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News from the acres

News from the Acres - January 22, 2016

25 January 2016

17 gardens that took the place of vacant lots via 596 Acres' facilitation became permanently protected community gardens this month!

As The New York Times took note last Saturday, “Community gardens are the most vulnerable spaces in the city,” which makes the transfer of seventeen (17!) interim spaces created and supported through 596 Acres' advocacy this winter all the more remarkable. Read more in the Brooklyn Paper.  

COLLABORATORS WANTED: NYCOMMONS
596 Acres, Common Cause/NY, and the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center invite neighborhood groups to collaborate with us this spring on workshops about power over public real estate assets. We will help your members and neighbors learn to protect and expand publicly owned and controlled land and buildings in our neighborhoods. And we will pay you a little bit of money. All groups encouraged to apply and to form coalitions to invite NYCommons to your 'hoods. No need to be formal or incorporated. Details here. Deadline is February 12, 2016. 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
South Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Amazing news! Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is finally willing to transfer the lot on the corner of Hooper and South 4th Streets to the NYC Parks Department, 24 years after the community planned it as "Open Space" and City Council adopted the plan. Contact Robert to hold to their promise and get involved in planning this long-awaited community park: hooperstreetpark@gmail.com.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - The Police Commissioner seems to think there are more police cars in the neighborhood than existing NYPD parking lots (click the link to read his letter). We have noticed that not only the lot next door to this City-owned lot that has been vacant for decades, but the nearby NYPD lots on Dekalb Avenue, often have many empty spaces. Time to organize "Police Parking Lot Watch" and document the actual use of the existing spaces. Who's up for setting up a monitoring system?

Ozone Park, Queens - Lianna, a teacher at a school near this handsome City-owned lot on 99th Street, is looking for collaborators to plan a community park with her. Get in touch if this is your neighborhood: lianna.a.brenner@gmail.com.

GARDENS AT RISK
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Letter writing party tomorrow to bring the eminent domain bills recently introduced to preserve the Roger That! garden to the attention of legislators in Albany! Watch a great short film about the garden here then come out: Tuesday, January 26, 7-10pm at Two Saints, 753 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn. Event details here

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Join gardeners of Imani I in protecting this fantastic willow tree and and over three decades of continuous gardening at this site. Come to Council Member Robert Cornegy's office on Saturday, January 30 at 10 AM at 1360 Fulton Street, Suite 500 between NY Ave and Brooklyn Ave in Restoration Plaza to show him this garden matters and brainstorm next steps to getting it back from the private speculators who just bought it at auction. 

Prospect Lefferts, Brooklyn - On January 6, the Maple Street Community Garden eminent domain bill in the State Senate (introduced by Jesse Hamilton last fall to put the garden on a path to preservation) was referred to the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee. This means a whole new group of Senators needs to be hearing from the Maple Street Community via this letter campaign. The members are here. A little indoor advocacy goes a long way! 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: GRANT DEADLINES APPROACHING
Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups are due at midnight tonight January 25, 2016.

Partnerships for Parks' Capacity Fund Grant program grants of up to $5,000 to groups working on NYC Parks Department property are due February 1, 2016.
Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.

SAVE THE DATES
Sao Paulo: Promoting Non-Speculative Property, a talk with Paula Segal at the Centro Cultural da Ocupação São João (an autonomous social center in an occupied and formerly abandoned hotel. Co-sponsored by Lanchonete.org. Saturday, February 13, 4pm, Av São João 588, São Paulo, BrazilEvent details are here.

Brooklyn, NYC: 596 Acres, the New York City Community Garden Coalition and Farming Concrete are leading the "What’s So Great About Your Garden?" workshop at Making Brooklyn Bloom on March 12, 2016, 10-11amEvent details are here

Manhattan. NYC: 596 Acres is facilitating a Campaign Action Session at the Just Food Conference on March 13, 2016 at Teacher's College at Columbia University in Manhattan: "Communities Protecting Growing Spaces in NYC." Event details are here.

