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News From the Acres - October 16, 2014

16 October 2014
“we will fight for every square foot we have for community benefit”

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED
The Lower East Side's Siempre Verde Community Garden (turning two-years-old next month!) gathered over 1,000 petition signatures in an effort to discourage their City-owned site from being sold to a developer. Check out this article from The Lo-Down about a meeting of Manhattan Community Board 3 this past Tuesday night where the Housing and Land Use Committee voiced their support for the garden to remain a valuable piece of their neighborhood! Subscribe to Siempre Verde's newsletter to keep up to date on news and how you lend your support!

Visit us this weekend!
Come hang out in our new office at Spaceworks (504 President Street at 3rd Avenue, #2E, Brooklyn) and see some of our work on display at Gowanus Open Studios, happening this weekend Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th from noon to 6 pm each day. Check out the Facebook invite!

New grant!
Scroll down to the Green for Your Green section at the bottom of the newsletter for information on a new grant!

Is a park near you getting a makeover?
Mayor de Blasio has announced his Community Parks Initiative, a $130 million plan to rehabilitate, repair, rebuild, and in some cases begin thirty-five parks (totaling 65.5 acres of public green space) that need it most. Check out this article from the Gothamist to see if your neighborhood park is on the list. We're excited to see Melrose Commons Site 32included (which was planned as a park in 1994 under the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal plans) and hope it will soon become the long-awaited park this neighborhood wants and needs!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The first meeting of a reinvigorated campaign for 463 Tompkins took place last night at a church around the corner from the lot. Neighbors shared their visions for the space (filled with gardening and relaxed social space!) and divided up next steps in collecting an application to submit to GreenThumb! To stay in loop and get details for the next meeting in two weeks from now, contact Mark at thatartistmark@gmail.com or 917-617-4552.

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Eve would love to help create children's native plant garden and natural play space in the lot at Jefferson and Malcolm X Boulevard with the big shady tree. We spoke to Housing Preservation and Development who told us there are no plans for development in sight! Contact Eve at eve@evemosher.com or 646-492-1314.

Harlem, Manhattan - Neighbors are still working on getting a letter of support from Manhattan Community Board 10 to start a garden at 109 West 126th Street. Organizer Tamika is looking for new supporting signatures and has until November 12th to submit them to the board. If you'd like to get your name on the list or if you'd like to volunteer to help gather signatures, email Tamika at 126streetcommunitygardenapiary@gmail.com or call 845-380-4050.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Miss Brenda is a seasoned gardener, a community chef, and a master composter who is a leader at Powell Street Community Garden in Brownsville. She's got her eye on the lot on Thomas Boyland betwen Sutter and Pitkin Avenue. If you live in the area and want to team up for the next garden, give here a call 718-498-3174 at or email her at isabahlialoef@aol.com.

Arrochar, Staten Island - Harry and Elliott want to turn two Department of Citywide Administrative Services-owned lots on Sand Avenue and Piave Avenue into a growing space. They've visited Staten Island Community Board 2 last month, and are heading back next Tuesday, October 21st for a second meeting. Join them! Contact Harry at 347-422-3658.

Lots with access!
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Patchen Community Square (at the corner of Patchen Avenue and Putnam Avenue) is hosting their second workshop with Artfully Unforgotten (presented byMaterial for the Artsthis Saturday, October 18th from 11 am to 2 pm on "Photo Transfers" with artist Andreea Radulescu. Stop by, bring the family and learn how to transfer your old photos on to recycled objects!

Greenpoint, Brooklyn - 61 Franklin Community Garden (between Oak and Calyer, Greenpoint) is holding a tree care workshop and neighborhood daffodil planting event this Saturday October 18th from 10am to 1pm. Please RSVP to61franklingarden.rsvp@gmail.com. This is a family-friendly activity and will occur rain or shine! 

