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News From the Acres - September 18, 2014

18 September 2014
help keep 596 acres going!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Help keep 596 Acres going by attending Mapping Matters!
This awesome party on Thursday, October 2nd will be 596 Acres' second ever gala benefit and includes fantastic food, drinks, awesome raffle prizes, music by Consumata Sonireda, presentations by City Council Members, a dance party, hairstyling, palm readings, and even free tattoos! You don't want to miss it! This is an opportunity to support 596 Acres in all the work we do. As the end of the 2014 approaches, we need your help to make sure our program can continue into next year. Here's your chance to show your love! Don't wait - tickets are selling fast!

Visit us this weekend!
596 Acres will be hosting the workshop Envisioning Better Futures for Our Lots this Saturday, September 20th from 1 pm to 2:30 pm at El Puente Green Light District's Southside Connexstreet festival on Havemeyer Street between Grand Street and South 4th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The streets will be closed to vehicle traffic and; filled with cultural activities, health and wellness workshops, environmental justice information & resources!

This Saturday, September 20th our director Paula will be at the LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival 2014 at La Plaza Cultural (East 9th Street at Avenue C in the East Village, Manhattan). Paula will be speaking on a panel "New York City Urban Farming - Growing a Just Food System"from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm to talk about empowering ourselves to get access to land and 596 Acres' recent successes. Other panels from EcoStation/Bushwick Campus Farm, Farm School NYC, La Palapa/New York City Women's Culinary Alliance, and Hunger Action Network. Then, from 3 pm to 4 pm, head over The Firemen's Memorial Garden (East 8th Street between Avenues C and D) for 596 Acres' Vacant Public Land Recovery Workshop followed by a performance by Bread and Puppet. For more info click here or click on the Facebook page!

This Sunday, September 21st 596 Acres' organizers will be taking part in the People's Climate March! Join Rockaway Wildfire on the "Front Line of Crisis/The Forefront of Change" (meeting at Central Park West from 61st to 65th) and the New York City Community Garden Coalition  saying "We have the solutions" (meeting at Central Park West between 71st and 77th). See you at the march!

We made the list!
596 Acres' Urban Reviewer made Planetizen's Top 10 Websites of 2014 list. Cool!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - Last week neighbor John submitted a proposal to Manhattan Community Board 11 to start a garden at 174 East 108th Street. Hopefully by next month the group will get a positive answer back! Contact triplemgarden@gmail.com to get involved and stay in touch about a next meeting the second week of October!

Bushwick, Brooklyn - New organizers are taking a risk on a string of city-owned vacant lots in the Broadway Triangle, like this one. They're off to talk to EVERYONE affected by what happens on these pieces of vacant public land. (That's two of the organizers, pictured at the bottom of this newsletter!)

Rockaway, Queens - 
The family Grenada runs a daycare with 16 kids in the home next door toa vacant lot on Beach 36th. While they already grow in their own yard, they think a community garden would be great for the kids and would give the people who live on the block a reason to get to know each other. If you live in the area, email or call Dawn Grenada (who is putting together the volunteer list) at grenada347@aol.com or 347-299-2533 or contact Malika, who lives around the corner, at Malikaj.777@gmail.com or 646-918-9634 and is super excited!

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Elliot the social worker from Eagle Academy who helped pioneer the amazing garden at the corner of Fulton and Saratoga is also interested temporarily extending the project to the large lot across the street. Brooklyn Community Board 3 would like to see this space turned into housing, for now it's sitting vacant with no plans in site. If you'd like to help make something happen, email mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to help Elliot convince the board that this project is super beneficial to the neighborhood's children - even for the short term!

News from the Organizing Acres
Congratulations to La Casita Verde (at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Division Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) on their invocation yesterday! Special thanks to the Jason Mraz Foundation for supporting the event. Missed it? You can visit the garden this Saturday, September 20th from 1 pm to 4 pm to join artists, scientists and activists for an afternoon of activities and inspirational sign-making at their "warm-up" for the People's Climate March. This event is fun for all ages! Just show up!

COLLABORATORS
New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly general meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, September 18th at 6:30 pm at Phoenix Community Garden (2037 Fulton between Thomas S. Boyland Street and Rockaway Avenue, Brownsville, Brooklyn). This meeting is a great way to be updated about citywide community garden issues and is a fun general meet and greet for gardeners.

The volunteer gardeners of Andrew Haswell Green Park (on York Avenue between East 60th and 61st Streets) are holding a special event this Saturday, September 20th. At 1 pm and again at 3 pm Maureen Regan, a local horticulturist and President of Green Earth Urban Gardens, Inc., will be making a presentation on "Native Plants and Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden". Just show up! Email greenparkgardenersnyc@gmail.com with questions.

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!

yours,
596 Acres 


News From the Acres - September 11, 2014

11 September 2014
#26!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Congratulations to Mandela Park, the 26th group we've helped get access to a plot of vacant land! Since early this year neighbors have been organizing to turn two large Housing Preservation and Development-owned lots at 225-227 West 126th Street into a park space with native flowers. We can't wait to see what's blooming come next spring!

Today tickets to Mapping Matters are 2 for one!
Until midnight tonight, just write a note that says "two for one" when you buy them through PayPal ("Add special instructions to the seller"). Click here to purchase! This awesome party on Thursday, October 2nd will be 596 Acres' second ever benefit and include fantastic food, drinks, awesome raffle prizes, music by Consumata Sonireda, presentations by City Council Members, a dance party, palm readings, and even free tattoos! You don't want to miss it!