Manhattan, NYC: A Talk through NYC's Commons at Fordham Law School, hosted by the Community Economic Development Clinic & the Fordham Urban Law Center. Tuesday, March 15, 4-6pm, 150 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023. Everyone is welcome; let Paula know if you want to join the presentation to talk about your community space and the process of commonification you have been through: paula@596acres.org. 

Bronx, NYC: 596 Acres will lead workshops on “Organizing ourselves: the basics of working in groups” at this year’s GreenThumb's GrowTogether gathering, 11:30 am to 12:45 pm and 2:15 pm to 3:30 pm on March 19, 2016, at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10451.

COLLABORATORS
Join our friends from Picture the Homeless on the steps of City Hall this Wednesday, January 27 at 11am for the roll-out of the Gaining Ground campaign. In their words: "We collaborated with nonprofit housing developers to create the Gaining Ground Pilot Project, which uses the community land trust model to save taxpayers money at the same time as it develops housing, incubates small businesses, creates jobs, and slows down displacement from gentrification."Event details here. 596 Acres is a Gaining Ground co-sponsor. 

The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative is establishing a Steering Committee and continuing to build a financing cooperative to strike back at the displacement of key cultural, retail, cooperative and manufacturing space in NYC. Read the latest here. The next All Member meeting and opportunity to join is this Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 6pm at New Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street in ManhattanEvent details here. Already a member and can't make it but want to vote? Download the REIC Steering Committee Proxy and write in your vote then send someone to the meeting with it. 

GREEN WARRIORS AT WORK (THE JOB LISTINGS SECTION)
Randall Island  Park Alliance is looking for a gardener. Paid position, details here.

Big Reuse (formerly Build It Green) has openings in the reuse stores and their compost program. Look here.

Got a story you need to tell? Here is a paid opportunity to write about your local land access campaign of another environmental justice issue in Uneven Earth. 


Did you miss us? 
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - January 9, 2016

09 January 2016

17 gardens that took the place of vacant lots via 596 Acres' facilitation became permanently protected community gardens over the holiday! 

The big news first: 36 gardens were transferred to the NYC Parks Department over the winter holiday for permanent preservation. 17 of them were vacant lots that neighbors transformed with through 596 Acres' facilitation. 15 had been offered for sale to housing developers for $1 last year and have now been decisively re-routed. You can read about the transfers and 596 Acres' role in Hyperallergic (January 8, 2016), CityLimits / Brooklyn Deep (January 4, 2016) and DNAinfo (December 31, 2015). Congratulations to all the organizers and advocates who worked tirelessly to make our key neighborhood spaces indispensable and thank you to our collaborators in the Administration who listened! Let's keep going! 

WORK WITH US
We are looking for a designer to co-create a new web tool called NYCommons. The project is a collaboration between Common Cause/NY, Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center and 596 Acres, Inc. Details are here; this is a paid project and responses are due January 20, 2016. 

We are also hiring a new Program Manager for our New York City Community Land Access Program. This is a paid full time position with benefits. Details are here. Applications accepted until the position is filled. 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Rockaway Park, Queens - Neighbors saw our signs on a lot on Beach 84th Street and started organizing for a new garden in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now they have teamed up with the compost masterminds of Edgemere Farm at Beach 45th Street Community Farm to get the support they need. Join them by reading the notes on the lot's page or contacting Travis: t.andersoncap@gmail.com, 646 662 0585.

Jamaica, Queens - Katia says, "This lot is adjacent to a school where I work. We would like to build a school/community garden." Join her: sign up for updates on the lot's page or contact her directly: katiadepass@hotmail.com, 570-269-1615.

East Side, Manhattan - Community Board 8 Parks and Recreation Committee is actively pursuing having this MTA land on East 63rd Street at 2nd Avenue set aside as a park. The MTA will vacate in 2018. Community Board 8 Parks and Recreation Committee meets to discuss on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 6:30pm at Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 East 92nd Street (Madison-Park), Carnegie Room. Contact Jill, jappelny@hotmail.com and sign up for updates on the lot's page.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Help make a new garden on private land! The family that owns this lot on Hegeman and Milford bought it to create a community garden. They are looking for collaborators. Contact organizers@596acres.org to be connected. 