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn - The South Brooklyn Children's Garden (204 Columbia Street at the corner of Sackett and Columbia Streets) is holding their Harvest Pie Contest is next Saturday, October 25th from 10 am to 1 pm (with a rain date of Sunday, October 26th). New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and GreenThumb's director Nancy Kohn will be two of the judges! This event also acts as a farm-to-table workshop for children to understand the importance of where food comes from. All are welcome!

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Garden Coalition's monthly meeting is TONIGHT, Thursday, October 16th at 6:30 pm at the Neighborhood Preservation Center (232 East 11th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Manhattan). Join them for a recap on the climate march, updates on the status of NYC’s numerous threatened gardens, the NYCCGC legislative efforts, and more. See you there!

More Gardens! and HONK (an international activist brass band extravaganza) are leading the third annual East Village Calvacade for Community Gardens to highlight preservation and self-governance of community gardens worldwide this Saturday, October 18th from 2 pm to 6 pm. Wear your greenest clothes and bring a banner or sign! Click here for details and a schedule of where you can join the parade. Also, arrive early to kick off the day with banner making and face painting at 11 am at Children’s Magical Garden (129 Stanton at between Norfolk Street and Essex Street, Manhattan).

Join Dulce de Harlem Community Garden (620 West 148th Street at Broadway, Harlem)this Saturday, October 18th at 1 pm with a free workshop on making your own pickles! Refreshments will be served. RSVP by emailing enviharlem@gmail.com.

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

Citizens Committee for New York City's Love Your Block grant awards $1,000 to groups to clean up streets or a vacant lot, paint a mural, build tree guards, and more. The deadline to apply is November 7th.

New Grant!
The Riverside Church NY's Sharing Fund grants up to $5,000 to projects outside the church that are consistent with their mission of "education, reflection, and action for peace and justice". Rolling deadline!

yours,
596 Acres 

News From the Acres - October 9, 2014

09 October 2014
$25,000!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Thank you!
A HUGE thanks to those of you who attended our event, Mapping Matters, last Thursday night. Whether you bought a ticket or volunteered your time, you helped make the night a success. We raised $15,000 and then got a grant from The Fund for the City of New York for an additional $10,000 based on the success of the evening! WOW!

Special thanks to all the that donated their time and money to make it happen:

GalapagosSucculentMapzenSmartsignCartoDBEtsyNextdoorganicsHannah EdmundsApplegateLagunitas Brewing Co.Yonkers BrewingEtsyPublic Ad CampaignCabot CreameryBrooklyn LarderCoiffeurShake ShakeSahadi'sFlying Pigs FarmMast Brothers ChocolateNew York GiantsForager's City GrocerGreene Grape ProvisionsTofurkyFeedback FarmsFour & Twenty BlackbirdsMcClure's PicklesNYC FoodscapeZ CrackersRaven & CrowThe Meat HookGnarly Vines,The Tarot SocietyOne Girl CookiesEast River TattooConsumata Sonidera, Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, Councilmember Steve Levin, and DJ Stylus.

Check out the Facebook album to see all the memories of the night.

Visit us next weekend!
We recently moved offices and are now housed at Spaceworks at 504 President Street (at 3rd Avenue), #2E in Brooklyn. We'll be participating in Gowanus Open Studios next weekend, Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th from noon to 6 pm each day, so you have the perfect opportunity to visit us and see some of our work on display. Check out the Facebook invite!

Headed to Detroit!
Paula will be participating in Detroit: #GetOnTheMap! Community Mapping, a presentation of goal-oriented community mapping and organizing tools from all over the country, next Tuesday, October 14th from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. Check out the Facebook event for more information, and spread the word to your Michigan-based friends and family!

In the media
Check out this Citylimits article on how the Mayor's plan to focus development on small vacant, City-owned lots might affect neighborhood organizing to create open space.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Harlem, Manhattan - The second meeting of neighbors organizing around 174 East 108th Street (between Lexington & 3rd Avenue) will be this Sunday, October 12th at 3 pm in front of the lot. Email John at triplemgarden@gmail.com with questions, or just show up!