Visit us this weekend!
In Brooklyn we'll be tabling at GreenThumb's Annual Harvest Fair this Saturday, September 13th from noon to 4 pm at Green Gems Community Garden (149 Fountain Ave at Glenmore). Enjoy a healthy food demonstration, a domino tournament, gardening workshops, raffle prizes, live music, the annual Harvest Contest, and activities for kids, including face painting, balloon art and double dutch. Join the fun!

In Rockaway we'll also be tabling at The Climate Justice Teach-in & Bash this Saturday, September 13th from 2 pm to 6 pm at Bayswater Park (located at 32nd Street & Beach Channel Drive). This community event hosted by Rockaway WildfireNYSNA andCommunity Voices Heard will include presentations, demonstrations and information on a wide variety of green, local solutions to the current climate crisis. There will also be a performance by a local youth hip hop dance troupe, live music, participatory artwork and a bouncy castle for kids! See you there!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
South Bronx - Raven is an Bronx-based urban gardener who would love to turn the lot at 161st Street and Melrose Ave into a garden for the children of the neighborhood to learn about growing plants. She's already been speaking to the church next door and talking to people about getting started! Contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.orgto get connected to Raven.

South Bronx - Emily, Afhor, and Kesha are determined to start a garden at 840 Tinton Avenue and East 160th Street - or any of the other vacant spaces in their neighborhood! Email or call Emily at emily.baierl@gmail.com or 612-325-4161 help plan this group's first meeting.

East New York, Brooklyn - Steve says, "Our goal is to transform a neglected vacant space owned by the city (1118 Blake Avenue between Milford Street and Montauk Ave) into a free public edible garden for everyone. We plan to plant tons of fruits & veggies, several trees, build benches and unite the community against hunger." Want to help Steve? He says, "We need as many green thumbs as we can get!" Contact him atstevefred93@gmail.com or call 347-520-7476.

East New York, Brooklyn - We got an email from a neighbor near the skinny vacant lot at182 Wyona Street who wants to start a garden. If you live in the area, contact Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or mary@596acres.org.


COLLABORATORS
El Puente Green Light District's Southside Connex street festival happening this Saturday, September 13th and next Saturday, September 20th from 1 pm to 6 pm on Havemeyer Street between Grand Street and South 4th Street in Los Sures (the Southside of Williamsburg). The streets will be closed to vehicle traffic and filled with cultural activities, health and wellness workshops, environmental justice information & resources! (That's them, pictured at the bottom of the newsletter with their mural, ¡Cultura Con Azúcar!, at the Domino Sugar Factory site, which depicts the rich history of the community and the resiliency of the neighborhood through vast changes.)

The Columbia Waterfront Community Gardens of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn will be holding a garden walk this Saturday, September 13th from noon to 1:30 pm.  The tour will begin at the Human Compass Garden on the corner of Columbia Street & Sackett Streets and will make it way to each of the other community gardens in the area.  This is a great way to see the neighborhood and connect with your fellow gardeners who have turned vacant lots into flower gardens, meadows, quiet spaces, and urban farms! Just show up!

New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly general meeting is next Thursday, September 18th at 6:30PM at Phoenix Community Garden (2037 Fulton between Thomas S. Boyland Street and Rockaway Avenue, Brownsville, Brooklyn). This meeting is a great way to be updated about citywide community garden issues and is a fun general meet and greet for gardeners. Thinking about marching during the People's Climate Marchnext Sunday, September 21stJoin the NYCCGC as a volunteer!

 

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!

yours,
596 Acres 


News From the Acres - September 4, 2014

04 September 2014
general meeting tonight in east new york!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Our General meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, September 4th at 6:30 pm at 216 Forbell (at Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn), a few blocks from the Grant Ave A Train. Join us! We're being hosted by BACDYS (Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services) at their future garden space! Contact mary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Bring you scissors!
Head over to Smiling Hogshead Ranch's ribbon cutting happening this Saturday, September 6th from 3 to 5 pm at 25-30 Skillman Avenue (at Pearson Place) as we congratulate this team of gardeners who now have an agreement with the property owner, the MTA/LIRR! Get more details and read about the elected officials that will be presenthere and join the Facebook event page!

Tickets are on sale for Mapping Matters, our second ever gala benefit is happening on Thursday, October 2nd at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo. This party will include fantastic food, drinks, awesome raffle prizes, music by Consumata Sonireda, presentations by City Council Members, a dance party, palm readings, and even free tattoos! You don't want to miss it! Get the details and buy your tickets. We need your support to keep 596 Acres working in neighborhoods to help people access land!

Essays!
There are two new ones on Urban Reviewer: "Model Cities" by Haja Worley, who worked as part of federal Urban Renewal's Model Cities initiative in the 1960s, and "We could have studied City-Making" by Matt Delsesto, a volunteer who spent hundreds of hours at Housing Preservation and Development's office doing data entry to make the Urban Reviewer possible. Read the essays here!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - Yesterday afternoon John held meeting in front of the lot near his house on East 108th Street with neighbors. (That's them pictured at the top and bottom of this newsletter!) John collected signatures, shared his ideas for the space, and even got a building owner to pledge to write a letter of support. If you live in the area and want to join the planning, contact John at triplemgarden@gmail.com.

South Bronx - Afhor says "I love the Bronx. I am committed to bringing the beauty, health and UNITY back to our community as a whole." Right on! She's interested in starting a project at in the vacant lot on Bryant Avenue between East 165th Street and Westchester Avenue, around the corner from an active basketball court. Contact her at 646-303-0915or a.vivianblake@gmail.com to help!