Gowanus, Brooklyn - Back in 2013, 596 Acres connected members of the President Street Block Association with the process they would need to follow to create a new garden formally through GreenThumb and made a presentation explaining the same to their community board; we also connected them to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Block Association took it from there. We’re happy that the City-owned lot on their block is now a permanent open space asset in the inventory of the NYC Parks Department. You can read about the preservation of the President Street Garden in DNAinfo. #35!

Citywide - In the wake of recent transfers to NYC Parks, Housing Preservation and Development is reviewing stalled applications to have these still-vacant lots also transferred for permanent preservation as GreenThumb gardens: Eden Learning Garden in Brownsville, P.S.335 Granville T. Woods Community Garden and Celestial Church Buffalo Center in Weeksville, Edgemere Coalition Community Garden in Rockaway, and Hooper Street Park in South Williamsburg. These organizers have been waiting over a year to hear back from GreenThumb.
GARDENS AT RISK
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Assembly Member Diana Richardson and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced identical bills at our urging last week aimed at protecting the Roger That! garden as a park. Both the Assembly (A. 8583) and Senate (S. 6093) bills contain this language: "The legislature hereby finds that it is necessary for a public purpose to procure [115 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, Block 1233 Lot 1], through the use of the eminent domain procedure... for a state park and community garden to be managed by neighborhood volunteers through the New York City parks department green thumb program." This is a great time to let Council Member Robert Cornegy know that you support the preservation of Roger That! as a community space: call the office at 718-919-0740. Gardeners will be spiffying up the place today, Saturday January 9, 11-2pm. Come by! 

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Save the date to come support the Imani I Garden in Landlord Tenant court as they resist an illegal eviction by the speculators who bought one lot of their garden at a post-tax lien foreclosure auction. A giant willow tree and the largest chicken coop in Brooklyn are what is at stake. The original debt that led to the foreclosure was $3,200; the speculator bought the property for $365,000 last year and now has it listed for $690,000. The gardeners are committed to resisting displacement via this flip. 596 Acres and Mohen & Segal LLP are supporting them. Join us in court to show you stand with communities against displacement: Friday, January 22, 10am at 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, Room 603

Harlem, Manhattan - Organizers of Mandela Garden, who have been de-paving the space by hand and establishing a wildflower oasis are building support to have it transferred to the NYC Parks Department. The agency that has jurisdiction over the land has offered it to housing developers instead (responses are due February 23, 2016). Last year, fifteen of the active gardens recently transferred to NYC Parks had been offered just like this. Organizers got the City to change direction via letters, rallies, and awesome gardens. Get in touch with Rene Calvo to organize for garden preservation (renecalvo@gmail.com, (917) 275-6577).

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative is establishing a Steering Committee and continuing to build a financing cooperative to strike back at the displacement of key cultural, retail, cooperative and manufacturing space in NYC. Read the latest here. The next All Member meeting and opportunity to join is on January 28, 2016 at New Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street in Manhattan

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Partnerships for Parks' Capacity Fund Grant program provides small grants of up to $5,000 to strengthen the outreach, membership, and program-planning capacity of community groups who care for their neighborhood parks, gardens and green spaces in all five boroughs of New York City. Project work must be on NYC Parks Department property. Good news for all these transferred gardens! Next deadline: February 1, 2016.

Remember: resident-led groups can apply for up to $3,000 in Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City to work on community and school projects throughout the city. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.


Patchen Community Square, a garden that was bulldozed once under Giuliani and brought back from the abandoned vacant lot that travesty left the neighborhood by neighbors working with 596 Acres, is now a protected NYC Parks Department garden. It was previously identified as a housing development site in Jan 2015. Gardeners and advocates organized all year to get it off the list of gardens doomed to close - and won! The land has been decisively re-routed from private development to public good!

Sweet sweet 16,
Paula, for 596 Acres

Terra Firma: A Letter from the 596 Acres Team to Close Out 2015

31 December 2015

____

34 vacant lots transformed into community spaces through 596 Acres's facilitation.
4 in 2015! 

