene of Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  The conference programming will cover over 40 different topics including farm and food policy issues, approaches to urban agriculture, culinary and food preservation techniques, and community-driven efforts to advance food justice throughout New York City. Tickets are sold out, but you can stay updated with the event virtually by following @justfood on Twitter.

INTERN WITH US!
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31st through June 4th, 2015. Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. We'd love to have someone who speaks Spanish! Click here for more information and how to apply.Application due by 5:59p.m. on Friday, March 20th.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - On Tuesday, 596 Acres met with students from PS 146/Brooklyn New School's Green & Government Club to discuss transforming the Department of Transportation's triangular, paved property that sits between their school, the footbridge across the Gowanus Expressway, and Hamilton Avenue. Their vision is to grow native plants and provide a space that the general public and classmates from adjoining middle and high schools can enjoy. The space would also be a warm welcome to those crossing the food bridge across the expressway from Red Hook. The club is working on writing a letter to Mayor DiBlasio and the DOT, and collecting signatures from students, the PTA, and neighbors. If you'd like to help, contact the school's sustainability coordinator, Johanna at johanna@bns146.org or 646-808-5595.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Join members of the future Hooper Street Park (375 South 5th at Hooper Street) for a clean-up day on Saturday, March 28th at 11 am! The group submitted an application to GreenThumb a few weeks ago and are anxiously waiting to hear back. In the meantime, they're ready to tidy up the space and meet future members! Can you help out? Do you know a garden who can led out some basic tools for the day? Email Tiffany at tiffanyfrances.ny@gmail.com.

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors have crafted a proposal to create a garden and performance space at 174 East 108th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenues) and are working on getting the community board to support the project. Members of a peer leadership program at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center want to get involved, too! Do you live in the neighborhood and want to help this group win the support of their local board? Contact Mary at mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Ridgewood, Queens - Between Mafera Park, Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery, and Christ the King Regional High School sits a triangular piece of land on Metropolitan Avenue under the jurisdiction of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. If you have ideas for how this space can be used for a neighborhood benefit, contact mary@596acres.orgor call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Lots with Access
Harlem, Manhattan - Are you a Harlem resident living on the west side? St. Nicholas Miracle Garden (330 St. Nicholas Avenue between West 126th and West 127th Street) could use some new members! Check out their website to learn more about the garden and how to join! Remember: you can drop off your compost at the garden every Sunday starting this Sunday, March 15th from 3 pm to 4 pm!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - On Saturday, March 21st from 2 pm to 5 pm, Siempre Verde Garden (at Stanton Streets between Attorney and Clinton Streets) is hosting Poetry Romp for Pedro and Poetry, Public Space and Community to celebrate the poetry of Pedro Pietri, the Nuyorican poet, playwright, founder of the Nuyorican Movement. This romp will kick off at Siempre Verde Garden, meander to Le Petit Versailles, and then wrap up at El Jardin del Paraiso. Join the Facebook event here!

COLLABORATORS
You are invited to help plan NYCommons, an emerging citywide coalition to influence policy making around how the city deals with its public assets like parks, libraries, community gardens, and other publicly held spaces. Be a part of protecting all our common spaces by joining an upcoming meeting: TONIGHT, Thursday, March 12th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Urban Justice Center, 123 William Street (16th Floor), Manhattan; or Tuesday, March 17th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Harlem YMCA, 180 West 135th Street (Brick Room, 1st floor), Manhattan; or Wednesday, March 18th, 10 am to 12 pm at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, 1368 Fulton Street (Multi-purpose Room), Brooklyn. Stay tuned for more dates!

This Saturday, March 14th head over to ¡Celebra Bushwick! at the Hope Gardens Community Center (422 Central Avenue at Woodbine Street, Brooklyn) from 12 pm to 4 pm. This is an event where diverse community members can interact through music, food, dance performances, art and story-telling. Speakers include the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, Make the Road New York, EcoStation NY, BK Rot, & more! Check outthe Facebook event page for more details.