Rockaway, Queens - According to Deborah Morris at Housing Preservation and Development, the space at Beach 35th Street between Edgemere Avenue and Sprayview Avenue and at 3421 Edgemere Avenue between Beach 34th and Beach 35th Streetswould be great sites for a temporary space for the community to use as a garden and organizing space for future involvement with the Arverne East development site. This is a green light for neighbors to organize to get access to through the GreenThumb program, as development is not scheduled to start for at least a few years. Do you know any students or teachers at the neighboring schools who would be interested? Let's get organizing!

Lots with Access!
El Puente hosted a meeting this past Tuesday night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for several of the gardens in their district to get together, and 596 Acres was there to follow up on a training of the Five Borough Farm Toolkit we did at the last meeting. What did we learn since then? La Casita Verde has diverted 651 lbs of waste from landfill by accepting food scraps for compost between August 3 and 17. Wow! Keep up the good work!

Interested in going to the People's Climate March on Sunday, September 21st but don't have anyone to march with? Join 462 Halsey Community Garden from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn as they let world leaders know we are all serious about climate change. Email462halsey@gmail.com and they'll send you information about the meet-up location!

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!

yours,
596 Acres 

 

News From the Acres - August 29, 2014

02 September 2014

 

 

 

ribbon cutting: smiling hogshead ranch!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Last Chance!
Visit the Urban Reviewer and our interactive physical map within Spontaneous Interventions' residencynow through Sunday, August 31st from 10 am to 6 pm in Building 403, Colonel's Row (adjacent to the Parade Ground). Click here for more details and a link to the ferry schedule. You can also take the Urban Reviewer home with you!  Drawing from the essays and contextual material of the Urban Reviewer, we've crafted a gorgeously designed little book that tells the story of Urban Renewal past present and hopeful future in New York City. A deep dive into policy and feelings, into specificity and trepidation. We're sure you'll like it. We're excited to find out what you learn. Click here for more info and how to purchase.

Thanks Aeolians!
Thanks Aeolian Riders for joining us at our Spontaneous Interventions party and raising $560 to support our core land access work in NYC. Check out the pictures from the ride here. Thanks to the musicians Deva Mahal, Jacob Bills and Darryl Specht for bringing sweet sounds, ESPtv for making it louder, Blazing Saddles for loaning us kids bikes, and NY Waterway for the free ferry ride for our inflatable friends.

We'll miss you, Faith!
We've been lucky to have Faith Titilawo with us this summer, an extern from East NY Farms. Read her thoughts and reflections from ten weeks with us. If you'd like to say bye to her on her last day with 596 Acres, she'll be tabling at GreenThumb Annual Harvest Fair on Saturday, September 13th from noon to 4 pm at Little Gems Garden (on Glenmore Avenue between Crystal Street and Fountain Avenue, East New York, Brooklyn). Visit the event page for more details and information on the free shuttle buses from the Bronx!

Save the Dates!
Our next General meeting is next Thursday, September 4th at 6:30 pm at 216 Forbell (at Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn), a few blocks from the Grant Ave A Train. Right now we're working with 10 organizing groups who are gearing up to present in front of their community boards to earn letters of support. Want to meet other groups and see how they've been navigating the system? Just getting started and want to hear how others have done it? Join us! We're being hosted by BACDYS (Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services) at their future garden space! Contact mary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Head over to Smiling Hogshead Ranch's ribbon cutting happening next Saturday, September 6thfrom 3 to 5 pm at 25-30 Skillman Avenue (at Pearson Place). We'd love to have you join us in congratulating this team of gardeners and farmers who spent two years organizing and now have an agreement with the property owner, the MTA/LIRR! This is #25 in the list of sites 596 Acres has helped access! They'll also be announcing their registration with the NYC Parks Department GreenThumb program and that they're joining the New York City Community Garden Coalition. Please join us and the ranchers for an inauguration ribbon cutting ceremony! Get more details and read about the elected officials that will be present here and join the Facebook event page!

Recapping Vacant Acres
Check out this great report-back of Vacant Acres by Rachel Dobkin, the symposium we held this past April bringing together urban vacant land advocates from around the world. If you attended (or if you didn't and want to share your thoughts!) and can spare five minutes, we'd love to have you fill out this short survey about the event. It's also a great way to stay in touch about a possible Vacant Acres 2015! Click here to read more and see the collected slide presentations and audio recording from the day.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Jamaica, Queens - There's a huge piece of land bordering the North Conduit Highway and across the street from Tudor Park that a few non-profits from the area have their eyes on. We spoke to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and they said a transfer to the Parks Department would be possible if it was requested by Parks. Anyone know other groups interested? Neighbors or block associations? Call Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or email mary@596acres.org.

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbor John is holding a meeting about starting a garden at the lot near his house on East 108th Street - a lot that Housing Preservation and Development said they'd be willing to lend out the community! Meet in front of the lot (174 East 108th between 3rd Ave and Lexington Ave)next Wednesday, September 3rd at 5 pm. Bring your ideas! Contact John attriplemgarden@gmail.com with questions.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - The Department of Citywide Administrative Services let us know that the lot at511 Liberty Avenue is "just sitting there" and they would be willing to transfer the property to the Parks Department if they requested it. This is great news for Manny, a neighbor who's been getting signatures from his neighbors and letters of support. Call Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get looped in!

Lots with Access!
Lower East Side, Manhattan - Every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 pm Siempre Verde hosts 'Wormy Wednesdays' at their garden on Stanton Street at Attorney Street. Stop by to learn about worm composting and hang out in the garden! 

Greenpoint, Brooklyn - 61 Franklin held a fundraiser last Thursday night to support their garden education program. The event boasted musicians, cocktails made with garden herbs, and delicious snacks donated generously donated by local farms. Way to go! Check out photos from the event at the garden's Facebook page.