28 community spaces on ex-vacant lots are now protected 
through 596 Acres' advocacy.
17 protected in 2015!


11 existing community spaces saved from eviction & demolition through 596 Acres' organizing & legal support.
10 saved in 2015!

____

SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. 

DONATE HERE. 


Wow! We have blazed a trail of awesomeness through 2015.

2015 was a year of rising to meet new challenges. This year, for the first time, we devoted significant resources to campaigns on behalf of groups with existing community spaces that were under threat of closure, development, or eviction. Some of those were spaces that we had helped neighbors create over the last four years, and some have been key community spaces in their neighborhoods for much longer than that. 

This new (and growing) practice of protecting existing community spaces is a natural outgrowth of our work transforming vacant lots and has produced huge results for communities in 2015. Today’s big news is that the NYC Parks Department has responded to our advocacy by permanently preserving 34 previously-precarious community spaces into the parklands inventory. You can read about this breaking development here from us, and in DNAinfoCapital New York, and The Lo-Down.

Through facilitation, advocacy organizing and legal support, we helped 24 community spaces gain protection this year, either by helping them become part of a land trust, sign a lease with a public Authority, or secure the transfer of their land to the NYC Parks Department. 

The landscape ahead remains challenging, but it feels pretty great to leave 2015 with these victories toward a greener, stronger, more awesome and more connected NYC. This year we helped communities exert real power in their neighborhoods and achieve real victories. 

Here’s the thing, though: it has been a constant fight to fund this work. That’s the truth. We’re ok for now, but to keep fighting this hard, innovating, and winning battles with communities, we need to be financially secure for the future

If you haven’t given to 596 Acres yet and you want to see what we can achieve in 2016, 2017, and beyond, please donate! Every donation counts -- if there is anything we’ve learned it’s that our strength lies in combining what we each can bring to the table. Together we are SO powerful. Please help us keep doing this work!

In community, 
Paula, Rachel, Eric, Patrick, Kris, Moses, Liz and the entire 596 Acres Team

SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. 
DONATE HERE. 

News from the Acres - December 17, 2015

17 December 2015

winter wonder land

Tomorrow, Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm, come to the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY. We will have such sweet gifts for your sweeties!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn - The Maple Street Community Garden will be presenting its story to Brooklyn Community Board 9 on Tuesday December 22 at 7pm, 400 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn NY 11225. Come voice your support for the garden! Anyone can sign up to speak. Do! You can also support the Maple Street Community Garden by writing letters to the state senators and assembly members who are reviewing the bills directing New York State to protect the garden by making it a Park, introduced by Jesse Hamilton and Diana Richardson; you’ll find all the materials right here.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Assembly Member Diana Richardson and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced identical bills at our urging last week aimed at protecting the Roger That! garden as a park. Both the Assembly (A. 8583) and Senate (S. 6093) bills contain this language: "The legislature hereby finds that it is necessary for a public purpose to procure certain property within the city of New York. To that extent, the commissioner of parks, recreation and historic preservation is hereby directed to take, through the use of the eminent domain procedure as established under the eminent domain procedure law, the parcel in the borough of Brooklyn known as 115 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, Block 1233 Lot 1, for a state park and community garden to be managed by neighborhood volunteers through the New York City parks department green thumb program." This is a great time to let Council Member Robert Cornegy know that you support the preservation of Roger That! as a community space: call the office at 718-919-0740. 
 
Bushwick, Brooklyn - We heard from the agency that has jurisdiction over it that there are no plans for a lot on Dekalb down the block from Know Waste Lands. The spot would be great for outdoor movies and other community events. Time to start organizing! Sign up on the lot's pageor contact us at organizers@596acres.org / 718-316-6092 x 1. 

Bushwick, Brooklyn - At our urging, Council Member Espinal wrote a letter to the NYPD asking that this lot on Stockholm Street be considered for a potential new park and garden. It is a great letter. Time to get organized in support of this vision! Sign up on the lot's page or contact us at organizers@596acres.org / 718-316-6092 x 1.