To follow up ¡Celebra Bushwick!, on Sunday, March 15th, there will be a community discussion at Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave between Melrose and Jefferson Streets, Brooklyn) from 2 pm to 4 pm to discuss the way the Bushwick community is changing, how to further bridge community members and how this might support other efforts to achieve justice, equality, livelihood and sustainable development around the neighborhood.

HAVE A WEEDY OR TRASH-FILLED LOT IN YOUR LIFE?
The Department of Sanitation is responsible for the maintenance of all vacant, publicly-owned lots. If there's one near you that's brimming with weeds or trash, check out our page about how to Request a Lot Cleaning from NYC Sanitation. There's a link to an easy online form to fill out!
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 at email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Citizens Committee of New York's Composting Grant is back! Grants of up to $750 are awarded to community groups working to start or expand upon a composting neighborhood composting program. Click here to learn how to apply! The deadline is March 27th!

yours,
596 Acres 


Daffodils planted last fall are now making an appearance at Java Street Community Garden in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

News From the Acres - March 5, 2015

06 March 2015
our map has moved!

WELCOME, LIVING LOTS NYC!
Now, the interactive map you all know and love has moved to LivingLotsNYC.org! The map has awesome new features, such as bigger Google map photos, parcel outlines, as the ability to search by community district, and more! Poke around! Test it out! Let us know if anything seems weird.The site was built by our team with graphic design support by Cleis Design. Development was made possible by the Sunlight Foundation OpenGov Grant and legal support is provided by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society CyberLaw Clinic.

And don't worry - 596acres.org will still be there to inform you about important news regarding community land access, events, press, grant opportunities, and more. Links to lots' pages on 596acres.org will redirect you automatically, so don't worry!

NYC REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COOPERATIVE
We've gauging interest in a NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (REIC), where member-owners' investments are used to purchase vacant commercial buildings that will be used by cooperatives and local businesses, as described here. We're pretty excited about exploring this idea because it would give us the power as a community to make sure that organizations doing important work have space to do it - like Bushwick's community-based bottle and can redemption center Sure We Can. The REIC leverages member-owners’ investments to purchase properties. Consistent with the principles and spirit of the cooperative movement, the REIC makes long-term, stabilizing, and transformative investments for the mutual benefit of our members and our community. Interested? Fill out this form! If there's enough interest in a REIC, we will facilitate a process to form a core group and working groups that will carry this initiative forward.

GARDENS AT RISK
Last week Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wrote a letter to Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been asking for active community gardens operating under "interim use agreements" to be removed from the Housing Preservation and Development list of sites being offered to developers. Read the letter here! You can also check out this article by Commercial Observer that touches on the Commissioner's stance on the issues around the HPD situation.

INTERN WITH US!
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31st through June 4th, 2015. Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. We'd love to have someone who speaks Spanish! Click here for more information and how to apply. Application due by 5:59p.m. on Friday, March 20th.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
East New York, Brooklyn - A neighbor named Celeste contacted us about starting a garden atthe corner of Thatford and Riverdale Avenues. We've been working with other neighbors on this project for awhile, but they could use more involvement to keep the project going. Emailmary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connected to Celeste and other neighbors!

Corona, Queens - Immigrant Movement International and women from their group Mujeres en Movimiento are leading a campaign to turn the space at 4316 111th Street (at the corner of 44th Avenue) into a park or garden space. They're establishing volunteer roles and planning their next steps to get 1000 signatures to open up this space, which has been vacant for over 20 years. Call IMI at 718-424-6502 or email jserrano@queensmuseum.org to get involved!

Jamaica, Queens - There's a triangular piece of land where Bedell Street, Smith Street, and 119th Street meet that is dotted with cute trees and bushes. This might be a great place for pocket park with picnic tables! Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to learn how you can get started accessing this space!

Maspeth, Queens - On Laurel Hill Boulevard between 59th Street and 59th Place there's a corner lot up against a huge wall that might be a great spot for holding community meetings or movie showings, or having a gathering space with a mural. Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 share your ideas for the space, or leave a note on the lot's page!

Lots with Access
Harlem, Manhattan - St. Nicholas Miracle Garden (330 St. Nicholas Avenue between West 126th and West 127th Street) will resume taking community compost starting this month! Head over to the garden every Sunday after March 15th from 3 pm - 4 pm to drop-off your compost.