COLLABORATORS
Head over to Rose Red and Lavender (to 653 Metropolitan Ave between Leonard St and Manhattan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) today through Sunday, August 31st from 10 am to 1 pm to take home some free plants that need a little love! Show them this email or just mention that you're a part of the 596 Acres network and you'll also receive 40% off trees and 50% off almost all other things!

GreenThumb is hosting its 9th Annual Harlem Garden Tour this Saturday, August 30th (with a rain date of August 31st). Kicking off at 10 am with breakfast at the J.D. Wilson Garden (219 West 122nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, Harlem) and ending at 5 pm with a traditional Harlem barbecue at the William A. Harris Garden (153rd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, Harlem) The tour will take in over fifteen of Harlem's green gems. Click here for more information and here to see all of GreenThumb's upcoming events!

Next Saturday, September 6th the Powell Street Community Garden and the Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation is hosting a free tree giveaway sponsored by the New York Restoration Project! First, register at www.nyrp.org/treegiveaways and then head over to 410 Livonia Ave (at Powell Street, Brownsville, Brooklyn) from 9 am to 11 am. Get going early - it's first come, first serve!

The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust will host its 3rd Annual BQLT Garden Bike Tour on Sunday, September 14th. Explore eleven community gardens throughout Brooklyn. Highlights on the tour will include bees, chickens, a number of rain catchment systems, unique crops, and tips from master gardeners. Meet at 9:30 am in front of Clifton Place Community Garden (1031-35 Bedford Avenue at North 12th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Click here for more info or to RSVP. Snacks and beverages will be provided along the tour route, and walkers are welcome as well!

The New York Permaculture Exchange and the Park Slope Permaculture Guild are hosting Permafest 2014: "Building Community Resilience". Head over to the Old Stone House (336 Third Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, Park Slope, Brooklyn) on Saturday, September 20th from 12 pm to 8 pm for a full day of skill sharing, kids activities, bartering, live music, a picnic dinner, and a talk about the connection between "Soil, Nutrition & Climate Change" with Dan Kittredge, Executive Director of theBionutrient Food Association. Join the Facebook Event Page!

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!

yours,
596 Acres 

A Reflection from Our East NY Farms! Extern

27 August 2014

We've been lucky to have Faith Titilawo with us this summer, an extern from East NY Farms! Below are her thoughts and reflections from ten weeks with us. Thank you for everything, Faith!

Photo by Murray Cox. 

As the summer comes to an end, so does my time interning for 596 Acres. I think it is only appropriate that I write a reflection on my time at 596 Acres and how it affected and influenced me.

When I first started interning for 596 I had certain expectations, but like most things in life, my expectations were nothing close to reality. In fact reality was way better. I admit at first I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was being thrown at me about land access and services that 596 Acres provided for communities. On my second day here I went to a meeting out in the Rockaways with people from the neighborhood who wanted to turn an empty lot in their community to a garden. It was inspiring to sit amongst people from 596 acres, Rockaway Wildfire, and community members as they discussed what they would like to see in their neighborhood. I could feel the excitement and determination humming through the group as they strategized on the next steps. I believe this is when it hit me, when I was finally able to understand the work that 596 Acres is doing and how important it is. Because of this I was able to absorb information better and understand the intricate details of accessing land in New York City.

Most of the programs and internships that I have been privileged to participate in were mostly structured. However, while interning at 596 I was given more freedom and therefore more responsibility with the work I was expected to complete. Paula gave me a general idea on how she wanted me to complete the project but gave me free reign with the project. I believe the best part of my internship was the diversity of projects I was responsible for. I was allowed to take initiatives on the projects I was assigned to.

Throughout the internship I felt very included.  I loved that I was privy to the inner workings of a non-profit organization. From budget meetings, to gala planning and lot labeling I experienced all that 596 acres had to offer. I learned many critical skills that I believe will take me far in life. I learned a lot about city agencies and the big players that control land in NYC.

Although my internship was fun, I did face some challenges. During my second week I was giving the task to write a How-to guide on starting a farmer’s market. It was the first time I have ever attempted to do something like this. While writing the article I became very frustrated with research and dealing with city agencies to get the information I needed to write the article. Fortunately, I had people like Paula and Mary that gave me feedback on my article and were very positive and encouraging. They took an active interest in my learning and I felt comfortable coming to them when I had a question.      

Going to Governors Island every Friday and Saturday to introduce the new Urban Reviewer website was one of my favorite memories during this internship. The island was beautiful and I got to meet so many people from here in New York City and from around the world. I remember meeting and connecting with folks from New York City, France, Brazil, Australia, etc. Through this experience I began to feel more comfortable talking to people and learning to read my audience in order to tweak my speeches to cater to their interest.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time at 596 Acres. I learned more than I expected to learn and met some incredible people. This journey taught me to be more independent, responsible, open-minded, patient, and organized. My time at 596 Acres sparked in me,  an interest in policy making and its effect in people’s lives. As I move on to my next step in life, college, I hope to major in Public Policy and build on the things I learned from this internship.  I highly recommend this internship to anyone who wants to learn about their city, connect with people, and gain some experience and knowledge on public policy. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at 596 Acres, it is an internship I will always remember.  


Vacant Acres: A Belated Follow Up and Thank You!

27 August 2014
tags: OtherCities

Remember how great it was for us all to be together here in April at the Vacant Acres symposium?

If you've forgotten, check out this great report-back by Rachel Dobkin with the help of participants plus photos by Marco Clausen.

We'd love your feedback about the event and thoughts about the future of the Vacant Acres network. We've put together a very short survey (5 minutes max!). Will you please take it? The survey is also the mechanism for telling us you want to stay on this list and get updates about our future developments, so if you'd like to recieve emails about things like Vacant Acres 2015, please click the link! It's also the place to tell us that you want Vacant Acres 2015 to become real and how you can help!