Lower East Side, Manhattan - Haimar, who lives next door to 276 East 3rd Street, called us this week because he would love to the empty lot turned into a garden. There's several other interested neighbors, too. Time for a meeting! Call or email 718-316-6092 ext 3 or email mary@596acres.org to help make it happen!

East New York, Brooklyn - Luwana, director of Project East New York, has found her dream lot to start organizing around: 467 Vermont Street! Her organization would love to start a garden focused on horticulture and landscape training for youth. She's already spoken to GreenThumb who gave her the green light to apply! Contact Luwana atluwanas@projecteastnewyork.org or call 917-342-2072 if you or your organization would like to team up!

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Jeromy lives next to a lot on Chauncey Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Bainbridge Street that he'd like to see turned into a hang out spot for the neighborhood. Anyone else interested? Email organizers@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092!

Lots with access!
Patchen Community Square (at the corner of Patchen and Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn) is hosting their first workshop with Artfully Unforgotten (presented by Material for the Arts)this Sunday, October 12th from 11 am to 2 pm. Stop by, bring the family and make some artistic planters!

COLLABORATORS
The Fall workshop series at Dulce de Harlem Community Garden (620 West 148th Street at Broadway, Harlem) is kicking of this Saturday, October 11th at 1 pm with a workshop on indoor container gardening. They'll also be giving away plants for attendees to take home! Refreshments will be served. RSVP by emailingenviharlem@gmail.com.

New York City Community Garden Coalition's October general meeting is next Thursday, October 16 at 6:30pm at Neighborhood Preservation Center (232 East 11th Street, between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue, Manhattan). Get to know growers from around the boroughs sharing the happenings of their gardens!

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

Citizens Committee for New York City's Love Your Block grant awards $1,000 to groups to clean up streets or a vacant lot, paint a mural, build tree guards, and more. The deadline to apply is November 7th.

Additionally, Citizens Committee's Neighborhood Grants award up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school improvement projects throughout the city. The grant isn't due until January 2015, but click on the link above to learn about upcoming information sessions in your borough or online.

yours,
596 Acres 


News From the Acres - October 2, 2014

04 October 2014

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

Have you ever enjoyed the transformational quality of creating a new space together with your neighbors? 596 Acres has facilitated the transformation of 28 vacant lots into something better, ten in 2014 alone. Thanks you to everyone who is helping us continue to cultivate green spaces from vacant land by coming to our gala this evening. Limited tickets will be available at the door - if you don't have one yet, come early! 7pm at 16 Main Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. We'd love any additional contributions you can make too! 


NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES - Staten Island!



You'll notice something new at 596acres.org - we're all-city now, finally! Although we have been working with organizers on Staten Island on an as-needed basis since we launched our program, we're now focusing on letting folks know where organizing opportunities are. We mapped the vacant municipal land and connected with residents at last week's Freshkills Park Sneak Peak. Thanks to Pratt's new Spacial Analysis & Visualization Initiative, we had wonderful print maps to share. 

Community Board 2 has invited the organizers of this lot just south of the Verrazano Bridge to come back to present to the full board in October! It's a huge gorgeous lot that connects two parallel streets. Join them - call 718 316 6092 x3 or email organizers@596acres.org. 

There's a sunny lot on John Street that's a great organizing target - it's even eligible for support through the GreenThumb program. More information and join in here.

We met Brian at Freshkills Park last weekend. He is going to join Blake in organizing this Midland Beach lot. Do you live close by? More information and join in here.  

There are great opportunities to expand community waterfront access on Staten Island's north shore through the Department of Transportation (DOT) Blue Streets program. The end of Richmond Avenue is one place where a Blue Street would work really well and an organizer named Andrew is starting the effort. North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Inc. (www.nswcsi.org) has been working with DOT and has already gotten approval for the ends of Van Name and Van Pelt Streets to become Blue Streets. Contact them for more info and to get a jump on your organizing: nswcsibt@aol.com. There's another opportunity at the end of Bard Ave

Lots with access!
While a private developer has put forward a proposal to replace the Siempre Verde garden with luxury housing + three units of affordable housing, City Council Member Margaret Chin has voiced her support for the crucial green space to remain. Thanks, Councilmember Chin! Read more about what's happening with the Lower East Side's youngest garden in the Lo-Down

EL Garden (120 Jefferson Avenue at Evergreen Avenue, Brooklyn) is celebrating their one year anniversary with an NYRP Tree Giveaway, a BBQ and a potluck this Saturday, October 4th. The giveaway will be from 11 am to 1 pm and then the grill will be sizzlin' from 1 pm onwards! Bring a dish to share or something to grill. There will also be a seed saving workshop, live music, and more!