COLLABORATORS
GreenThumb's Starting Seeds in a Greenhouse or Indoors is this Saturday, March 7th from 1 pm to 3 pm in the Harding Lab Room 110 at the New York Botanical Garden (200 Kazimiroff Boulevard at East 142nd, Bronx). The workshop is free, but you must reserve a space by contacting Bronx Green-Up at (718) 817-8026 or bronxgreenup@nybg.org.

You are invited to help plan NYCommons, an emerging citywide coalition to influence policy making around how the city deals with its public assets like parks, libraries, community gardens, and other publicly held spaces. Be a part of protecting all our common spaces by joining one of these upcoming meetings: Thursday, March 12th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Urban Justice Center, 123 William Street (16th Floor), New York, NY 10038; or Tuesday, March 17th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Harlem YMCA, 180 West 135th Street (Brick Room, 1st floor), New York, NY 10030; or Wednesday, March 18th, 10 am to 12 pm at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, 1368 Fulton Street (Multi-purpose Rm), Brooklyn, NY.

New York Restoration Project is hosting a tree giveway at the Greenpoint Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (107 Norman Avenue at Leonard Street). Click here to get more information about the requirements around picking up a tree.

NYC Compost Project has a new website! Find out where you can drop off your food scraps, how to volunteer with composting initiatives, and learn more about composting in general.
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 at email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Citizens Committee of New York's Composting Grant is back! Grants of up to $750 are awarded to community groups working to start or expand upon a composting neighborhood composting program. Click here to learn how to apply! The deadline is March 27th!


yours,
596 Acres

News From the Acres - February 26, 2015

26 February 2015
3 NEW COMMUNITY SPACES WITH ACCESS!

Congrats, 227 Garden, BACDYS Community Garden &
Ten Neighbors Garden!

After over 2 years of organizing, a formerly vacant lot at on West 115th between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and 8th Avenue in Harlem is now officially the 227 Garden! With the help of 596 Acres neighbors successfully advocated for the lot to be transferred from the jurisdiction of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to the Parks Department with the intention of becoming a lasting community space. Awesome!

In East New York we're excited to announce that the future BACDYS Community Garden officially has signed a lease with the MTA! This space, which is at the corner of Forbell Street and Glenmore Avenue, is actually a roof of the A Train tunnel and was a park more than 25 years ago. For over two years, we helped the Bangladeshi American Community Development & Youth Service organize, connect with resources, and negotiate with the MTA. The garden, designed by pro bono architect Wendy Andringa of GreenLab Studio in collaboration with Grain Collective, will be built this spring.New York Restoration Project will be providing materials and labor.

At the corner of Blake and Saratoga Avenues in Brownsville, Brooklyn neighbors have successfully reclaimed the Ten Neighbors Garden! The garden was closed by the city and was bulldozed in 2002 in anticipation of development that hasn't happened yet. After we hung a sign up on the lot in the Fall of 2013, neighbors and former gardeners reached out to us and we held a meeting to discuss reinvigorating the space. Lots of determination later, neighbors re-registered with GreenThumb this week. They will be supported by Project EATS as they begin to build this spring. Hooray!

GARDENS AT RISK
On Monday Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wrote a letter to Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been asking for active community gardens operating under "interim use agreements" to be removed from the Housing Preservation and Development list of sites being offered to developers. Read the letter here!

On Tuesday, Paula Segal of 596 Acres, Shai J. Lauros of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and Suzanne Cope of 462 Halsey Community Garden in Brooklyn went on BRIC's BK LIVE show to discuss the context of Housing Preservation and Development's recent RFQ for two small homes programs and its potential affects on 17 community gardens. Watch it here!

If you live within Brooklyn Community Board 3 head over to  the Parks, Arts, and Culture Committeeon Wednesday, March 4th where the discussion will be about interim use gardens on land Housing Preservation and Development is offering for $1 to developers. The meeting will be at the board's office at 1360 Fulton Street at Marcy Avenue in Suite 202 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

IN THE MEDIA
Technical.ly named 596 Acres one of 6 Tech Groups Building a Better Brooklyn. Thanks, guys!