We at 596 Acres have updated our Community Land Access Network page to reflect the awesome projects we learned about at Vacant Acres. Let me know if anyone is missing who you think should be here. 

Materials from the conference are available here. We have collected all the slidesdocumentation from the Day Two break out groups and audio recordings and we are working on creating transcripts.  If you'd like to help transcribe, email paula@596acres.org.  

Thank you again to the Tishman Environment and Design Center, the New School Environmental Studies Department, the Small Planet Fund and Southwest Foundation for making Vacant Acres possible. And thank you to our dinner hosts: the Sunview, the Meat Hook, Four & Twenty Blackbirds and the fabulous chef Hira Lesea. 

A few resources that we think should be on your radar: 

- Peleg Kremer will serve as the editor of a section of a special issue of the journal Cities and the Environment, derived from the proceedings of Vacant Acres. Neat! Stay tuned for more! We're using the transcribed presentations as a starting point. 

- The Baltimore Urban Agriculture Law Conference is coming up on September 19, hosted by the Community Law Center. See you there!

- If you want to continue the discussion with practitioners, we think the urban list of Land Trust Alliance Network is a great place to have it. We're all on this list - join us!

- Our friends at 3000 Acres in Australia have published a guide for developers who are looking to set up a similar tool for their city. Note that the big difference between the tools we have developed for Philadelphia  New OrleansNew York and Los Angeles and the 3000 Acres tool for Melbourne, Australia is where the data comes from. The Melbourne tool is not set up to use open data or any bulk information; all properties are entered manually. 

The Urban Reveiwer Reader Available for Purchase!

21 August 2014

The Urban Reviewer Reader draws from the essays and contextual material of the Urban Reviewer, the first ever comprehensive public map of all New York City's Urban Renewal Plans adopted this century. 

It is a gorgeously designed little book that tells the story of Urban Renewal past present and hopeful future in New York City, including a list of all Urban Renewal Plans active as of the date of publication (these are places where the story of neighborhood change is still being written). 

It's a great short text about New York City. A deep dive into policy and feelings, into specificity and trepidation. We're sure you'll like it. We're excited to find out what you learn!

The book is $10, which includes shipping within the United States of America. If you need it elsewhere, please drop us a line: paula@596acres.org. 

 



News From the Acres - August 21, 2014

21 August 2014
happy 3rd birthday, 596acres.org!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Tickets are on sale for Mapping Matters, our second ever gala benefit is happening on Thursday, October 2nd at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo. This party will include a pig roast, tattoos, a raffle, presentations by City Council Members, a dance party, and more! You don't want to miss it! Get the details and buy your tickets here.

If you didn't get a chance to make it over to Governor's Island this past month, there's still time! We're showcasing our tool, Urban Reviewer, and premiering an interactive physical map within Spontaneous Interventions' residency, which will now continue dailythrough Sunday, August 31st from 10 am to 6 pm in Building 403, Colonel's Row (adjacent to the Parade Ground). Come say hi - our intern Faith is there to talk with you about policy and geography on Fridays and Saturdays! Click here for more details and a link to the ferry schedule.

Our next General meeting is Thursday, September 4th at 6:30 pm at 216 Forbell (at Glenmore Avenue, Brooklyn), a few blocks from the Grant Ave A Train. Right now we're working with 10 organizing groups who are gearing up to present in front of their community boards to earn letters of support. Want to meet other groups and see how they've been navigating the system? Just getting started and want to hear how others have done it? Join us! We're being hosted by BACDYS (Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services) at their future garden space! Contactmary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Speaking of community boards...
Check out our latest blog post that recaps the we project we did this summer working with seven community boards in districts with the most amount of vacant, public land.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bushwick, Brooklyn - For a couple of years neighbors heard that the lot at 544 Bushwickwould be transferred to the Parks Department to create a open space and yesterday, it was confirmed! Neighbors are planning to write a letter to the community board this week giving their input on what they'd like to see in their new park. If you live nearby head over to a meeting TONIGHT, Thursday, August 21st between 5:30 and 6:30 pm in front of the lot at the corner where Bushwick Avenue meets Beaver Street. Contact Maria, who runs the non-profit next door, at 718-844-6061 with questions.

Harlem, Manhattan - Live in the Harlem area and wanting to start a project? The Deputy Director of Planning for Housing Preservation and Development in Manhattan has let us know that the lot at 136 West 137th has no plans for development and might be a great spot for a open space project. Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get started!

Tremont, Bronx - Edwin and his uncle are tired of calling the Department of Sanitation to clean up the vacant lot next to their house at 1900 Marmion Ave. Now, he's going to start asking neighbors if they'd like to join him in starting a garden! Want to help? Call914-403-6909 or email Edwin11moya@gmail.com.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Last week we helped connect neighbors Yvonne and Shawana, who are now getting together more neighbors to start a park project on their block. They've got their eyes on 342 Van Siclen and 329 Van Siclen, but will move their organizing to any lot the City is willing to lend them! Contact Shawana to get involved: 347-707-5924.

Lots with Access!
Bushwick, Brooklyn - We got this awesome letter from the organizers who recently got access to the lots at 1278 Myrtle Ave (at the corner of Central Avenue, pictured below!): "It was a wonderful first turn out last Saturday...Everyone was full of openness and possibility and ready to move forward so much so that we moved from our seated meeting to walking the land, observing what is already present there- volunteering future actions, gathering resources, planning meetings for envisioning....Thank you for your energy, enthusiasm and know how in pushing this forward at strategic moments… it looks like the neighborhood will take it from here!"