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 

Ten New Community Controlled Spaces Take the Places of Vacant Lots in 2014 Alone

29 September 2014

Through our staff’s facilitation and the efforts of neighbors across the City, since January 1, 2014, ten new official community spaces have been created:

1278 Myrtle Avenue (Bushwick, Brooklyn, licensed & transferred to the Parks Department);
Glenmore Grows
(East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation); 
Ashford Variety Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Ashford Teaching Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Chestnut Street Community Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Harlem Valley Garden (in East Harlem);
Electric Ladybug Harlem Serenity Garden
(in East Harlem);
Mandela Park (in East Harlem);
Green Space on 4th (Gowanus, Brooklyn); and
Smiling Hogshead Ranch (lease signed with MTA, Long Island City, Queens).

 

 

In addition, we have secured the MTA’s approval of our architect’s plans for a pocket park in East New York on the roof of the A train tunnel; the park will be run by the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Service. A lease is imminent. Dozens of other spaces have made progress on their campaigns with our guidance and will be official in the coming months.  In December, we helped save a neighborhood space in Queens and facilitate its transfer to the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust. The Merrick Marsden Neighbors Association (MMNA). MMNA had maintained the space since 1967; 596 Acres connected them with attorneys Mohen & Segal LLP to represent them for free in court so that they did not lose the land last year to a tax foreclosure and in the transfer to the Trust.

We have also analyzed and made vacant municipal land data available online for Staten Island, mapped the history of Urban Renewal Planning in NYC (1949-present, urbanreviewer.org, a Planetizen Top Ten Website of 2014) and published a new print New York City Advocate's Guide to Community Land AccessWe have been recognized as land access experts in the press, including in How You Can Turn New York City's Vacant Lots into Community Gardens (DNAinfo.com) and Housing Plan Targets Vacant Lots; Some Neighbors Leery (CityLimits). 

Help us keep making this immense impact in all of NYC's neighborhoods by coming to our party this week: Thursday, October 2 at 7pm at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn. More details here

News From the Acres - September 25, 2014

26 September 2014
27! & 28!

GREEN WARRIORS UNITED

28 lots newly in community hands! 
Cypress Hill Development Corporation, who gained access to four sites in the past year: Glenmore GrowsAshford Variety GardenAshford Teaching Garden, and Chestnut Street Community Garden! Additionally, the four gardens have accumulated nearly $9,000 in material donations with the help of Green For Your Green (always listed at the bottom of the newsletters). Awesome! Head to any of the lot's pages to contact Cypress Hills and get involved.

Mapping Matters is next week!
Join us next Thursday, October 2nd for Mapping Matters, 596 Acres' second ever gala benefit. It will be a night full of fun, food, drinks, awesome raffle prizes, music by Consumata Sonireda, presentations by City Council Members, a dance party, hairstyling, palm readings, and even tattoos!This is also an opportunity to support 596 Acres in all the work we do and make sure we're around next year! You can buy tickets here.

Visit us this weekend!
Tomorrow, Friday, September 25th from 6 pm to 9 pm 596 Acres' director Paula Z. Segal will be presenting at "Solving Urban Land Use Problems in the 21st Century," a NYC land use summit at NYU's Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square South, 10th Floor). The summit features keynote speaker Susan Fainsten, author of The Just City, followed by a series of presentations on innovative and inclusive land use solutions, and a panel discussion on affordability of housing. Click here for more information.

