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News From the Acres - July 24, 2014

24 July 2014
two new gardens in the 596 acres network!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Congratulations, Bushwick!
Yesterday we had some exciting news: Nancy Kohn, Director of NYC Parks GreenThumb, confirmed that 1278 Myrtle Avenue (between Dekalb Avenue and Cedar Street) in Bushwick, Brooklyn was transferred into the jurisdiction of the Parks Department for use as a GreenThumb garden. HURRAY!

Congratulations to BK Rot (that's some of their team, pictured above) who, after two years of organizing, submitted a proposal to GreenThumb this past December and have patiently awaited a response. Before the end of the week the group will be signing an agreement and submitting a list of volunteers to get official access to this string of neglected city-owned properties. Since the land was transferred even before the agreement was signed, neighbors and organizers can comfortably plan for a garden that has a very, very long life.

Congratulations, Harlem!
In April, the organizers for Electric Ladybug Harlem Serenity Garden signed a lease with Housing Preservation and Development and have been working with GreenThumb to get set up. They also recently received a grant from Citizens Committee of New York. Double Congrats!

Yesterday we went lot labeling in Brownsville.
Some highlights:  this beautiful and shady corner lot at 511 Liberty Ave (that's Faith, our intern, labeling it in the photo at the bottom of the newsletter!), a long and skinny lot at 202 Wyona Street that's next door to a daycare center, and this lot at 347 Glenmore, which was once a garden prior to 2002. Know any neighbors?

We're on Governor's Island
Visit our intern Faith most Fridays and Saturdays from July 25th through August 17th at 596 Acres' residency within Spontaneous Interventions’ on Governor's Island. 596 Acres will be premiering the first interactive physical map adaptation all of the urban renewal plans that the City of New York has ever adopted and showcasing the Urban Reviewer, a recently launched online map that shares the past and present of urban renewal in our cities. The exhibition is free, open to the public daily from 10 am to 6 pm at Building 403 on Colonel's Row (adjacent to the Parade Ground) on Governor's Island. And save the date for a very special closing party on August 17th.


NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors organizing at 265-269 West 126th Street are super close to getting their license with GreenThumb to turn this Housing Preservation and Development-owned lot into Mandela Park! Next on the agenda: get rid of the concrete! Can you help? If you'd like to volunteer helping the gardeners with removing and hauling, or if you have a great tip for an organization that can help, contact Rene at 917-275-6577 or renecalvo@gmail.com.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - On Tuesday night a few of the folks interested in reactivating the campaign to start a garden at 375 South 5th Street, which was designated as Open Space in the Southside Urban Renewal Plan, met to hash out a work plan. Contact mary@596acres.orgor call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get looped in!

South Bronx - There's a lot at 672 St. Ann's Ave that sits next to a garden association and would be great space to extend. Do you know someone who's a member? You can also reach out to Ismael, a new organizer, about other ideas for a project: izzyq5@gmail.com or 718-781-0608.

Lots with Access!
Keap Fourth Community Garden (at the corner of South 4th Street and Keap Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is looking for musicians to play for their visiting daycare group on Mondays mornings from 10:30 am to 11 am. This gig pays around $20-30 each session, depending on a donation from parents of $1 per child. Contact tanythb@gmail.com if you're interested.

La Casita Verde (at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Division Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) needs help spreading their soil delivery! Starting Today, July 24th they're hosting workdays each Tuesday and Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm. Just show up!

NYC COLLABORATORS

Are you growing, local to NYC? Sell to these guys! Nextdoorganics has a strong commitment to sourcing from new, young, urban, and activist farmers and farming groups that are helping transition us into a sustainable hyper-local food system. They can arrange upfront payments with these types of farms to help them get off the ground each season. Two days ago NextDoorOrganics made their first purchase from a New York City growers, Feedback Farms. Awesome!

Next Wednesday, July 30th GreenThumb is hosting Beekeeping 101 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at St. John Cantius Parish (474 New Jersey Ave at Blake Ave, Brooklyn). Learn how hives are built and the basic things you need to know about keeping bees as well as the numerous benefits. Hear about the steps involved in getting trained as a beekeeper and starting a hive of your own. The workshop is free, but you must RSVP by calling 212-788-8070.

The team at We Radiate is looking for a few sites where community composters are interested in testing a new tool that will offer detailed analysis of leading compost indicators based on parameters set by the US Composting Council. If your compost crew wants to test out this tool, contact 462 Halsey Community Garden member  and We Radiate co-founder Shashti atsb2696@gmail.com to schedule a 30-45 minute demonstration and appointment.

Job Opportunity!
The New York City Compost Project hosted by Build It Green is looking for a part-time field assistant. Click here for more details and how to apply.

Need legal help?
Got a community land access issue in New York City that might warrant actually suing someone? We'd love to hear about it this month. Our legal program has a volunteer attorney through the end of July who can review your case. Send us a note about your situation: nyclegal@596acres.org.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!


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 - July 17, 2014

17 July 2014
meet our East New York Farms! extern, Faith

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

TONIGHT, Thursday, July 17th Paula will be presenting Urban Reviewer and discussing 596 Acres as an art and activism practice at Engaging Artists Workshop: ARTIST AS ACTIVIST, hosted by the Artist Volunteer Center from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street between West 3rd Street and West 4th Street, Manhattan). See you there!

Meet Faith!
Faith, our summer intern through an externship through East New York Farms!, has a passion for food justice and community building. She's worked with the Youth Food Council, Miracle Corners of the World, and Project Bridge. She is starting at Hunter College this Fall and has aspirations to one day become a doctor! Visit Faith most Fridays and Saturdays from July 24th through August 17th at 596 Acres' residencywithin Spontaneous Interventions’ on Governor's Island. 596 Acres will be premiering the first interactive physical map adaptation all of the urban renewal plans that the City of New York has ever adopted and showcasing the Urban Reviewer, a recently launched online map that shares the past and present of urban renewal in our cities. The exhibition is free, open to the public daily from 10 am to 6 pm at Building 403 on Colonel's Row (adjacent to the Parade Ground) on Governor's Island. And save the date for a very special closing party on August 17th.
 
Lot Labeling!
Come labeling lots with us next Wednesday, July 23rd from 3 pm to 6 pm in Brownsville, Brooklyn! We'll be meeting at the C Train's Liberty Avenue Station, at the corner of Pennsylvania and Liberty Avenues. Call Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Need legal help?
Got a community land access issue in New York City that might warrant actually suing someone? We'd love to hear about it this month. Our legal program has a volunteer attorney through the end of July who can review your case. Send us a note about your situation: nyclegal@596acres.org.

 
NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Brownsville, Brooklyn - Saul and his brother would love to start a garden, maybe at the long block-wide lot on 467 Vermont Street or the lot around the corner tucked into Wyona Street that used to be a garden in the past. Are you a neighbor? Want to help? Call or email Saul at 646-234-5911 or saulzorrilla.c@gmail.com.

Harlem, Manhattan - The lot at 136 West 137th is just waiting for neighbors to organize! We spoke with Ms. Walters, Director of Planning for Housing Preservation and Development for Manhattan, who let us know that there are no plans for development at this space. This is a great opportunity to start a new community space in Harlem!

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - Stephanie would like to start a garden with children's programs in this 20 by 20 foot lot on Degraw Street that's tucked behind a parking lot. Email Stephanie at stephaniemarden@gmail.com or call 347-661-5883 to get involved!

Lots with Access!
EL Garden is having their open monthly meeting this Saturday, July 19th starting at 3 pm at the garden (120 Jefferson Street at Evergreen Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn). If you can't make the next one but would like to be involved, email el.garden@gmail.com.

Patchen Community Square (Patchen Avenue at Putnam Ave in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) is having a shed-raising party this Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th and would love volunteers! Read more on their blog and contact 
at Kyle at kyle.twitchell@gmail.com with questions.

La Casita Verde in received over 150 cubic yards of soil from the Brooklyn Bridge Park and 50 cubic yards of compost from the Department of Sanitation! Want to help them spread it all out and meet other gardeners? They're hosting upcoming work days on Tuesdays and Thursdays this month from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm in front of the garden (451 Bedford Ave at Division Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn). If these times don't fit into your schedule, contact info@lacasitaverdenyc.org to schedule another time to go by and help out. (Stay tuned: soon the La Casita Verde will be accepting food waste from the neighborhood too!)

NYC COLLABORATORS
TONIGHT, July 17th from 5:30 to 7 pm GreenThumb is hosting a Creative Garden Design and Native Plant Giveaway at Carolina Community Garden (121 East 122nd Street near Park Avenue, Manhattan). Learn how to explore the basic elements and best practices of designing planting spaces. The workshop is free, but you must RSVP by calling 212-788-8070. 