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - El Puente hosted a meeting on July 23rd for several of the gardens in their district to get together and share their successes and struggles of the past year. This included La Casita VerdeGrand Street GardenKeap Fourth Community Garden, and Espiritu Tierra. 596 Acres was there to do a training on measure your garden's successes with the Five Borough Farm Toolkit. (That's one ofPatchen Community Square's huge zucchini pictured at the top of the newsletter on a scale Five Borough Farm provided!) We'll be meeting again on Tuesday, September 2nd to continue the discussion! Email Anusha for a location:avenkataraman@elpuente.us.

Long Island City, Queens - Head over to Smiling Hogshead Ranch's ribbon cutting happening Saturday, September 6th from 3 to 5 pm at 25-30 Skillman Avenue (at Pearson Place). Congratulate this team of gardeners and farmers who spent two years organizing and now have an agreement with the property owner, the MTA/LIRR! The group will also be announcing their registration with the NYC Parks Department GreenThumb program and that they're joining the New York City Community Garden Coalition. Please join us and the ranchers for an inauguration ribbon cutting ceremony! Get more details and read about the elected officials that will be present here.

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, August 21st at 6:30 pm at Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community Garden (Saint Nicholas Avenue between West 117th and 118th Streets) in Harlem. Hear from gardeners from around the city about what's going on in their gardens, update the membership on our ongoing cases, and make new friends!

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!

Bulb registration for New Yorkers For Parks' 2014 Daffodil Project is now open! Bulbs are free for civic organizations, individuals, corporate volunteer groups, schools, and community leaders who commit to planting them in a park or public space such as a schoolyard, street tree pit, NYCHA development, or community garden. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, September 3rd, at 5:00 pm. To sign up, click here.

yours,
596 Acres 

Community Boards!

21 August 2014

 

When an organizing group is applying to GreenThumb (a program of the Parks Department that licenses gardens on most city-owned land) earning a letter of support from the local Community Board (CB) is a key requirement and often, a daunting task. This summer, thanks to a grant from the New York Community Trust, in addition to our usual work of lot labeling and helping neighbors organize, we visited the seven community boards with the most amount of vacant, public land in the five boroughs: Bronx CB1 (7 acres in the South Bronx), Bronx CB3 (6 acres in the South-Central Bronx), Brooklyn CB3 (5 acres in Bedford-Stuyvesant), Brooklyn CB5 (85 acres in East New York and Cypress Hills), Brooklyn CB8 (⅗ of an acre in Crown Heights and Weeksville), Brooklyn CB16 (19 acres in Brownsville and Ocean Hill), and Queens CB14 (128 acres in Rockaway).


We approached each board with three broad goals: (1) to educate them about how accessing the city’s land works and the role of Community Board support in the GreenThumb application process, (2) to expose them to the reality of the amount of vacant, city-owned land in their district, and (3) to introduce them to neighborhood groups that might come seeking a letter from them in the near future. We visited each board at least two times, first distributing our New York City Advocate’s Guide to Land Access and later sharing district-specific maps that highlighted all the vacant, city-owned lots, the agencies which have jurisdiction over them, and the contact information for the neighbors that are spearheading projects on those lots.


Initially, the most interesting thing was the varying routes we took just to speak to these boards - the same routes that organizing groups need to navigate. Since community boards are volunteer bodies, each runs according to its own procedures. Whereas CB1 in the South Bronx asks presentors to fill out a short application to be put on the agenda of their Land Use and Housing Committee to make a ten-minute presentation, Brooklyn CB5 in East New York invites residents to just show up and introduce their projects in a 3-minute speaking slot which occurs at the start of every meeting. Some boards are a shot in the dark: Brooklyn CB16 in Brownsville doesn’t have a distinct pathway, but you can make an announcement at the very end of a two hour meeting and see what next move is suggested for you to make. The Queens CB14 Land Use Committee started the process of creating a pathway after our presentation; they were not aware that Community Board support was an integral part of the GreenThumb application.


Some of Community Boards have resistance to new projects for varying reasons and the result is confusing or unattainable requirements for support. On the other hand, we also encountered boards that were surprised to hear they would be asked for anything, not knowing their support was an essential step for these neighborhood groups or a requirement for applying to GreenThumb. One of the most interesting meetings we encountered was with Queens CB14 in the Rockaways, who has yet to experience a group seeking a letter of support despite their excessive amount of vacant, City-owned land. Our presentation prompted a discussion immediately following the meeting to lay out guidelines for what they want to see from neighbors asking for their support.


We were surprised that nearly all the Community Board members we interacted with were unaware of the details and specifics of how accessing public land works and had a range of misconceptions about the roles of city agencies and programs. Brooklyn CB8’s close-knit Parks and Recreation Committee in Weeksville was extremely interested in 596 Acres’ work; they repeatedly thanked us and even invited us to table at an upcoming neighborhood street fair. The Housing Committee of Bronx CB3 in the South-Central Bronx invited our return to give future presentations at any time.


Residents were present at these meetings, too, so along the way we collected new organizers and friends, folks adding themselves to our site and starting to work on projects after learning about the possibilities available to them. A few community board members even became organizers themselves, having just learned that opening up the fences around our shared public lands in their districts and on their own blocks is a real option! Our hope is that moving forward neighborhood groups organizing to start gardens, parks, or open space will have an easier time working with their community boards to create new and exciting community hubs.


Update from a new community-managed Parks space in Bushwick!

21 August 2014

We got this great letter from the organizers of the space at 1278 Myrtle Ave. at the corner of Central Ave. in Bushwick. It's been a long journey already and now they are ready to truly begin: 

It was a wonderful first turn out last Saturday at 1278 Myrtle in Bushwick. All eleven people who showed up were really committed to fulfilling what is possible there and expressed diverse knowledge, creativity and connection to the Community Compost Site & Wildlife Garden BK ROT proposed with Sure We Can, our partners in composting.