Staten Island's Freshkills Park is having a sneak peak this Sunday, September 28th from 11 am to 4 pm! 596 Acres will be sharing information about vacant City-owned land on Staten Island and how communities can get involved! This is the 3rd annual preview celebrating the 2,200-acre Fresh Kills Landfill transforming into Staten Island's newest park. There will be kayaking, rock climbing, hikes, educational booths, food trucks, and more! There's even a shuttle bus from the ferry to the park (250 Wild Avenue, Staten Island)! Click here for more information.

In the media
Check out this article from NYC Foodscape that highlights some of the projects we've recently helped and a bit more about the work 596 Acres does. Thanks, Foodscapes!

DNAinfo.com recognizes us as experts in How You Can Turn New York City's Vacant Lots into Community Gardens.

400,000
As a part of the Climate March last Sunday our director Paula  Z. Segal participated in a writing residency with Melted Away, a temporary monument in ice of the words THE FUTURE. Click here to read Paula's account of the melting and scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to see the sculpture in action!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - On the corner of Patchen Ave and Bainbridge street there's a shady, park-like corner lot that we labeled last month. Then we got an email from a a neighbor named Stephanie who's ready to start organizing! A check in phone call to Housing Preservation and Development affirmed that there's no plans for development in sight! Email or call mary@596acres.org or 718-316-6092 ext 3 to help Stephanie get started.

East New York, Brooklyn - Luwana is the founder and director of Project East New York and was referred to us by a friend at Brooklyn Community Board 3. (Neat!) Her organization would love to create a safe space for kids to do crafts, read, and hang out. She's got her eye on the lot at 885 New Jersey Avenue but is looking all over the neighborhood. Want to help her? Email or call Luwana at luwanas@projecteastnewyork.org or 646-597-3826.

East New York, Brooklyn - Neighbor Caroline is talking to her neighbors and the local school, PS 292, about turning the lot at 182 Wyona Street (at Vermont Avenue) into a garden. Live in the area? Email her at luvina6@aol.com.

Rockaway, Queens - Reverend Nancy would like to turn a piece of the land at Beach 169th and Rockaway Point Boulevard Road that sits behind the marina into a labyrinth park to act as a healing place on the peninsula. Interested? Contact Nancy at nancygahles@gmail.com or call 718-643-4577.

Lots with access!
EL Garden (120 Jefferson Avenue at Evergreen Avenue, Brooklyn) is celebrating their once year anniversary with an NYRP Tree Giveaway, a BBQ and a potluck next Saturday, October 4th. The giveaway will be from 11 am to 1 pm and then the grill will be sizzlin' from 1 pm onwards! Bring a dish to share or something to grill. There will also be a seed saving workshop, live music, and more!

Congratulations to Greenpoint, Brooklyn's 61 Franklin Street Garden! This garden is being transferred to the inventory of the Parks Department, taking it from "interim use" to "as-protected-as-it-gets." The risk and hard work of these neighbors has absolutely paid off!

COLLABORATORS
Roger That Community Garden (at the corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place, Brooklyn) is have a workday this Saturday, September 27th from 11:30 am to 5 pm. They'll be re-painting their "Save NYC, Save the Garden" mural (pictured at the top of the newsletter!), turning compost, putting summer veggies to rest, stewarding street trees, and getting dirty! Join the Facebook event here!

East New York Farms! and New York Restoration Project is hosting a workshop on cover crops this Saturday, September 27th from 10 am to noon at Essex Street Community Garden (3030 Fulton Street at Essex Street, Brooklyn). Learn about the most updated findings on cover crops, and RSVP to get free seeds by calling 718-649-7979. Keep an eye on their calendar for more events!

NYC Bark Club is seeking dog lovers to help with the renovation of Corlears Hook Dog Park (at the corner of Jackson Street and Cherry Street in Lower East Side, Manhattan) on Saturday, October 4th between 11 am and 4 pm. Any amount of time volunteered is greatly appreciated! Check out theFacebook event page for more details or email Kerri at kschlottman@gmail.com.

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 


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