TONIGHT, July 17th from 7 pm to 9 pm the Conference House Association and theConference House Park is hosting a free screening of "Growing Food on Staten Island" by Jay Weichun at the Conference House Museum (in Conference House Park at 298 Satterlee Street, on Staten Island). This documentary on food production on Staten Island features a diverse group of gardeners and will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmaker following the showing. No need to RSVP, just show up!

The New York City Community Garden Coalition is holding their July general meeting in two locations TONIGHT, Thursday, July 17th at 6:30pm. In Manhattan they'll be meeting at 6BC Botanical Garden, located on the south side of 6th Street between Ave B & C in the East Village. (If it rains, head next door to Sixth Street Community Center, located next door at 638 East 6th Street). In the Bronx, head over to Nos Quedamos, located at 754 Melrose Avenue between 156th & 157th Streets. If you get lost, contact Ana Melendez at 718- 585-2323or amelendez@nosquedamos.org or contact Ray Figueroa at 646-337-1087 or ray@friendsofbrookpark.org.

This Friday, July 18th join the Bringing Art to Life Series will be hosting an evening event at the Powell Street Garden (410 Livonia Avenue between Powell and Junius Streets) from 4 pm to 7 pm. Free music, dancing, and activities for all ages! Contact Sarita Daftary at 718-625-0080 extension 235 or sdaftary@brooklynartscouncil.org with any questions.

Keap Fourth Community GardenGrand Street Community Garden, and La Casita Verde are all new sites in the El Puente Green Light District that 596 Acres helped start in the last year. Check out this awesome video made by El Puente!

Last week 596 Acres attended a meeting of the newly-formed New York City Compost Council hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center and the Department of Sanitation's New York City Compost Project. Are you a community composter in search of your fellow soil-makers? Contact Louise Bruce (lbruce@dsny.nyc.gov) to get added to the growing list! If you'd like to read more about the Ecology Center's composting project and how's it has evolved over the years, read this great article in BioCycle Magazine. We're excited to be working with the New York City Compost Project to bring community composting initiatives (and compost itself!) to your neighborhoods. (That's one of their big piles, pictured below!)

Join Citizens Commitee for New York City for petitioning for allowing local restaurants and businesses to give a portion of their food scraps to local community composting initiatives. How to get started? You and the owners of your favorite restaurants can signthis petition to keep those millions of tons of food scraps in our communities to create rich soil for our plants!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!


Want to host a short film?
Interested in hosting a film short about food or farming in your garden space? Real Food Media Project is looking for spaces to host its Pop-Up Film Festivals. They provide the films, flyers and event toolkit to throw a great screening. Click here to fill out the online form, and you'll be sent the details to access all the free host materials.

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 


Save the Date: Aeolian Ride Birthday Party to Support 596 Acres on August 17th

16 July 2014


Sunday, August 17, 2014
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM

You are invited to an inflatable birthday bike ride!

A PORTION OF PROCEEDS GO TO 596 ACRES!
BUY TICKETS HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aeolian-ride-birthday-new-york-tickets-12108058529

Inflatable birthday what?
AEOLIAN RIDE's 10th Birthday! 10 years ago, 52 people showed up on bikes, I put inflatable costumes on them and we rode bicycles from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Since then Aeolian Riders have taken an amazing ride through 20 cities around the globe. See it happen here: http://www.aeolian-ride.info/video.html

What's an Aeolian?
You. On a bike. Inflated. :) "Aeolian" is a Greek word- to be caused or carried by the wind. The costumes inflate as you ride - but don't worry you won't get carried away - at least not by the wind.

Why is this happening?
Aeolian Ride has a magical effect of creating a loop of joy between the spectator and the performer. It also transforms the everyday street to a place for public art where the public is the art.

What does the Aeolian Ride want for its birthday?
No presents! - Ok, yes presents! The Aeolian Ride would like to give to those who give to the community. Ticket sales proceeds will be donated to 596acres.org - a wonderful non-profit helping communities get access to public spaces, including our party space, Spontaneous Interventions.

Can I inflate and ride?
Have a bike and a helmet? Great! Now you just need a ticket. Hurry, there are a limited number of suits! A portion of proceeds go to 596acres.org

My kids want to inflate too!
Are they over 5 with a helmet and wheels? Sweet! Sign the kids up!

Can I just party?
Promise to show us your favorite dance moves? Your ticket awaits.

Where can I watch?
Sign up for the newsletter to recieve the route info!

Who's crazy idea is this?
Aeolian Ride was created by artist, Jessica Findley, and has been supported by people who love to play. See her work at www.sonicribbon.com

_____________

SCHEDULE

1:00pm - Adult Ride Sign in & Suit up!
Meet near Grand Army Plaza on Prospect Park West

2:30pm - Aeolian Ride! (Big kids only :)
Inflatable bike to through Brooklyn, over Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan

3:30pm - Ferry!
Take Ferry from Manhattan to Governor's Island

4:00pm - 6:00 - Birthday Party!
Fundraising Cupcake Dance Party on Governor's Island at Spontaneous Interventions building 403, Colonel's Row

4:30 - 5:00pm - Aeolian Kid's Ride 1!
5:00pm - 5:30pm  - Aeolian Kid's Ride 2!
Guided Aeolian Kid's Ride loops around governor's island.

5:30pm - Piñata time!
Ending the party with an explosion of sweets!

6:00pm - Clean Up Time!
6:30pm - Return Ferry
7:00pm - Last Ferry

 

Press Images: http://www.aeolian-ride.info/presskit.html
Contact: connect@aeolian-ride.info

News From the Acres - July 10, 2014

10 July 2014
we've got an update from every borough!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

TONIGHT, Thursday, July 10th we'll be celebrating our recently launched tool, Urban Reviewer, at OpenPlans' OpenRoof party. Mingle and enjoy learning about over 150 adopted neighborhood master plans of New York City since 1952, many of which are still active today. The event kicks off at 6:30 pm at 148 Lafayette Avenue (in the Penthouse!) between Grand Street and Canal Street. Hope to see you there!

Can't make it tonight? Next Thursday, July 17th Paula will be presenting Urban Reviewer and discussing 596 Acres at Engaging Artists Workshop: ARTIST AS ACTIVIST, hosted by the Artist Volunteer Center from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street between West 3rd Street and West 4th Street, Manhattan).

Need legal help?
Got a community land access issue in New York City that might warrant actually suing someone? We'd love to hear about it this month. Our legal program has a volunteer attorney through the end of July who can review your case. Send us a note about your situation: nyclegal@596acres.org.

Volunteer opportunity!
Want to volunteer for us by doing a little internet research about tech firms in NYC? We need your help! Even for an hour. Send a note to paula@596acres.org.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

South of the Varrizano-Narrows Bridge, Staten Island - Harry is working on getting the support of his community board to start a community garden at this Department of Citywide Administrative Services lot on Sand Avenue. He's presenting at the Staten Island Community Board meeting on September 18th, so he has plenty of time to get the support of more neighbors and local organizations. Give Harry a call at 347-422-3658 if you'd like to help.

Harlem, Manhattan - After over two years of organizing, neighbors in support of a garden at 227 West 115th Street submitted their GreenThumb application at the end of May. Now they're waiting to hear back that hopefully the Department of Citywide Administrative Services is willing to transfer this piece of land, the Parks Department is willing to accept it, and that GreenThumb will help license this valuable new community space!

Coney Island, Brooklyn - Franco lives near two lots snuggled into the middle of 20th Street near Mermaid Avenue. He's like to start a garden! Call Franco at 347-942-6339 to help plan the first meeting.

Rockaway, Queens - This coming Monday, July 14th 596 Acres is presenting at the Queens Community Board 14 Land Use and Housing Committee meeting. Join us and other organizing groups (357 Beach 43rd and 422 Beach 43rd) as we share what we've learned about land access and get to know the committee's process for earning a letter of support. It's at 7 pm at the Knights of Columbus (333 Beach 90th at Rockaway Freeway).

Lots with Access!
EL Garden is having a workday this Saturday, July 12th starting at 12 pm. They'll be building garden beds, spreading mulch, watering, having fun, and building community! Join the Facebook event here. Like to become an active garden member? Open monthly meetings are every 3rd Saturday of the month at 3 pm. (That's their awesome sign at the top of the newsletter!) If you can't make the next one but would like to be involved, email el.garden@gmail.com.

462 Halsey Community Garden is holding a sign-up for GrowNYC's Fresh Foodbox Program this Saturday, July 12th from 11am to 2:30 pm. For only $10 a week you can pick up fresh, locally grown produce at the garden! Cash, Credit/Debit & EBT accepted!Also at the garden on Sunday, July 13th is a free vegan body-building workshop that will teach you to strengthen your body and emphasize the importance of plant-based nutrition, hosted by a community activist, personal trainer and boxing instructor. Please RSVP by 'joining' the Facebook event.