ON THE ROAD
Eric Breslford of 596 Acres will be presenting at the NCGIS2015, a conference in Raleigh, North Carolina as a aimed at increasing Geographical Information Systems knowledge for nonprofit usetomorrow, Friday, February 27th. He will be presenting the Urban Reviewer at a session on Spatial Analysis & Visualization, and Living Lots in a workshop on Serving the Masses. Cool! Read more here.

MARK YOU CALENDARS!
On Saturday, March 14th 596 Acres will be tabling at the 34th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from 10 am to 4 pm. It's a full day of workshops, talks and activities centered around growing!

On Sunday, March 15th 596 Acres will be participating in the Just Food Conference from 8 am to 7 pm at Teachers College (Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Manhattan). 596 Acres Organizer Mary Elizabeth Prall will be on panel discussion during Workshop I: Policy & Advocacy at 10:30 am on Urban Land Tenure in New York City along with Karen Washington of La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition in the Bronx and Brenda Thompson-Duchene of Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  The conference programming will cover over 40 different topics including farm and food policy issues, approaches to urban agriculture, culinary and food preservation techniques, and community-driven efforts to advance food justice throughout New York City. Tickets are $65 ($40 for students with valid ID) for the Sunday conference, but there are also sponsorship and volunteer opportunities. For more information and to register, click here.

The 21st Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference is Saturday, March 21st from 9 am to 4 pm at Hostos Community College (450 Grand Concourse at East 149th Street, Bronx). 596 Acres will be tabling from 9 am to 1 pm and hosting a land access workshop from 11:30 am to 12:45pm (the first session of workshops). We're putting together a panel of New Yorkers who have successfully gotten permission to open up commons. We're also looking for one volunteer to help us table! If you'd like to be on the panel or help table and join Mary at the conference, please email her at mary@596acres.orgor call 718-316-6092 ext 3. To get details about the day and information on tickets, click the link above.

INTERN WITH US!
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31st through June 4th, 2015. Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. Click here for more information and how to apply. Application due by 5:59p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2014.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
East New York, Brooklyn - East New York Restoration Local Development Corporation would like to create a community hub on the vacant City-owned lot at the corner of New Lots and Elton Street that partly sits under the subway tracks. Not surprisingly, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (who has jurisdiction over the space) says that there are no plans for developing it in sight! Do you have an idea for what the space could be used for? Contact Melinda Perkins atmperkins@enyrestoration.org or 718-676-5920 to share your ideas!

East New York, Brooklyn - Nick works for SCORES NY, a non-profit that provides youth with opportunities to play soccer, write poetry, and organize in their community! He's interested creating a temporary small soccer field and youth program on the two corner lots at Thomas H. Boyland and Park Place. If you live in the area and want to help make this a reality, join 596 Acres and Nick onSaturday, March 14th at 3 pm at a to-be-decided location. Additionally, if you know of a community center or school that could host the meeting, please let us know! Call Nick at 570-575-4323 or email him at nicholasbasalygaiv@gmail.com.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Neighbors got together Tuesday night to discuss the next planning steps for the future Hooper Street Park (at 375 South 5th and Hooper Street)! The group submitted an application to GreenThumb a few weeks ago and are anxiously waiting to hear back. In the meantime, plans in the works for a clean up day and a community visioning session to get more residents involved. Join the lot's page as an organizer to stay in the loop!

COLLABORATORS
The Design Trust for Public Space will be leading a series of workshops on the Farming Concrete (aka Five Borough Farm) Toolkit for measuring the good things happening in your garden. Want to know how many pounds of food scraps are going into your compost instead of the landfill? Want to measure the impact of your garden on gardeners’ and visitors’ moods? There are several upcoming workshops, starting with one on this Saturday February 28th from 1 pm to 3 pm at Flux Factory (39-31 29th Street between 39th and 40th Avenues, Long Island City, Queens). RSVP to5bfoutreach@farmingconcrete.org (*this address has been corrected since last week's announcement in this newsletter) and join the Facebook event. You can also find workshops on other dates in other boroughs.