Laurelton, Queens - Katia says, "This lot on Lovingham Place is adjacent to a school where I work. We would like to build a school/community garden." Sign up on the lot's page or connect with her to help make it happen: katiadepass@hotmail.com, 570-269-1615

LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden on West 126th Street and Adam Clayton Powell continuesde-paving by hand. The next strike is this Saturday, December 19 at 11am

COLLABORATORS
The Brooklyn Collage Urban Soil Institute will test your soil for all our health. They just concluded that community gardens in New York City are much safer, on average, than backyard gardens. You can read a summary of their study here. Specifically: "Public gardens tend to be more actively cultivated than backyard ones, and additions of new compost or topsoil can dilute contaminants." Go community! Get your soil tested by putting some in a ziplock bag and following the directions here.

Gowanus, Brooklyn - Our wonderful hosts Spaceworks have created more affordable workspace for artists in Gowanus. They are having an open house, tomorrow, Friday, December 18, 4-8pm, at 540 President Street, Brooklyn 11215, and are looking for both individuals and organizations to use the newly renovated spaces. More details here.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Time to get your Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City! Citizens Committee awards micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school projects throughout the city. More info and application on their website. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.


Eldert Street Gardeners in Bushwick using their newly found freedom to mulch and rake and fertilize last week.

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 


Enjoy the season! Til the last of the year,

Paula, for 596 Acres

Let's Keep Collaborating in 2016!

10 December 2015

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE

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“Community gardens, community parks, and turning empty lots into flourishing gardens is incredibly important to all New Yorkers.

Jason Price, dad, 123 Street Block Association Member, Harlem, Manhattan
 

The work of 596 Acres suggests that…. ordinary people are poised to reimagine and reconfigure the sacrifice zones left behind by the reigning calculus of land valuation … making maximum use of them as a collective resource, in a maximally inclusive way.” Adam Greenfield, Author, Scholar, London School of Economics
 

596 Acres is the catalyst that has saved [our] Garden.”

Andrea Drummond, Roger That! Gardener and Crown Heights Youth Collective Member, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Dear Friend of 596 Acres,
 

Together, we are are winning. We are expanding the conversation about vacant land in cities around the world and getting ordinary New Yorkers involved in the land use decisions that affect their communities. Over the last four years, through our organizing tools, advocacy, and leadership, we have engaged hundreds of people and helped neighbors create thirty-four new community spaces where there were once only neglected vacant lots, including four in 2015.
 

In 2015 alone, we provided organizing and litigation support that helped three community garden groups win in court and avoid eviction. We facilitated bringing the 1100 Bergen Street Garden in Crown Heights into the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, protecting a 35-year old community institution in perpetuity. We curated Reviewing Renewal, a historic exhibition at the Queens Museum that transformed the Panorama of the City of New York into a tool to see the impacts of urban renewal area planning on NYC and the opportunities for community control that remain. Our research and advocacy has led to the inclusion of vacant and abandoned properties on the NYC City Council agenda as they study the impacts of the annual tax lien sale on New Yorkers and neighborhoods. We got legislation introduced at the State level to preserve not one but two existing community spaces that are at risk of disappearing to speculative housing development: reminding New Yorkers and lawmakers that eminent domain can be used for good! These are only a few of the hundreds of land access stories we helped make possible in 2015. More are in our 2015 Annual Report. None of them would have been possible without the support of donors like you – you helped lay the groundwork for an exciting and challenging year of community land access advocacy. I am writing today to ask for your continued collaboration as we expand our impact.

 

This is an exciting and challenging time for community land access. Citywide changes in land-use priorities require us to constantly improve and invent organizing strategies; new development programs and unscrupulous developers threaten to uproot vibrant but unprotected community spaces. Yet, new organizers by the hundreds are joining Living Lots NYC, our online platform, and advocates in cities around the world are planting the seeds of technical and advocacy innovations modeled on 596 Acres. I write to you this week having just returned from speaking at a convening of government actors and potential land stewards in Chicago on the subject of collaboration and pathways to community access to public land.
 

Our work is needed, more than ever. We are committed to democratizing urban spaces in the face of new challenges. Your gift will ensure that we can reach more communities, get more neighbors involved, unlock more fences and continue to serve as an in-demand thought leader to advocates around the world. I hope that you will consider supporting 596 Acres as we head together into 2016. Happy holidays!