NYC COLLABORATORS

TONIGHT, July 10th from 5:30 to 7 pm GreenThumb is hosting the workshop "Grow Your Garden Group" at Sunflower Garden (East 137th Street at Cypress Avenue, Bronx). Learn how to create procedures and agreements to create a strong garden and tips for successful events that will draw in new members. You must RSVP!: 212-788-8070.

Join Citizens Commitee for New York City for one of two free workshops they're hosting in Brooklyn this Saturday, July 12th: in East New York from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm you can learn how to build a hoophouse in your community garden, or you can head to Bed-Stuy from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm to learn how to build your own tree guard for your neighborhood street trees! To get more information and RSVP for either event, contact Arif Ullah at aullah@citizensnyc.org or 212-822-9580.

The community-led South Bronx Farmers' Market is open! Every Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm through November you can head over to 138th Street and Alexander Avenue to buy local produce. The market accepts SNAP, WIC, EBT and FMNP checks and will soon be participating n NYC's Health Bucks Program. Awesome!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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 

News From the Acres - July 3, 2014

03 July 2014
happy 4th of july!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

TONIGHT! Thursday, July 3rd 596 Acres & Rockaway Wildfire will host an Open Community Meeting: Opportunities for Community-Based Vacant Land Projects in Rockaway, a community conversation about how we can influence the immediate use and long-term development of vacant public land on the peninsula. Ever considered a bike park? Trips for Kids will be talking about the steps they took to create a bike park on private land in Williamsburg.  Join us at 7 pm for food (and we'll start the meeting at 7:30 pm) at Arverne Pilgrim Church (74-16 Beach Channel Drive, Arverne).

With the help of a Sunlight Foundation OpenGov Grant, this Fall we'll be creating Living Lots NYC, a faster mapping tool that includes key filters, parcel outlines, community board contact information, information about lots that were planned as “open space” under urban renewal, and more. Read Paula's guest blog piece in OpenGov Voices to see how all the pieces fit together.

Save the date!
We're planning an fundraiser for October 2nd at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo, Brooklyn. We'd love your thoughts about potential food and beverage sponsors and companies that might want to share some of the glory by sponsoring it. Send a message topaula@596acres.org with your awesome thoughts and connections and mark your calendars now!

In your neighborhood
Ever wondered what's buildable on the lots on your block? The Municipal Art Society of New York created Accidental Skyline, an awesome mapping tool that can show you how tall buildings can 
be built!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Coney Island, Brooklyn - After gathering the a few more garden members, Minico has submitted a GreenThumb proposal to turn the lot at 2427 Mermaid into a garden that will host nutrition and cooking workshops for youth. We can't wait to have a 596 Acres' General Meeting there once the gates are unlocked!

Edgemere, Queens - Last night neighbors had a meeting in front of the corner lot at 357 Beach 43rd to share the first draft of their proposal for a garden. Organizers Heather and John will be going door-to-door in the coming weeks to get signatures of support and get input about what neighbors want to see in the space. If you'd like to get involved, give John a call at 212-470-3405 or shoot him an email at jcusirramos41@yahoo.com.

Edgemere, Queens - After visiting the meeting at 357 Beach 43rd, we labeled a large, grassy lot at 350 Beach 47th and chatted with neighbors. (That's us pictured at the top and bottom of the newsletter!) Keith who lives across the street would love to grow vegetables and get the nearby daycare involved. He's going to start talking to his neighbors and sharing the proposal of the Beach 43rd group as inspiration!

South Bronx - Neighbor Tanya says, "I am willing to work along side with with you in rejuvenating this lot into something the community can benefit from." Live in the area and want to help this crew of watchers get together to turn the lots at 840 Tinton Avenue into something better? Become an organizer!

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - We spoke to Housing Preservation and Development who let us know that the plans for developing the two nestled in Maujer Street is several years off and unfunded. This is a great opportunity to create a temporary community space! Become an organizer to gather the watchers together and make something happen!

Lots with Access!
After two decades of organizing, GreenSpace on 4th became a reality for neighbors this past November. Check out their website and this recent article from Park Slope Stoop about the group's journey to turn a Department of Environmental Protection-owned site into a community-run native plant garden.

NYC COLLABORATORS

Eminent domain - it's not for making roads and vacant lots any more! Mortgage debt is property, too. Our bravest politicians are going to force banks to sell it using eminent domain and then refinance for people whose debt is more than the homes are worth. Read this article by the New York Observer to learn more.

GreenThumb and the New York Restoration Project are hosting a workshop this Tuesday, July 8th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Essex Street Community Garden (3030 Fulton Street at Essex Street, Manhattan) on how to properly produce and use finished compost, including how to build a sifter! Materials are limited, you must RSVP to Rebecca at rfitle@nyrp.org or with questions call (212) 333-2552.

Join the NYC Community Composting Council to learn about composting infrastructure in New York City on Tuesday, July 8th from 6 pm to 8 pm. A tour of the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s composting site in East River Park will be followed by a discussion with representatives from the Lower East Side Ecology Center, the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), and WeCare Organics, the contractor that manages DSNY’s municipal composting sites. Meet at the East River Park Environmental Learning Center, located onEast River Park Promenade at Grand Street, Manhattan. To RSVP, click here.

Project Harmony is holding a series of green workshops in uptown community gardens. ThisWednesday, July 9th the JD Wilson Memorial Garden (located at 219 West 122nd Street at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, Harlem) is hosting "Sustainable Seedlings" from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Just show up!

Build It Green! Compost and the New York City Compost Project is hosting another Beautify Our Bike Lane event this Wednesday, July 9th from 10 am to 12 pm. Help prepare local tree beds along the Vernon Boulevard bike lane in Long Island City by weeding, cultivating the soil, and amending tree beds with locally made compost and mulch to help them thrive!  Please wear sun protection, closed toed shoes and bring a water bottle with you. Water, snacks, gloves, and gardening tools will be provided. RSVP is required, so email compost@bignyc.orgto sign up. Meet at south side of 36th Ave at Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens.

Our friends at CaribBeing are hosting an upcoming free family movie series! The first showing is of Akeelah and the Bee on Wednesday, July 9th at Amersfort Park (East 38th Street at Avenue J, Brooklyn). Stay after for by a spelling contest, prizes, and snacks for kids and families! Click here to view the flyer for this and upcoming showings.


 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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 - June 26, 2014

26 June 2014
save the date for october 2nd!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Save the dates!
Next Thursday, July 3rd 596 Acres & Rockaway Wildfire will host an Open Community Meeting: Opportunities for Community-Based Vacant Land Projects in Rockaway, a community conversation about how we can influence the immediate use and long-term development of vacant public land on the peninsula. Join us at 7 pm for food (and we'll start the meeting at 7:30 pm) at Arverne Pilgrim Church (74-16 Beach Channel Drive, Arverne).

We're planning an event for October 2nd in Downtown Brooklyn. We'd love your thoughts about potential food and beverage sponsors and companies that might want to share some of the glory by sponsoring it. Send a message to paula@596acres.org with your awesome thoughts and connections and mark your calendars now!

In the News
On Monday we were on WFUV with 462 Halsey Community Garden! If you missed us on 90.7FM, you can listen online here.

Special thanks to Technical.lyCityLabPlanetizen and TechPresident for publishing some great press about our recently launched UrbanReviewer. We're looking forward to how New Yorkers use this information, especially in the 62 areas with active urban renewal plans!

Community Land Access Network
Curious what's happening with community land access in other cities? Check out this article about 3000 Acres, our friends down in Melbourne, Australia.

In an article published by the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, our colleague Amy Laura Cahn at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia examines the history, present and future of a neighborhood demolished through "renewal" in Philadelphia: Eastwick, the largest urban renewal site in the USA, ever. Read it here.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Edgemere, Queens - Neighbors are holding a meeting next Wednesday, July 2nd at 5:30 pm in front of the corner lot at 357 Beach 43rd to talk about the possibility of turning it into a new growing space. If you live in the area, join us! Give John a call at 212-470-3405 or shoot him an email at  jcusirramos41@gmail.com if you have questions.

Harlem, Manhattan - Manhattan Community Board 10's Parks Committee has given their support for the creation of a garden at 109 West 126th Street. Next the Executive Committee will discuss and hopefully give a letter of support... Fingers crossed!

Harlem, Manhattan - The future Mandela Park on West 126th Street received unanimous support from the Executive Committee of Manhattan Community Board 10! They now have everything they need to submit their application to GreenThumb! This new space should have its gates open in no time!

Bushwick, Brooklyn - A neighbor let us know that former plans for construction at 821 Willoughby are hazy and Housing Preservation and Development (who owns the lot) would be willing to consider a GreenThumb license. There's a new organizer ready to move forward! If you live in the area, give Vanessa a call at 347-813-9438 or email her at urena.vanessa@gmail.com.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - This huge lot on Sommers Street was planned as open space in the Saratoga Square plan. Any neighbors looking to turn this lot into something special? Give us a call or email at 718-316-6092 ext 3 or organizers@596acres.org.