Do you want to participate in creative improvements to Flushing Meadows Corona Park? Head to the Queens Museum this Sunday, March 1st from 3 pm to 5 pm for presentations as well as activities for all ages that will invite community members to thoughtfully engage with and contribute, bold ideas for improving the access, circulation, and overall connectivity of the park with its surrounding communities. This event is part of The World's Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighborsproject in partnership with a group of community advisers, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the Queens Museum, and Design Trust for Public Space. Simultaneous Spanish and Mandarin interpretation will be offered! Click here to RSVP.

Green Guerrillas is hosting its 2015 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Downtown Community Television Center at 87 Lafayette Street in Manhattan, just south of Canal Street. All are welcome for an evening of conversation! Learn about Green Guerrillas' program plans and community garden success stories. Enjoy food and refreshments. Free raffle with great prizes! Please RSVP by clicking here or calling 212-594-2155.

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 at email atorganizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Free Bamboo? There's still some to go around!
Members of Edgemere Farm have lots of bamboo they're giving away - plants and roots! Contact John at edgemere.jc@gmail.com or 212-470-3405 to arrange a pick up near Beach 46th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, Queens.

yours,
596 Acres 


A wintery EL Garden in Bushwick, Brooklyn:

Intern With Us: Spring 2015

25 February 2015

 

596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31 - June 4, 2015. 

Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. Here's an unsolicited review from a former intern (now our NYC Organizer). 

This Spring we will be updating our Spanish-language materials; we are looking for an intern who is biligual and proficient at written translation.

This is an unpaid internship, though we would love it if someone else was paying you! In the past, we have worked with the East New York Farms! Externship program (that intern's reflection is here). 

You will be working out of our office at Spaceworks (540 President Street) in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can make your own hours and there will be opportunities for field work or research on the weekends and in the evenings.

Comfort with navigation in parts of NYC you have never visited (even if you've been nearly everywhere) is key. Willingness to talk to strangers and learn how to do tasks on the computer are equally important. 

Please send a resume and a letter of interest. Include a picture of a place your neighborhood where participation by people who live or work close by could help make it better. 

Application due by 5:59p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2014, to organizers@596acres.org with the subject 'Spring 2015 Intern Application.'

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams Asks Mayor to Save Gardens

23 February 2015

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wrote a letter on February 23 to Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been asking for active community gardens operating under "interim use agreements" to be removed from the lists sites offered to developers for $1 at this time. His letter is here

Eleven Brooklyn gardens have been included in a Request for Qualifications addressed to the development community. The lots that the gardens are on are being offered for free to become development sites.


News From the Acres - February 19, 2015

19 February 2015

 

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!
We made it! Thanks to your thoughtful donations we have the funds to continue our work through June 15th, 2015. Awesome! Want to keep us going beyond then? Consider donating monthly to continue our work to help neighbors access public land.

SAVE THE DATES!
596 Acres will be tabling at the 34th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Saturday, March 14th from 10 am to 4 pm. It's a full day of workshops, talks and activities centered around growing!

The 21st Annual GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference is Saturday, March 21st from 9 am to 4 pm at Hostos Community College (450 Grand Concourse at East 149th Street, Bronx). 596 Acres will be tabling from 9 am to 1 pm and hosting a land access workshop from 11:30 am to 12:45pm (the first session of workshops). We're putting together a panel of New Yorkers who have successfully gotten permission to open up commons. If you'd like to be on the panel and join Mary at the conference, please email her at mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3. To get details about the day and information on tickets, click the link above.

GROUNDED IN PHILLY
In Philadelphia, Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI) at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphiacombines legal services, community organizing and policy advocacy and education to support people engaged in community gardening and farming. Check out this article from Generocity that highlights596 Acres' partnership with the GJLI to create: groundedinphilly.org.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Brownsville, Brooklyn - The lot at 658 Saratoga Avenue (at the corner of Blake Street) has been vacant since Ten Neighbors Garden was bulldozed in 2002. After hanging a sign up on the fence in 2013, 596 Acres has been working with neighbors to reinvigorate the space. On Tuesday at a meeting with neighbors, GreenThumb committed to the licensing the garden under the name Ten Neighbors again. Want to help make it an inclusive community space? Email Carlos at carlosdjdiaz@gmail.comor call Mary 718-316-6092 ext 3 to jump into the planning!