 

In solidarity and gratitude,


 

Paula Z. Segal

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE ONLINE HERE 

News from the Acres - December 5, 2015

05 December 2015

2015 was a stunner!

Over the last twelve months, 596 Acres has helped hundreds of New Yorkers create thriving spaces out of decaying vacant lots in their neighborhoods. This year, our organizing tools, community land access advocacy, and leadership have led to decisive wins. Read our annual report here and help us keep going in 2016. 596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE

IN THE PRESS
Last week, 596 Acres was featured in Next City and on Gothamist's list of local organizations to support this season.

CITY COUNCIL FOCUS ON URBAN AGRICULTURE & LAND ACCESS
On Thursday, we testified before City Council's Committee on Economic Development at a hearing on a proposed Urban Agriculture Advisory. You can read Paula's full testimony here. An excerpt:
"Agriculture in the city is a vibrant, local and regenerative infrastructure, practiced as a craft and a business. I commend you for recognizing that, and look forward to conversations through which the broadness swath of regulatory and policy issues each of our urban agriculture practices touches becomes a regular subject in the council... Land disposition for municipal real estate may need its own focused committee to address a multiplicity of community needs, not just the needs of urban agriculture practitioners. I urge that such a committee be created, and focused on land disposition."

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm, come to the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY. We will have such sweet gifts for your sweeties!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Jamaica, Queens - Pastor Doris Johnson, of the Holy Ghost Upper Room of Faith Tabernacle Church, would welcome a collaboration on a sunny corner lot at 105th Avenue and Liverpoolowned by the church that would bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood and some income to the church (in the form of rent or grants or income from produce sales). She can be reached at 718-791-1183 / pastordoris1@aol.com. 

Long Island City, Queens - This week, our efforts towards a collaborative vision for a the reuse of a former rail line in Long Island City were extensively covered in Curbed. It's not too late to join the Cut Off Coalition in responding to MTA's invitation for an adaptive re-use plan for a former rail line. The next formal meeting will by on January 6, 2016, but send a note to Montauk Cutoff RFEI  and review notes from past meetings anddocuments to get caught up. The proposal is due February 26, 2016. 

Edgemere, Queens - Housing Preservation and Development's Second Visioning Session for a new community plan for the whole neighborhood will be on Saturday, December 12, 11am to 2pm, at the Beach 41st St Cornerstone Community Center. You can RSVP here. This is a good opportunity to shape the future of the neighborhood and to advocate directly for the Edgemere Community Coalition Garden, the Frank Avenue Civic Association Garden and a future children's garden on Beach 36th Street
 
South Bronx - It was great to hear Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo voice her public support of the future Hill Street Community Garden at City Council's hearing on a bill proposing an Urban Agriculture Advisory. The Council Member is stepping down at the end of the month; give her office a call so that getting the Department of Transportation to sign a contract permitting the garden doesn't fall off her list of final to-dos: 718-402-6130 . 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Electric Ladybug Garden is holding a coat drive on December 12, 12 pm - 4 pm at the garden, 237 W. 111th Street. Come drop off your old coats! Welcoming all shapes and sizes!

Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden on West 126th Street and Adam Clayton Powell continuesde-paving by hand. The next strike is Sunday, December 19 at 11am. "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade

COLLABORATORS
The NYC Compost Project at Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hiring an Outreach Coordinator! Details are here

Does your park or Parks Department Garden have a fence that just gets in the way? NYC Parks Department's new Parks without Borders wants to take it down! Connect with them here and let us know how it goes. 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Get up to $2000 for an event on your public land from the National Environmental Education Foundation. Applications are due December 15, 2015. More details here

Time to get your Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City! Citizens Committee awards micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school projects throughout the city. More info and application on their website. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

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. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you?

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - November 25, 2015

25 November 2015

Thankful to be building the big picture, together, one space at a time. 