Lots with Access!
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - A few weeks ago 100 Quincy Community Garden had a visit from a class at Co-op School on Irving Place (that's them at the bottom of the newsletter!) who helped raise some chickens for the garden. They visited the mama hens that laid the eggs the classed helped hatch, and they'll be back again soon to visit the chicks once they're back in the coop.

NYC COLLABORATORS

East New York Farms! (in collaboration with Cypress Hills Local Development CorporationNYRP, and GreenThumb) is giving a free public tour of 5 community gardens this Saturday, June 28th from 10 am to 12 pm! Come hear about diverse neighbors sowing the seeds of community in almost two dozen lively gardens. Honey, fruit, chickens, vegetables, and more await! Meet inside the UCC Youth Farm (600 Schenck Avenue between Livonia and New Lots Avenue). Contact Daryl at 718-649-7979 or daryl@eastnewyorkfarms.org.

Learn how to keep trees happy and healthy with the NYC Compost Project's BeautifyOur Bike Lane Street Tree Stewardship in Long Island City, hosted by Build It Green!NYC this Saturday, June 28th from 10 am to 12 pm. They'll be weeding, cultivating the soil, and amending tree beds with locally made compost and mulch to help them thrive, and will provide water, snacks, gloves, and gardening tools. All ages welcome with adult accompaniment. RSVP to compost@bignyc.org. Don't forget your sunscreen, water bottle, and closed-toe shoes! Meet outside of Socrates Sculpture Park at the opening at Broadway and Vernon Blvd in Long Island City.

Check out the first free screening of Living Rockaways: 3 Stories, a series of short documentaries that celebrate life in the Rockaways and examine challenges for the future, on Monday, June 30th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Far Rockaway Library (1637 Central Ave at Mott Ave). The films were directed and produced by Hunter College graduate students in collaboration with Rockaway Wildfire, a coalition of the 6 Rockaways NYCHA Developments with Community Voices Heard, and other Rockaway residents, businesses and community groups. Join the Facebook event and read more about each short story.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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 

News From the Acres - June 19, 2014

19 June 2014
introducing urban reviewer

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

We're super excited to introduce Urban Reviewer, New York City’s first detailed digital map of master plans from 1949 to the present that we created in collaboration with SmartSign andPartner & Partners. The tool details over 150 plans for top-down neighborhood redevelopment, which have affected more than 15,000 lots throughout the five boroughs since the start of the Urban Renewal era.

For almost two years, our dedicated volunteer team of researchers, urban planners, designers and other experts have been working with us to gather all the paper plans from NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and a few secondary sources produced by NYC Government offices. From neighborhoods demolished under eminent domain to open spaces that were never developed, the searchable map allows users to learn more about their neighborhoods in a changing city over the past 65 years.

Search your address, zip code, or filter by a New York City mayor office term. The map also connects all the of currently vacant publicly owned lots that were created through the adoption of a master plan with their corresponding page on the 596 Acres' site! Share your findings and the actions that result from using Urban Reviewer with urbanreviewernyc@gmail.com.

In Harlem this Saturday
GreenThumb's Annual Summer Festival is this Saturday, June 21st from 10 am to 4 pm at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater in Harlem, located on West 120th Street between Lenox and Madison. The event will also be filled with live music as well as workshops on canning, birdhouse building, and more! And we'll be there! If you haven't had a chance to pick up our new A New York City Advocate's Guide to Land Access, we'll have plenty to go around.

On the Radio
This past Tuesday, Paula was on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC, joined by Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and Steve Frillman,Executive Director of Green Guerillas. Missed it? Have a listen here.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

South Bronx -  On Monday night at the Bronx Community Board 3 meeting we met Patricia, who would love to see this lot at 959 Home Ave near her home turned into a combination garden and play space. Do you live nearby? Do you remember the garden that lived there before? Become a watcher or organizer to stay updated and leave a note!

Flatbush, Brooklyn - This Saturday, June 21st at 2 pm neighbors organizing around the future Q Gardens are holding a bake sale and tree pit beautification event on East 18th Street between Church Avenue and Caton Avenue. They'll be putting up tree guards, laying mulch, planting, and selling delicious treats to raise money for their current and future block projects! Anne at 503-866-7195 (se habla español) or email qgardensinfo@gmail.com.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - We met Pat a few weeks ago while labeling this lot on Hancock near Patchen Avenue. Already he's got a list of neighbors who are supportive of a garden, and is going to reach out to Brooklyn Community Board 3 to get on their agenda for a Fall meeting. In the meantime, he'd love to hear from more neighbors who can help him draw up a plan for the space! Give Pat a call at 718-598-4408.

Weeksville, Brooklyn - Teachers and parents from PS.335 / Grandville T. Woods have over 100 signatures of supportive parents and neighbors to turn the little corner lot at 1662 Bergeninto a school and community garden. Next stop: finishing their proposal and arranging a meeting with Brooklyn Community Board 8's Parks Committee!

South of the Varrizano-Narrow bridge, Staten Island - Harry is a Staten Island resident and long time GreenThumb gardener. Now's he's trying to create a new growing space on Sand Lane near Cedar Ave. On Tuesday night he spoke in front of Staten Island Community Board 2 and waiting to hear if they'll write a letter of support. Contact mary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connected with Harry!

Cityline, Queens - We're thrilled to see a profile of Misba from BACDYS, the group organizing around this MTA-owned property, in the fourth installment of Stories of Brooklyn Insights. This installment features the growing Bangladeshi community in East New York and "one local leader's efforts to help immigrant families navigate their new home while building bonds across cultures with their fellow Brooklynites". Read it here!

Lots with Access!
Bushwick, Brooklyn - Join EL Garden (120 Jefferson Street between Central Avenue and Evergreen Avenue) for their monthly meeting this Saturday, June 21st from 3 pm to 4:30pm. Learn how get involved and help shape the future of this community garden. (Pictured below is a few of their cutest young members!)

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Head over to Patchen Community Square (on Patchen Avenue at Putnam Avenue) on Sundays from 12 pm to 3 pm to drop off your compost with a designated compost member who can weigh it and add it to the pile! To find out what you should and shouldn't bring, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. (Also, take a look at their newly installed sod that they picked up for free last weekend after 596 Acres shared a resource!)

NYC COLLABORATORS

The New York City Community Garden Coalition is meeting TONIGHT Thursday, June 19thfor a general meeting to discuss updates and hear a recap of the fundraiser! It will be held at the Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Garden (located at 219 West 122nd Street in Harlem) at 6:30 pm.

The New York City Housing Authorit's (NYCHA) Garden and Greening Program is seeking to hire a project consultant to work with resident gardeners at Beach 41st Street Houses in Rockaway, Queens. This is a part-time position to last over the next five months - perfect for someone with a background in community organizing, gardening, horticulture, and natural resource management. For a detailed job description or to send any inquiries, email Lee Trotman at lee.trotman@NYCHA.nyc.gov.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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 

LAUNCH of UrbanReviewer.org

16 June 2014

OFFICIAL LAUNCH: urbanreviewer.org

URBAN REVIEWER: A New Tool Examining the Legacy of Urban Renewal in NYC

Reviewing Past Urban Plans > Discovering Present Impact > Supporting Future Actions

Brooklyn, New York – June 17, 2014 – Urban Reviewer is New York City’s first detailed, annotated digital map of master plans from the Urban Renewal era. The tool, created by 596 Acres, in collaboration with Smart Sign and Partner and Partners, details over 150 plans for top-down neighborhood redevelopment, which have affected more than 15,000 lots throughout the five boroughs since 1949. 

The tool + How to use it | For almost two years, a dedicated team of researchers, urban planners, designers and other experts have been working with 596 Acres to gather all the paper plans from NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and a few secondary sources produced by NYC Government offices. From neighborhoods demolished under eminent domain to open spaces that were never developed, the searchable map allows users to learn more about their neighborhoods in a changing city over the past 65 years. Users can filter results by mayoral terms or search the map by address, zip code, or master plan name. Urban Reviewer is part of a series of online tools developed by 596 Acres to help connect community activists with resources to learn about their neighborhood and drive action.

Using Urban Reviewer to Identify Vacant Lots | One example of how Urban Reviewer has already led to action is with the identification and transformation of vacant lots. As Paula Z. Segal, Executive & Legal Director at 596 Acres, explains: “making plans accessible helped us find places that were cleared with the intention of creating open public spaces. In our work through 596 Acres, we have already found two of these and helped neighbors transform them into something better.” The map connects all of the currently vacant publicly owned lots that were created through the adoption of a master plan with their corresponding page on 596acres.org and all the necessary information to organize for their transformation. But the platform could also raise public awareness, provoke insights and lead to actions on a variety of other issues. People are encouraged to share their findings and the actions that resulted from using Urban Reviewer to the following email address: urbanreviewernyc@gmail.com.