Everyone was full of openness and possibility and ready to move forward so much so that we moved from our seated meeting to walking the land, observing what is already present there- volunteering future actions, gathering resources, planning meetings for envisioning. It seems we are all moving at the same speed- wanting to make this happen but aware of the time it takes to cultivate the land and a place in community. 

After the meeting a couple of us made a run to pick up more oak stumps since we were one short so we now have 17 ‘seats’ in the lot! We placed them in a large circle creating nice visual awaiting our return & inviting others. 
In our absence the lot is in good hands - SWOON’s wheatpaste lives in the space beautifully! We will return for an informal clean up this Saturday, August 23.

Thank you for your energy, enthusiasm and know how in pushing this forward at strategic moments… it looks like the neighborhood will take it from here!  
Growing Soil & Community Together,

Renée // Sandy 

BKROT 

Join Us for a Ribbon Cutting At Smiling Hogshead Ranch!

19 August 2014

Lease Signed with MTA: A New Era for Smiling Hogshead Ranch

Join The Ranch Organizers for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Smiling Hogshead Ranch is celebrating the execution of an agreement with the property owner, the MTA/LIRR. This is the official transition from an informal garden to a fully endorsed public space. Please join us and the ranchers for an inauguration ribbon cutting ceremony!


This event is free and open to the public. Donations appreciated for light food and drinks graciously provided by our garden members and the following sponsors; The Queens Kickshaw, Beyond Brewing Company, Singlecut Beersmiths, V-Spot Vegan Restaurant and The Regal Vegan.


Where: Smiling Hogshead Ranch, 25-30 Skillman Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101

When: Saturday, September 6, 2014 (Rain date September 13, 2014), 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 

Speakers

Jimmy Van Bramer - District 26 Councilperson & City Council Majority Leader
Penny Lee - NYC Dept. of City Planning (Invited)
   
Gil Lopez - Smiling Hogshead Ranch 
Paula Segal - 596 Acres 
Saleen Shah - Citizens Committee for New York City


Media Inquiries:

Gil Lopez - 347.509.4464 / 407.432.8156

Mia Vlah - 216.338.3300

Email: SmilingHogsheadRanch@gmail.com

For additional questions about the MTA’s role, contact the MTA Press Office - 212.878.7440

About Smiling Hogshead Ranch

Smiling Hogshead Ranch (http://SmilingHogsheadRanch.org/) is a volunteer led urban farm in Long Island City, Queens, NYC. The Ranch is committed to demonstrating and promoting systems that encourage food and environmental justice. At The Ranch, community members grow a variety of herbs and vegetables as well as fruiting and nut trees, shrubs and vines. They also demonstrate a form of bioremediation using mushroom mycelium and build the Ranch’s infrastructure with mostly found and refurbished materials. The Ranch's guerrilla garden beginnings are rooted in an alternative cooperation form of direct action, as such we support the reclaiming of the commons and full transition to a more equitable society, starting exactly where we are.


News From the Acres - August 14, 2014

14 August 2014
Intern applications due and a birthday party - Sunday!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

BIRTHDAYS! BIRTHDAYS! BIRTHDAYS! We're celebrating the third birthday of 596acres.org (launched on August 21, 2011) a few days early: Join us for a closing party for our Spontaneous Interventions residency on Governor's Island this Sunday, August 17, 3-6pm at 403 Colonel's Row. See the Urban Reviewer in analogue and digital form, learn more about the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area from a group of students who have been studying it intensively, and welcome theAeolian Riders to their 10th Birthday Party. There will be music, cupcakes, a pinata and free escorted and costumed kids rides on bikes donated by Blazing Saddles. RSVP on facebook or just come. The ferry's only $2 roundtrip and the party is by donation. 

Intern! Applications! Due!
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, September 2 - November 6, 2014.APPLICATIONS DUE SUNDAY at 11:59pm. Click here for more details and how to apply.

Sharing What We Know and Learning From The Best
This week, Paula is at the Unblight Unconference with the Sunlight Foundation, talking about the power of words to shape our cities, the role of data and tools that really work for people to shape where they live. Check out the projects we're chatting with.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Coney Island, Brooklyn - Join Anthony as he advocates for turning this Mermaid Avenue lot into a place for children and adults to grow. This project is ready for your organizing skills!

Jamaica, Queens - The community around this lot would really like a more reasonable basketball court. This one is a mess (it's in the photo below). Since this is land owned by HPD, in order for thiscrucial playspace to see an improvement, a local organization will need to become its steward and then get the resources to fix it up. We bet a grant from the NYC Citizens' Committee would do it. Do you know a local organization that wants to do this? Contact paula@596acres.org. 

Lots with Access!
A little history about La Casita Verde: the Williamsburg II Urban Renewal plan designated these 2 lots for future use as a park. The plan was adopted in 1984, giving the City expanded eminent domain power in this neighborhood, and remains active today. This is a strong argument for a long term multi-use space at this site! We're so glad to have put tools in the organizers hands to make this planners' dream start finally coming true!

BK Rot is hosting their first meeting at their new site at 1278 Myrtle between (between Dekalb Ave and Cedar Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) this Saturday Saturday August 16th at 3pm. Show up and help this new space get going and give your input! Email sandranurse@riseup.net for more information.

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

yours,
596 Acres 

596 Acres' Fall Benefit "Mapping Matters"

07 August 2014

Join us on October 2, 2014, at 7pm in DUMBO!

We invite you to enjoy...