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Neighbors organizing the future Hooper Street Park (the corner lot at 375 South 5th & Hooper Streets) are meeting this Tuesday, February 24th at 7 pm at St. Paul's Church (334 South 5th Street between Keap and Rodney Streets, just two blocks from the lot). This meeting will be a  great opportunity to review the application that was submitted to GreenThumb and discuss the governance of the new space. All are welcome!

Springfield Gardens, Queens - The Friends of the Idlewild Park Preserve want to turn the vacant lots at 147th and Springfield Lane into a native plant garden and composting site. Yesterday we heard from Department of Citywide Administrative Services that they would be willing to transfer these two lots if the Parks Department requested them. Let's get organizing! Email Thomas at tjager727@gmail.com or give him a call at  347-866-5114.

Weeksville, Brooklyn - On Tuesday night teachers from PS 335 earned unanimous support from the full board of Brooklyn Community Board 8 to start a garden at the lot across the street from their school at 1662 Bergen Street (at Rochester Avenue). Hooray! Next step? Sending in their GreenThumb application... If you're a neighbor would like to get involved, email Liesl atlzitman@verizon.net.

Lots with Access
Harlem, Manhattan - TONIGHT, February 19th at 6:30 pm Harlem gardeners on HPD land are headed to Manhattan Community Board 10's Land Use Committee meeting on the 4th floor of 215 West 125th Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard to ask for the board's support in protecting these gardens from potential development due to Housing Preservation and Developments RFQ for two small homes programs that were announced last month. (We made a map!Head to the meeting to support the gardeners! Your presence counts!

Long Island City, Queens - Smiling Hogshead Ranch is holding a Happy Hour hangout TONIGHT, February 19th at Woodbines (47-10 Vernon Boulevard). This is a great chance to meet fellow gardeners and join the ranch before spring kicks in!

Harlem, Manhattan - Electric Ladybug Garden (West 111th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) is having a general meeting on this Saturday, February 21st at 5 pm across the street from the garden in the basement of 226 West 111th. Email electricladybugharlem@gmail.com if you'd like more information.

Garden at Risk!
Almost two weeks ago Maple Street Community Garden headed back to Housing Court with their attorney Paula Segal. Eight gardeners in t-shirts came to display their support! (That's them at the top of the newsletter!) The gardeners are challenging individuals claiming to be the owners of the lot that the garden is on, a company called "Housing Urban Development, LLC". The judge did not dismiss the case brought by the alleged owners, but he made an adjournment until April 1st and wrote an order against Housing Urban Development, LLC entering or interfering with the garden! Stay tuned!

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Garden Coalition is holding their monthly meeting TONIGHT, February 19th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Steven Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, will be discussing the “foodshed conservation plan”, a strategy to secure regional farms that are needed if the city wants to continue to have access to local fresh food.

The Design Trust for Public Space will be leading a series of workshops on the Farming Concrete (aka Five Borough Farm) Toolkit for measuring the good things happening in your garden. Want to know how many pounds of food scraps are going into your compost instead of the landfill? Want to measure the impact of your garden on gardeners’ and visitors’ moods? There are several upcoming workshops, starting with one on Saturday February 28th from 1 pm to 3 pm at Flux Factory (39-31 29th Street between 39th and 40th Avenues, Long Island City, Queens). RSVP to 5fb@farmingconcrete.org andjoin the Facebook event. You can also find workshops on other dates in other boroughs.

The ninth annual Make Music New York returns this year on Sunday, June 21st! you're a musician looking for a place to play - or if you have a garden, restaurant, sidewalk, or other outdoor space and want musicians - you can sign up and find the perfect match for your Make Music New York concert. Click here!

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 at email atorganizers@596acres.org and let us know!

Free Bamboo?
Members of Edgemere Farm have lots of bamboo they're giving away - plants and roots! Contact John at edgemere.jc@gmail.com or 212-470-3405 to arrange a pick up near Beach 46th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, Queens.

yours,
596 Acres