Historical context | Between 1949 and 1974, federal funding spurred the demolition of neighborhoods that were deemed "blighted" to make way for new development. Inspectors working for the Slum Clearance Commission during the early period of Urban Renewal and employees of The Department of Housing Preservation and Development during the later period determined the "blight" designation. These departments created plans for the blighted neighborhoods to get demolition approval. The demolition used an expanded version of eminent domain acquire land, relocate people and businesses, and demolish buildings. The lots received designations like “housing,” “industrial,” or “open space.” Urban Reviewer analyzed these paper-only plans from The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and transformed them into digital maps accessible to the public. On the maps, users will be able to see every lot that was designated for "renewal" and what form that renewal was supposed to take. For more historical perspectives see Urban Reviewer essays What Was, And What Is, Urban Renewal in New York City? by Mariana Mogilevich and Who Makes A Neighborhood? by DW Gibson, http://www.urbanreviewer.org/#page=essays.html.

Increasing Government Transparency | The laborious process behind this project speaks to the difficulty of accessing city documents. For instance, 596 Acres could not afford to purchase copies at 25 cents per page from HPD; the statutory rate under the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). 596 Acres had to take advantage of a portion of the law that requires government agencies to make their documents available for inspection to arrange for a team of dedicated volunteers to visit the HPD Records Access office regularly for about a year to extract the information you see on the NYC Urban Reviewer. The volunteers were not even allow to photograph nor make copies of the plans. There is a bill in the NYC Council called the OpenFOIL bill that would make a big difference in everyone’s ability to see and share government documents: it requires city agencies to post all requested documents to a public web portal after even a single request. If this law was in effect today, HPD would be obliged to post all the +150 plans used to create Urban Reviewer.  

Future Development | 596 Acres is presently looking for funding to make the information available onsite, augment the online tool with oral histories, and develop it with other cities. 

Urban Reviewer: Reviewing Past Urban Plans > Discovering Present Impact > Supporting Future Actions: urbanreviewer.org

Media Requests

Paula Z. Segal, Esq.

Executive Director and Legal Director, 596 Acres

718-316-6092 x 2 - paula@596acres.org

About 596 Acres

596 Acres is New York City’s community land access program. We help neighbors organize around and gain access to the city’s warehoused and empty public land. Our work enriches the quality of life for all New Yorkers by facilitating community-based civic action and helping to transform unused vacant land into new open spaces. We are currently adapting our model in Philadelphia (groundedinphilly.org), in Los Angeles (laopenacres.org), in New Orleans (livinglotsnola.og) and are in discussion to extend this land access movement to 15 other cities worldwide that have expressed an affirmative interest in 596 Acres’ approach. We are a small and young organization that has been working on a shoestring budget since 2011 and are now looking for financial partners to help us revolutionize land access processes worldwide. Spread the word!

596acres.org

 -ENDS-

News From the Acres - June 13, 2014

13 June 2014
This land IS our land. 

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

This spring, we're visiting the community boards in the seven districts with the most vacant public land to share our New York City Advocate's Guide to Community Land Access and printed maps with information we've gathered about where the land is in their districts and who is organizing. The New York Community Trust has supported our staff and volunteer cartographer Joseph LeGrand made the maps. The board members have been incredibly grateful and receptive; we're looking forward to more neighbor-led change in the neighborhoods that need it most this summer!
 
On Monday, Paula testified before New York City Council about how data, information and inaccessible government records impact all our work liberating the commons. See or read her testimony here and support the OpenFOIL law that will require city agencies to be much more transparent in how they process requests from all of us to look at their records!

On Wednesday, 596 Acres helped the Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation get community approval to request a study for Edgemere and Arverne. These two neighborhoods have the highest concentration of vacant public land in the city. The study will document existing conditions in the area and serve as the basis for local organizations and their supporters to request funding from New York State for community-based planning for all this vacant land. We hope that the Brownfield's Opportunity Program will be added back into the State budget- we need it to reopen so that a consensus-driven and collaborative process can truly begin. In the meantime, we'll be keeping our eye on theEdgemere Urban Renewal Plan from 2008: a representative of Housing Preservation and Development announced at the meeting that it will be updated soon. 

Press
The City Atlas wrote a great profile of 596 Acres this week and Deserted NYC profiled two sites organized through our information, facilitation and network of New Yorker making a difference: a lot in Coney Island that will be a garden soon and the Vinegar Hill Community Garden

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Join organizers Santos, Nicole and Ariel in liberating this little piece of East 3rd Street. There are so many better things than just grass behind a fence! Let's dream about them. Contact information for the organizers is on the lot's page. 
 
Edgemere, Queens - We put signs on vacant city-owned lots in Edgemere last week and got some calls from neighbors almost immediately! One call was from a daycare provider who wants to help turn this Beach 43rd Street lot into a play space for people of sizes. Watch the lot or become an organizer here to join her.

Intervale, Bronx - Join organizers at this lot on Tinton and East 160th to rally the community for a healthy open space. Call or email Kesha: 6463515514 / electriccamp@gmail.com.

Columbia Waterfront District, Brooklyn - Neighbors are meeting today at 6pm to finalize a presentation to Community Board 6 about transforming this awesome corner lot into a community space. Join them! Contact michelle@michelleocampo.com.

Weeksville, Brooklyn - Our friends at Green City Force labelled 319 Saratoga (a lot owned by Housing Preservation and Development) last week. Check them out at work in the photos on the lot's page and if you're in the neighborhood, get involved!

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Join organizer and neighbor Alex in his application to become a steward of this neglected City-owned lot on Thatford & Riverdale that is being transferred to the Parks Department. Alex came to our General Meeting last week and described how he's been watching this empty lot his whole life. This is an opportunity to create a space that will be a resource for a very long time to come! Call or email Alex: 3479225285 / alexfigueroa1@live.com.

South Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Has anything happened on this lot on Maujer Street? The deed is still with the city and the Department of Finance is still billing HPD. It's been nearly two years since our last inquiry; at that time housing seemed to be coming soon... Any neighbors want to walk by or give the agency a call?  

Lots with Access!
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - A garden on Albany & Herkimer that needs some design help! We met some of the gardeners at last week's forum with Brooklyn Community Board 3 and GreenThumb and they asked us to reach our awesome network. Want to help them come up with a plan for raised beds and community space? Contact dredless@yahoo.com and tell her 596 Acres sent you!

South Williamsburg, Brooklyn - La Casita Verde in South Williamsburg at the corner of Bedford and Division Ave, is looking for volunteers to help shovel and build out the space! Today June 13 through next week they are building a concrete pad and accepting truck loads of soil from the city and could use all the helping hands they can get! Stop by even for an hour and/or forward to people you think might be interested: no experience necessary, work gloves provided. Work will take place everyday from 9am-5pm. Feel free to call or email Brooke before you head over: 917 939 5865 / bsingnyc@gmail.com. 451 Bedford Ave.

NYC COLLABORATORS

Congratulations to our friends at the New York City Community Garden Coalition for an inspiring fundraising dinner on Tuesday night andsuccess in court on behalf of the Boardwalk Community Garden on Tuesday morning (that's the team in front of Kings County Supreme Court in the photo below). If you're a gardener or a garden member, you should join this citywide grassroots organization that exists to protect existing gardening opportunities. Nothing in the city lasts forever but the NYCCGC is an amazing force for making gardens last a very long time. 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

This Saturday, you can literally make your green greener - pick up free SOD (that's sheets of grass) at the end of the Northside Festival in North Williamsburg: at 5:30pm on Bedford Ave between North 4th and North 10th. 

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, asking forgiveness for the tardiness, 
596 Acres 

Report Back from the Vacant Acres Symposium: Advocates From All Over the World!

12 June 2014

On April 22nd and 23rd, 596 Acres and the Tishman Environment and Design Center at the New School co-hosted the first ever Vacant Acres Symposium, bringing together knowledgeable and passionate (and badass!) urban vacant land advocates from around the world. The program featured two days of presentations and discussion on land access, strategies for land tenure protection, racial and economic justice issues in access to vacant urban land, and the wide variety of urban contexts experienced by our participants from cities around the world.
 

Day 1 brought together urban gardeners, activists, community members and even an elected official to discuss the particular experience of New York City with regard to vacant land and land access, in front of a standing room only crowd. Memorable moments included included a gardeners’ history of community gardens in NYC, presented by Haja and Cindy Worley with a slideshow from their extensive archive of photographs and documents from the movement; Meera Bhat’s thoughtful words about the experience of farming on privately owned land in Brooklyn -- and the important role that urban gardens and farms have to play even when some of them may be impermanent; Ellen Horan’s first-hand account of LaGuardia Corner Gardens’ court battle with New York University; Joel Kupferman’s account of a new court battle that is just beginning between the city and the Boardwalk Community Garden in Coney Island; and Picture the Homeless’ Arvernetta Henry’s rousing call for more community owned property in NYC.
 