* a pig roast by the fabulous Erika Nakamura, chef and butcherette, 

* pita, humus and salads from Sahadi's,

* potato salad, cole slaw and roasted veggies from Greene Grape Provisions,

* salad by Feedback Farms,

* an open bar, 

* music by Consumata Sonidera,

* presentations by NYC City Council members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso about the incredible transformations of vacant lots into community resources in their districts,

* Agnes Denes, legendary creator of Wheatfield - A Confrontation, &

* a dance party on the stage with DJ Stylus.

And partake of... 

* awesome raffle prizes from the New York Giants, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Abhaya Yoga, Brooklyn Larder, Gnarly Wines, Shake Shack, and others, 

* tattoos by Duke Riley,

* hair trims and dos by the awesome stylists of Coiffeur NYC

* palm readings by Darcey Leonard of the Tarot Society, &

* personal map creations with J McDonald.

All at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn (16 Main Street).  
 

Join us!
Sponsors

All contributions above the $50 per person ticket price are tax deductable to the extent allowable by law. 

Our Host Committee: Kristin Booth Glen, Rachel Dobkin, Suzanne Chilcote, DW Gibson, Kalin Callaghan, Jason Sinopoli, Dylan Latimer, Aziz Dehkan, Danielle Hlatky, Liz Barry, Moses Gates, Susan Kornacki, Carolyn Zezima, Caroline Woolard & Kris Anton.

Thanks to our event sponsors: 

Suzanne Chilcote

David Smiley and Lauren Kogod

__________________________________________

Event logo designed by Raven + Crow.

Media Sponsor:  

News From the Acres - August 7, 2014

07 August 2014

#25!


GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Congratulations to Smiling Hogshead Ranch, who signed a lease with the MTA this past week after two years of organizing, negotiating, and growing in the space at 25-30 Skillman Avenue (at Pearson Place) in Long Island City, Queens. Visit their blog to read about what they grow, how they got started, and upcoming events. Want to check out their space? The Two Row Camp is hosting an overnight camp at the Ranch this Saturday, August 9th, starting at 7 pm with a potluck! Contact smilinghogsheadranch@gmail.com to get the details.

Want to intern with us?
596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, September 2 - November 6, 2014. Tasks will include tabling at fun events, putting up signs on vacant lots, helping with follow-up and transcription from the April 22-23 Vacant Acres Symposium, and helping us with our second-ever gala fundraiser (Mapping Matters on October 2 at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO) and more! Click here for more details and how to apply.

We lot labeled in Weeksville, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens!
Yesterday we headed out to Weeksville, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens to label a bunch of lots!  The highlight of our adventures was visiting the five lots that sit on Rochester Ave and Suydam Place in Weeksville which were planned as open space way back in 1968! We chatted with neighbors who were excited to hear that they could make this park come true. They're going to start talking to their block association about reaching out to their elected officials to get this thing movin'!

Special thanks to Murray Cox for coming along and taking the beautiful photos at the top and bottom of this newsletter! See them all here!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Harlem, Manhattan - Leora is the director of a woman's empowerment program that also teams up with GEMS, a non-profit that helps girls who are the victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. After a visit to an urban farm in Harlem last year, girls in the program were eager to get gardening. Leora would like to turn the vacant lot on 2803 8th Ave near 149th Street into a garden that can be used by the community and maintained by the GEMS team. Want to help? Email or call Leora and let her know you'd like to go door-to-door with her!:917-337-0147 or leora@goddess-onthego.com.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Manny has lives in his neighbor for 35 years and says the block he lives on could really use a garden. The corner lot at 511 Liberty Ave might be just the spot! Contact mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connect to Manny.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - We spoke to Housing Preservation and Development and found out that while the lot at821 Willoughby is slated for development in 2017 the plans are vague and this might be a good place to pursue a temporary GreenThumb garden. If you're interested, contact Neha at chhedane@gmail.com  or 917-589-3404 to help organize a meeting!

Lots with Access!
Keap Fourth Community Garden is having a workday session TONIGHT, Thursday, August 7th from 6-8pm. Head over to the corner of Keap Street and Fourth Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn help clean up and sow some Fall greens!

Patchen Community Square (Patchen Avenue at Putnam Avenue, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) is having their monthly meeting this Saturday, August 9th at 11 am. Read the latest on their website about the happenings in the garden.

Harlem Valley Garden needs help! Head over to their workday and BBQ happening this Sunday, August 10th kicking off at 10 am at 97 West 134th St (at Malcom X Blvd, Harlem, Manhattan). Join the Facebook event here.

BK Rot is hosting their first meeting at their new site at 1278 Myrtle between (between Dekalb Ave and Cedar Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) on Saturday August 16th at 3pm. Show up and help this new space get going and give your input! Email sandranurse@riseup.net for more information.

Know a lot that needs a cleaning?
You can request a lot cleanings for any lot in the city through the Department of Sanitation. It doesn't matter if the lot is publicly or privately owned! Read more 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 at organizers@596acres.org and let us know!

yours,
596 Acres 

Intern With Us: Fall 2014!

06 August 2014

596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, September 2 - November 6, 2014. 

Your tasks will include tabling at fun events like the GreenThumb Harvest Festival (September 13) and Fresh Kills Park Sneak Peak (September 28), putting up signs on vacant lots, helping with follow-up and transcription from the April 22-23 Vacant Acres Symposium, and helping us with our second-ever gala fundraiser (Mapping Matters on October 2 at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO) and generally helping us improve the work that we do. Here's an unsolicited review from a former intern (now our NYC Organizer). 

This is an unpaid internship. You will be working out of our office at BuildItGreen!NYC 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 11:59p.m. on Sunday, August 17, 2014, to organizers@596acres.org with the subject 'Fall 2014 Intern Application.'