Having thoroughly worked up an appetite with the afternoon’s panels, a number of the participants enjoyed a convivial dinner together, continuing the day’s conversation and getting excited for the next day’s, over delicious food at the Sunview Luncheonette in Greenpoint.
 

We reconvened bright and early the next morning for Day 2 of the gathering, which widened the discussion nationwide -- and worldwide.  U.S. participants hailed from Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; East Palo Alto; New Orleans; New York City; Philadelphia, and international attendees came from Berlin (Germany); Manchester (UK); Melbourne (Australia); Montreal (Canada) and Sao Paolo (Brazil). The general trajectory of the day followed a line of inquiry that had been established on Day 1 in the New York context. The themes of the panels were: (1) “Identifying Opportunities and Facilitating Transformations” (2) “Protecting Community Access to Land” (3) “Developing Models for Predictable Land Tenure” and (4) “Establishing Long Term Land Management.”

The day’s highlights are too many to count, and many of them were individual moments of connection and insight that took place in the energetic workshop discussions that took place after each of the day’s panel sessions. One of the most striking things about the day was the diversity of approaches, contexts and organizations represented. The participants represented academia, the non-profit sector, grassroots activists, private companies and more. They came from cities struggling with gentrification and displacement and cities struggling with disinvestment and abandonment (some of these are the same cities). The feedback we have been receiving indicates that the most powerful thing about this event was simply gathering all of these participants in the same room together to share ideas, strategies, stories, struggles, and all the wealth of their experiences.

Some of the participants were kind enough to share their reflections on the conference:

“...it was very illuminating to hear about other successful experiences… I look forward to continuing the connection we started thanks to your symposium, to strengthen our work.”

- Sara Longo, Oakland CA

“Being a part of the Vacant Acres Symposium was an incredible opportunity for our organization to learn from the innovative work [of] new friends across the world… We are especially thankful that the Symposium provided a dedicated space to discuss cross-cutting issues that impact many organizations trying to do similar work.  We met many organizations that we feel we can continue to learn from in the coming months and years. These organizations include Neighborspace Chicago, the New York Community Garden Coalition, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Baltimore Community Law Center, African American United Fund and our cohort 596 Acres, New Orleans Food and Farm Network and the Garden Justice Legal Initiative.”
- Mark Glassock, Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

 “For me, the Vacant Acres Symposium was a whirlwind full of amazing people and inspirational stories about how to increase access to land and stabilize land tenure for urban agriculture programs… Thanks again for the opportunity!”

- Nicole Wires, Collective Roots, East Palo Alto, CA

“The Vacant Acres Symposium was an amazing opportunity to connect with individuals and organizations working on making our cities into strong, healthy and vibrant living places to live… The experiences shared...provided us with many creative solutions to the challenges we face.”
- Israel Cruz, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, CA

“The symposium showed how access to land is a crucial question when it comes to chang[ing] the way cities work and people can contribute to this change from the bottom up. It was very valuable in strengthening contacts we already established, and also creating new ones that will probably lead to new collaborations in the future. In general, it makes a huge difference to not just theoretically know that this kind of engagement and discussion goes on in a lot of places at the same time, but to personally meet and exchange knowledge and experience, especially between practitioners. So I am very grateful that you made it possible for me to come to New York and share this great experience.”

- Marco Clausen, co-founder Prinzesinnengarten, Berlin, Germany

“Vacant Acres helped ground me in the realities of making land work to build community, and how laws need to be adjusted to make that happen more easily. As a Detroiter, whose city has massive quantities of vacant land I was delighted to learn about ideas that have worked in other communities… It was very valuable to share ideas with the folks of New Orleans, whose situation seems similar to Detroit in that we both have lots of vacant land. I made numerous contacts that I can share with the people who are using our vacant land to revitalize the city.”
- Jacqueline Hand, professor of law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

“The most important thing about the Vacant Acres Symposium was the bringing together of practitioners who were implementing real on-the-ground projects. It was much more than papers presented at a conference. NOFFN and New Orleans will benefit from our attendance in a very direct way -- being exposed to the diverse methods of engagement with communities, policymakers and governments will greatly inform our approach. Some highlights include learning about the vacant land disposition programs in Philadelphia and Baltimore; learning about movable garden bed technique used in Melbourne, Australia; Pop up public space deployed in Los Angeles; the similarities between Detroit and New Orleans...and more.”

- Sanjay Kharod, New Orleans Food and Farm Network, New Orleans LA

“I connected with people from around the world in both urban and rural settings that had very resourceful and creative ways of imagining more equitable and democrating ways of creating land access and tenure. I am hoping to stay connected with everyone…”
- Shane Bernardo, EarthWorks Urban Farm, Detroit, MI, USA

“The symposium was truly a transformative experience...This work that we are all engaged in can be extraordinarily difficult. I am one of a handful of such advocates in the South. And in a smaller pool of advocates working in a post-disaster region faced with enormous development pressure. I have felt very isolated and alone in my efforts. I have often felt the challenges too great. After the conference I now know I have peers in far-flung corners of the world... to turn to for advice, guidance, wisdom and support.”
- Bridget Kelly, Land Trust for Louisiana, New Orleans, LA, USA

Many of the participants expressed anticipation for the next gathering of this group, and we share that hope. We are actively seeking volunteers to host and help plan the next one!

 

This report back was written by Vacant Acres volunteer and 596 Acres Advisory Committee member Rachel Dobkin, who worked on getting travel grants for our participants (Hurray Rachel!). You can see more photos from the event here, taken by Marco Clausen. In the coming weeks, 596 Acres and the Tishman Center will be posting the slides and audio from the two days of presentations. Stay tuned.

596 Acres Testimony In Support of NYC OpenFOIL Law

09 June 2014

There's a great bill making its way through NYC City Council that would require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to create a streamlined and centralized system through which people can request to see government documents: an OpenFOIL bill. Our favorite part of this bill is that it would require agencies to post all their responses in a centralized place where people can actually see the documents that other people have requested without having to request them again. An OpenFOIL portal would really build a more open governement.

This would be a great way to get all the City's Urban Renewal Plans to be posted publicly - we've been thinking a lot about this while working on the Urban Reviewer - which you can see in preview here, full site coming soon. 

On June 9, Paula testified in front of the NYC Council Committees on Technology and Governmental Operations, with a story from the vacant lot trenches:

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I am the director of 596 Acres, New York City's community land access advocates. Thank you for allowing me a few moments to speak today about how government data, information and the Freedom of Information Law currently impact our work. 

Before I do that, I'd like to add a note about the FOIL campaign that led to the release of MapPLUTO from it's 10-year-old paywall which put a $3,000 per year price tag on having accurate financial and ownership information by parcel for properties in the city. In partnership with the CUNY Center for Mapping, and BetaNYC and our friends in the media, we mobilized dozens of successful FOIL requests for this data set, each one promptly provided by the Department of City Planning for the cost of duplication - five DVDs, each in its own jewel case, each with a price tag of $1. Through FOIL, advocates were able to get for $5 what community groups had paid thousands of dollars for in the decade prior. It was a welcome relief to see that the Department of City Planning chose to make the information available through a download link without the need for a formal FOIL request and eliminate the paywall entirely after several months of this campaign. It is my hope that the MapPLUTO fees paid by advocates and community-based organizations over the last ten years will someday be refunded. Our campaign serves as a great model for the implementation of the OpenFOIL bill; I would urge that one request should be enough to make it mandatory that an agency post a requested document online. A campaign should be redundant and unnecessary. 

To support our core work and create the most accurate available map of vacant publicly owned lots that present opportunities for community land access, we have used two of the data sets currently in the open data portal. This new data set is pretty good but not perfect and we regularly rely on FOIL requests to fill in gaps we revealed in agency plan information and procedure. I'm here today in support of a centralized FOIL portal will make it easier for us to do our work. It will also make irregularities in FOIL responses that regularly mark our correspondence much less likely.

As then-Public Advocate de Blasio's report noted, agencies tend to expedite or delay requests based on the identity of the requester. In our experience, this prejudicial treatment goes even deeper. I am going to bring one example to the attention of the committee - an example that is somewhat sweet and illustrates that, even where agency records access officers have the best intentions, the current process does not reliably produce documents as they are requested. 

There is a swath of properties in the Melrose section of the Bronx that are slated to become a park under the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan. I spoke with the Bronx Borough Parks office manager, who assured me that, even though the properties remain in the jurisdiction of Housing Preservation and Development, this is a project that Parks is working on and promised that documentation would be emailed to me as soon as it is available in their office. When no follow-up information appeared within a month of this conversation, I made a FOIL request for these documents through the Parks Department Records Access Office, referring to the Melrose Commons Park, the "Urban Renewal Site" number that the Parks Department is using and the block and lots numbers of all properties included in the footprint of this planned park. The request was acknowledged and I received a response within twenty days, as the acknowledgement promised. 

What the response revealed was that staff at Parks know who I am and what 596 Acres does, but did not disclose any documents related to the site I requested documents about. Instead, we received several copies of GreenThumb community garden licenses for gardens in the neighborhood of Melrose Commons - with different names and clearly different block and lot numbers. Our core work is making such spaces possible but this was clearly not what I requested. 

This sweet error exposes the quixotic nature of current agency responses to FOIL requests. We are looking forward to a more transparent and streamlined process that will make such errors less likely. 

News From the Acres - June 5, 2014

05 June 2014
tonight: general meeting!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Join us TONIGHT, Thursday, June 5 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm for our 596 Acres' General Meeting! We'll be at Powell Street Garden in Brownsville, located at 410 Livonia between Powell and Junius. (You can take the 3 Train to Junius or the L Train to Livonia Ave). Come meet folks from other blocks in the neighborhood who are working on land access campaigns! We'll be sharing stories and guidance! Contact mary@596acres.orgor 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

In the middle of 2012 we hung a sign on the lot at South 4th and Keap Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and started talking with neighbors. Today, it's the bustling Keap Fourth Community Garden for residents and the daycare center next door to enjoy. Yesterday we celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony (pictured above!) hosted by GreenThumb, joined by the Nancy Kohn, Director of GreenThumb and by Parks Deputy Commissioner Larry Scott Blackmon.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Yesterday we hung a sign on the lot at Hancock Street between Malcolm X Blvd and Patchen Ave and met Pat, a neighbor who came over to say hi. This morning he spoke to Housing Preservation and Development (who owns the lot) who let him know that there aren't any plans for construction! He's going to start collecting signatures from everyone on the block and inviting them to join him in creating a vision for the space. Email mary@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connected with Pat.

Harlem, Manhattan - Thehbia Walter of Housing Preservation and Development in Manhattan let us know that there are no pending plans for development at 137 West 136th Street and that a conversation with GreenThumb should begin. Awesome! If you live nearby, reach out to Seth, a local chef and gardener to start planning: johnson.t.seth@gmail.com.

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors organizing a garden to be created at 109 West 126th Street are heading to the Manhattan Community Board 10 Parks and Recreation Meeting next Wednesday, June 11th at 6:30 pm 215 West 125th Street in the 3rd floor conference room. If you'd like to attend to show your support, contact Tamika at 845-380-4050 or tamika.l.mapp@gmail.com.

Harlem, Manhattan - The group organizing for the future Mandela Park at 265 West 126th Street will also be attending the Manhattan Community Board 10 Parks and Recreation Meeting next Wednesday, June 11th at 6:30 pm at 215 West 125th Street in the 3rd floor conference room. When you sign in and write that your purpose is to support Mandela Park! You can also send direct letters of support to the Parks and Recreation Chair Karen Ann Horry at mrshorry@yahoo.com and to the CB10 Board Chair Stanley Gleaton at stanley@perryassociatesrealty.com. Please also contact Rene at renecalvo@gmail.com with any letters of support in PDF form, or to sign up for the group's email newsletter.


Lots with Access!
100 Quincy Community Garden (Quincy at Franklin Ave, Brooklyn) is having a BBQ and informational event this Saturday, June 7th. From 10:30 am to 11 am there will be a demo on accessing the nearby fire hydrant, and from 11 am to 11:30 am there will be a composting workshop incorporating games for kids. Right after the grill will be fired up! Bring dishes and snacks to share. All are welcome! (This past week 100 Quincy also received the generous gift of compost from The Department of Sanitation and the New York City Compost Project with help from the 596 Acres network. Special thanks to Build It Green! Compost staff, pictured at the bottom of this newsletter, for delivering it!)

The South Brooklyn Children's Garden (at the corner of Sackett and Columbia, Brooklyn) is holding a worm festival this Saturday, June 7th from 11 am to 1 pm (with a rain date of Sunday, June 8th). Come celebrate worms and composting, and check out the garden. Live music will start around noon!


NYC COLLABORATORS

GreenThumb is holding its Summer Supply Giveaway this Saturday, June 7th from 10 am to 2 pm at their Long Island City Compound located at Queens Plaza South and 10th Street, Queens. Note: this giveaway is only for registered GreenThumb gardens. More details here.

The NYC Compost Project and Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Sproutfest is this Saturday, June 7th from 10 am to 6 pm at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1000 Washington Avenue). Throughout the day NYC Compost Project’s Master Composters will be turning compost piles and sifting finished compost at the Compost Demonstration Site.  Kids can dig for worms, insects and centipedes as they learn more about the compost critters that food scraps into ‘black gold’! This event also celebrates 100 years of children’s gardening at BBG at Sproutfest!

Have the trees linking your block been looking a little down? The Lower East Side Ecology Center is holding their Tree Care Workshop and Workday next Tuesday, June 10th from 3 pm to 6 pm at 3725 10th Avenue, Manhattan. Learn why trees are important to NYC and learn techniques to care for street trees. To register, emailinfo@lesecologycenter.org.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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

News From the Acres - May 29, 2014

29 May 2014
our next general meeting is thursday, june 5th!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Know a neighbor or a local organization that would benefit from learning how they can use vacant land near them? We'd love to share our New York City Advocate's Guide to Land Access with you! Email mary@596acres.org to arrange a pick up or drop off. Special thanks to MANY Designs, who helped us create this awesome publication and have shared a bit about it here.

Join us for our next general meeting on Thursday, June 5th in East New York. From 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm we'll be at the Powell Street Garden (410 Livonia Avenue between Powell Street and Junius Street. You can take the 3 Train to Junius or the L Train to Livonia Ave). Come meet folks from other blocks in the neighborhood who are working on land access campaigns! We'll be sharing stories and guidance! Contactmary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Five Borough Farm's Data Collection Toolkit is now online! Created by Farming Concrete and The Design Trust for Public Space, this toolkit is a great resource for measuring how your garden supports the health of your community and the environment. You can keep track of everything from your harvest goals to your compost collection to the moods that your garden helps create. Click here to directly download the file. Fill it out, use it, share it! Reach out to us at organizers@596acres.org if you'd like some guidance. Then head over to the Farming Concrete Barn, where you can upload and keep track of your data.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Midtown East, Manhattan - There's a long strip of land over an acre and a half on Marginal Street (near FDR Drive and East 41st Street) The site was once a part of a Con Edison plant that was demolished when the property sold in 2002. The developer's 2011 plan called for residential towers and 4.8 acres of open space, but so far this land isn't being utilized. Do you live in the area and want to see some green space? Reach out to us at organizers@596acres.org or contact Manhattan Community Board 6 at 212-319-3750 or office@cbsix.org to find out how they can help support your ideas!

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbor John has a group of neighbors ready to turn the lot next to his house at 174 East 108th Street into a garden! His next step? Getting the approval of his community board. Email John at triplemgarden@gmail.com to join the group and find out how you can help.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The Food Oasis Pilot Group & Building Communities One Plant At A Time have created an incredible proposal for the Community Supported Agriculture program they'd like to start at 772 Myrtle Avenue. Email them for details atBCOPAAT@gmail.com.

Lots with Access!
Evergreen Lots is participating in Bushwick Open Studios this Saturday, May 31st from 12 pm to 5 pm! Stop by 120 Jefferson Street between Evergreen Ave and Central Ave in Brooklyn to make some seed bombs, help paint signs and do some light gardening. The garden will also be co-hosting a composting workshop with BK Rot from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm on Sunday, June 1st. Join the Facebook event to learn more.

Keap Fourth Community Garden (Keap Street at South Fourth, Brooklyn) is holding a ribbon cutting event next Wednesday, June 4th at 12:30 pm. Deputy Commissioner Larry Scott Blackmon and Nancy Kohn, the Director of GreenThumb as well as other local elected officials will be present to show their support and speak a few words about this new site. Come share in the celebration!

100 Quincy Community Garden (Quincy at Franklin Ave, Brooklyn) is looking for volunteers to help create a TON of compost for their garden. They're teaming up with the Quincy Block Association block as a part of a three month program (spanning June 14th- August 15th) to reduce waste on their block. To get involved contact Khemenec at khemenec@gmail.com.


NYC COLLABORATORS

TONIGHT Thursday, May 29th East New York Farms! is hosting a bench-making workshop from 5 pm to 7:30 pm at Floral Vineyard Garden (2377-2379 Pitkin Ave and Cleveland Street, Brooklyn). It's free and you get to go home with your own bench! For more details and to RSVP, click here.

Interested in composting? This Saturday, May 31st from 12 pm to 1:30 pmGreenThumb is co-hosting a workshop with Earth Matter on Governor's Island. Get a tour of the composting system and learn advanced composting techniques. Call (212) 788-8070 to RSVP and click here for more details.

YANA (You Are Never Alone) is hosting its Second Annual Fundraiser and Community Fair this Saturday, May 31st from 1 pm to 6 pm at The Hockey Rink (Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway) for a day of networking and events. You can look forward to live music, family friendly activities and meeting people who work to improve the Rockaways! Check out the event details here.

The South Bronx Farmer's Market is holding their last meeting this Sunday, June 1stbefore their opening on Saturday, June 14th! They'll be meeting at 6 PM at CCFY (369 East 149th Street, 7th floor, Bronx). Members will be signing up for bi-weekly shifts to run the market, and updates will be shared! If you or someone you know someone who lives in the South Bronx and might like to help out, contactsouthbronxfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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! (That's Myrtle Village Green's shed below, build out of salvaged wood donated by Build It Green!)

yours,
596 Acres

News From the Acres - May 22, 2014

22 May 2014
we labeled lots in edgemere!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED
Yesterday we headed out to the Rockaways and labeled lots in Edgemere! We met atEdgemere Organic Farm, which was formerly a piece of vacant that that was planned as a park. Two years ago we hung signs on it, and now it's the first 596 Acres site in the Rockaways. Awesome! (Scroll down to the bottom of the newsletter to see a shot of their rows of veggies.) They also for provided us with a delicious, farm-grown pre-lot labeling snack!

Pictured above is John, a neighbor who came out to help us label lots, like this huge oneon the corner of Beach 43 and Beach Channel Drive and this one snuggled in the middle of Beach 43rd. John also volunteers at the Edgemere Organic Farm and is interested in starting a community garden near him! Scroll to our News from the Organizing Acressection to read about the lot in his life.

Save the date! We're holding our next general meeting on Thursday, June 5th in East New York. Join us from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Powell Street Garden (410 Livonia Avenue between Powell St and Junius. You can take the 3 Train to Junius or the L Train to Livonia Ave). Come meet folks from other blocks in the neighborhood who are working on land access campaigns! We'll be sharing stories and guidance! Contactmary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 with questions.

Have a connection to some cement? A new community-managed pocket park initiated by BACDYS in East New York is in need of 270 square feet of paving, which is needed to make the parklet wheelchair accessible. Spread the word and let us know! More info and photos are here.

We have MORE free seeds! We got another generous donation from the America the Beautiful Fund! Come on over to Build It Green! Gowanus (69 9th Street between 2nd Avenue and the canal) Monday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm or Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Just ask the staff and they can direct you to the treasure!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Harlem, Manhattan - Seth is a local chef and gardener who would like see the lot at 136 West 137th Street be used to grow fruits and veggies. He's already inquiring with GreenThumb to check with Housing Preservation and Development (the lots' owner) to see if using the space is a possibility. Shoot Seth an email to help start the planning:johnson.t.seth@gmail.com.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - Brooklyn Community Board 6 is supportive of neighbors turning the two corner lots at 307 Columbia Street at Woodhull Street into a community space. This spot has lots of interested neighbors, but a meeting needs to be held! If you're interested, call 718-316-6092 ext 3 or email mary@596acres.org to get things movin'!

East New York, Brooklyn - There's two neighboring lots on Pitkin Avenue that neighbor Clare would like to turn into a garden. Want to help? Email organizers@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3 to get connected.

Edgemere, Queens - John lives across the street from a vacant lot at Beach 45th and Norton Avenue and would love to be able to extend the growing he's already started in his front yard. After helping us label lots in his neighborhood yesterday, he's excited to start working on his space and helping others do the same! You can email him atJcusirramos@yahoo.com.

Lots with Access!
La Casita Verde need volunteers TODAY Thursday, May 22nd, to help shovel 100 cubic yards of soil! They have the shovels, so just bring your muscles! Drop by for a bit or stay longer! Head to 451 Bedford Ave at Division in Brooklyn during daytime hours. Call Brooke at 917-939-5965 with questions.

NYC COLLABORATORS

TODAY Thursday, May 22 the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Greenest Block in Brooklynwill be hosting a free Brooklyn Street Gardening Clinic at 6:30 pm in the Garden of Hope (on Hancock Street between Marcus Garvy Blvd and Throop Ave, Brooklyn). Learn how to care for tree beds, including what to plant in the sun/shade, tree maintenance, watering needs, and all around gorilla street gardening techniques!

This Saturday, May 24th GreenThumb is hosting a workshop on attracting bees, butterflies, and other native pollinators to your garden! The event will be hosted at Union Street Garden (970 Union Street at Franklin Ave, Brooklyn). For more details and to RSVP, click here.

YANA (You Are Never Alone) is hosting its Second Annual Fundraiser and Community Fair next Saturday, May 31st from 1 pm to 6 pm at The Hockey Rink (Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway) for a day of networking and events. You can look forward to live music, family friendly activities and meeting people who work to improve the Rockaways! Check out the event details here. If you'd like to participate as an organization, register here.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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

News From the Acres - May 15, 2014

15 May 2014
label lots with us in edgemere!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Come label lots with us in Edgemere, Rockaway, next Wednesday, May 21st! We'll be meeting at Edgemere Organic Farm (Beach 46th Street and Beach Channel Drive) and then hanging signs on vacant land and chattin' with neighbors! We're meeting at 3:45 pm in front of the farm. Questions: organizers@596acres.org.

We've got photos from last month's conference we hosted, Vacant Acres. Missed the event? Stay tuned for a transcription of the talks in the near future!

Daffodils AND seeds are still up for grabs! And we still have lots to share after a generous donation from the America the Beautiful Fund! Head over to Build It Green! Gowanus (69 9th Street between 2nd Avenue and the canal) Monday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm or Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Just ask the staff and they can direct you to the treasure!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The Food Oasis Pilot Group & Building Communities One Plant At A Time is two joint local organizations that has been creating community growing spaces in neighbor's backyards. Now they're interested in extending their Community Supported Agriculture program by creating a garden at the Housing Preservation and Development-owned lot at 772 Myrtle Avenue. Email them for details at BCOPAAT@gmail.com.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - The initial meeting to discuss a new garden at the Housing Preservation and Development-owned lot at 1662 Bergen Street will be this coming Friday, May 16th at 2:15 pm in front of the lot. Want to attend? Just show up!

Harlem, Manhattan - There's a new organizer taking the reigns at 109 West 126th Street: Tamika is a long-time Harlem resident who leads a Girl Scout Troop and is looking for a space where her troop and the neighbors can grow food! Shoot her an email attamika.l.mapp@gmail.com.

Lots with Access!
Evergreen Lots (120 Jefferson Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn) is holding their first open monthly meeting this Saturday, May 17th at 3 pm in the garden with a BBQ and potluck to follow!

462 Halsey Community Garden (at Lewis St, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) is holding a "Garden Circuit Workout" workday this Saturday, May 17th from 11 am to 4 pm. The goal is to get the garden and YOU in shape! They'll be sharing how different garden tasks exercise different muscles. All are welcome! (At the top of the newsletter is the garden pictured with their new communal beds! At the bottom of the newsletter is Jane, a gardener, speaking to a reporter from WFUV!)

NYC COLLABORATORS
New York City Community Garden Coalition is having a general meeting tonight which will take place at 6 pm in two locations: Nos Quedamos (754 Melrose Avenue between 156th and 157th Streets) in the Bronx or Children's Magical Garden (129 Stanton Street, between Esssex & Norfolk). In case of rain, you can head over to 79 Clinton Street (at Rivington) #17 in Manhattan. Contact 917-518-9987 with questions.

Want to be able to measure what matters to your community in your space this year? The Five Borough Farm Data Collection Toolkit Launch is this Saturday, May 17 from 2 pm to 5 pm at Hunter College (Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, 3rd Floor Cafeteria). Attend a workshop and receive training on how to use the toolkit, so you too can describe the good things happening in your gardens and farms with math and science. To RSVP for this event please email: RSVP@designtrust.org. Feel free to invited other gardeners and farmers that you think should also be attending!

Crown Heights Mediation Center is hosting its annual Kingston Avenue Festival this Saturday, May 17th from 1 pm to 5 pm along Kingston Avenue from Bergen to Pacific in Brooklyn. Come for lots of activities, performances, and community resources!

Build It Green!NYC has partnered with NYRP and MillionTreesNYC to give away 300 trees this month! They are hosting a giveaway on Saturday, May 17th from 11am to 1pm at their Queens reuse center and another giveaway on Sunday, May 18th from 11am to 1pm at their Brooklyn reuse center. Click here to register and get more details.

Interested in helping the South Bronx Farmers' get going? Attend their next meeting this Sunday, May 18th at Community Connections for Youth (369 East 149 Street between Melrose & Courtland, 7th floor). Committee chairs will be elected and updates about the progress of the market will be shared! Check out their awesome new website!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Reminder! 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. If you'd like to help us keep this list current and up to date, contact organizers@596acres.org. Thanks in advance and good luck on your applications!

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