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE. 
This holiday season, we're sharing ‪#‎596Stories‬ - stories and pictures from four years of 596 Acres: hard work, unlocking fences, community dialogue, sunflowers, tomatoes, playing, growing, fighting side by side for what matters. Here's an early story, via video from Feedback Farms. Please share your stories with us too! 

BOOK BINDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29
Spend a bit of the holiday season with us! Come to the 596 Acres office and help assemble our little books 11-3pm. There will be hot beverages, fortified for grown ups, and pie. And chat-chat-chatting. Email organizers@596acres.org to RSVP.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
East New York, Brooklyn - The Warwick Street Community Glow Garden is nearly back in action! Neighbor Taylor has organized a group and submitted a registration packet to GreenThumb. The abandoned lot is already in the inventory of the Parks Department, so land access is just a fence-repair and signature away! This will be #33 in vacant-lot-to-community-space transformations that 596 Acres has facilitated! 

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The organizers focused on 463 Tompkins met this week and will meet again on Tuesday, December 1 at 4 pm at Learning Loft Center, 350 Tompkins Ave(between Madison and Monroe) to help galvanize the community for a new open space. Join them! It's going to be an uphill battle to get this land for a community use in the face of the threat of privatization via the Mayor's Housing Plan - but it will be gorgeous if it works! 

Long Island City, Queens - Help create an ambitious new vision for the old Montauk Cutoff spurin LIC! Community stakeholders are meeting as the newly-formed "Cut Off Coalition" on Wednesday, December 2 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm to continue planning adaptive reuse of the Montauk Cutoff rails. This is a follow-up to a meeting earlier in November (see notes here). New folks are welcome! This event is on facebook here.
 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The 462 Halsey Community Garden GrowNYC Fresh Food Box is moving inside for the winter. Starting Tuesday, December 1 the Food Box will be at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, 228 Decatur at Lewis Ave., from 4:30pm - 7:30pm. For $12 the Fresh Food Box provides around $30 of fresh, affordable food to the neighborhood. Sign-ups happen on a weekly basis, join anytime! For more info or to find out about getting the Fresh Food Box program into your community, click here. 

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Gardens Coalition is hosting a design competition: click here to find out how you can win $500 for the winning Gardens Rising logo!

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. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you?

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

We added the 596 Acres Story Map to our Etsy shop. And also, we’re selling it live on Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm in the lobby of our building in the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY.

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - November 20, 2015

20 November 2015

It's not about beautification, it's about participation.

The Roger That! Garden and Eldert Street Garden are not getting evicted! Both cases were discontinued in response to gardeners' motions. Check out Gothamist's great summary of three of 596 Acres' eviction prevention efforts on behalf of Brooklyn communities (including a win for the Maple Street Community Garden).

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE. We are $14,2500 of the way to the $40,000 we need to raise by December 1 so we can hire a Community Land Access Program Manager for 2016 and keep supporting grassroots neighborhood development in the New Year. 

And we’re on Etsy!
Buy some of our handmade goodies for the one you love: https://www.etsy.com/shop/596Acres

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Join the organizers focused on 463 Tompkins on Tuesday, November 24th at 4 pm at Learning Loft Center, 350 Tompkins Ave (between Madison and Monroe) to help galvanize the community for a new open space.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Join Dierell in his vision to transform the lot at 743 Blake Avenue in East New York into the Eden Learning Center. Dierell has put a lot of effort into this campaign and could use some support. Read his letter about the once-and-future garden here, then give him a call: 347-863-8694!

Bushwick/Bed-Stuy Border, Brooklyn - Jasmine is drafting a proposal to send to HPD to gain access to this lot near Myrtle and Dekalb! Send her an email to get involved,jazcamillenyc@hotmail.com.

East New York, Brooklyn - Chris is designing the landscape for the lot on 162 Glenmore. Here needs a designer to make it pretty for the proposal to NYCHA to give us access to this lot. Reach out to him at citrus0345@gmail.com, 718-708-3762.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - After our successful intervention last June bringing the potential auction of public land in Bushwick to private developers to the attention of residents, elected officials and the Community Board, GreenThumb is encouraging the community to start organizing the lot at 9 Moffatt Street in Brooklyn to get it transferred to the Parks Department and turn it into the garden. Who wants to jump on this awesome opportunity? This land remains ours, but only if we care for it!

Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn - Join the Maple Street Community Garden in a letter-writing campaign to save the garden! They are writing to New York State Senators and Assemblymembers to urge them to move the bills introduced by Senator Jesse Hamilton andAssemblymember Diana Richardson out of committees and to the floor where they can be voted on quickly. Neighbors will meet on Sunday, November 22 in the afternoon. Call or email Tom LaFarge ((917) 400-2187 or tomlafarge@gmail.com) or check the garden's facebook page for more details. 

Citywide - #hpdlist gardens from across the City gathered at the Brooklyn Museum this Tuesday to protest a real estate summit held there, bringing very real threats of community to be replaced by development (click to see 2 of the 21 garden-specific signs 596 Acres provided). 18 NYC gardens remain at risk of turning into expensive apartments ("affordable" units that can actually cost up to $3200 per month). You can read more about the situation in Brooklyn Deep.
 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden is DEPAVING this Saturday, November 21, 10am-sunset at West 126th Street and Frederick Douglas Blvd. Literally, removing the pavement to replace it with flowers. RSVP: René Calvo (917) 275-6577 or renecalvo@gmail.com).

COLLABORATORS
Plant trees with the Parks Department in Cypress Hills! Come out on November 24th, 9am-1pm, Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street. For more info or questions, contact Leslie McIntyre, 347.971.0848, leslie.mcintyre@parks.nyc.gov.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Project Orange Thumb is now accepting applications for their 2016 grant cycle. They fund communities who need tools and resources to help reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration and healthy, sustainable food sources.http://www2.fiskars.com/Community/Project-Orange-Thumb/ 

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - November 13, 2015

13 November 2015
winning, with you

Hello from 596 Acres! 

As we approach the end of a productive and exciting year in community land access, we are taking stock of all we have accomplished together and planning ahead for continued advocacy and growth. Can you please help us in three ways? 

1. Can you take a moment to send a sentence or two about 596 Acres has impacted you and your neighborhood? We’re planning a #596stories fundraising appeal and need you. Did we help you get access to the lot in your life? Connect you with neighbors to help on workdays? Tell you abourt grant opportunities? Warn you about risks to your space or teach you about preservation opportunities? Send stories and pictures to organizers@596acres.org.

2. After you got access to your space, what other kinds of resources could you get? Did you get any grants or other support? Do you read Green for Your Green? When we last surveyed, in November 2014, we found out about $157,367 directed straight to your communities. We'd love to know about resources we've helped you bring into your communities. Tell us atorganizers@596acres.org.

3. Do you think this work is important enough to support? Now is the time to do it: please give $20 (or $50, or as much as you can!) here: http://596acres.org/en/donate/. Then share this link with your members and neighbors. This is the start of our fundraising campaign - let’s launch in style! 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Long Island City, Queens - Together with Smiling Hogshead Ranch and the Citizens Committee for New York City, 596 Acres facilitated a public visioning session in response to the MTA'sRequest for Expressions of Interest in adaptive re-use of the Montauk Cut-Off, 4.2 acres of available public authority land. Participants decided to organize as the Cut-Off Coalition and collaborate on a response. We'll be guiding the process, supported by a $1000 grant from the Awesome Foundation. Join the next Cut-Off Coalition meeting on Wednesday, December 2 at 6:30pm at Nomad Cycles, 47-10 Austell Pl, Long Island City. Details & RSVP here. To reach the Cut-off Coalition, email montauk-cutoff@googlegroups.com. 

Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn - The Maple Street Community Garden got a fantastic decision from the Kings County Supreme Court this week. The garden is safe and open for now, the estate of the family that owned the land in 1990 has been appointed a guardian and "Housing Urban Development LLC," the entity that claims to own the garden now, has been forbidden from moving forward with development. 596 Acres spent the last few months looking for potential relatives and reached out to some people that seem to be her family (that's our letter above). Gardeners and their elected official supporters are working on a long term preservation strategy, too. Read more here and listen to WNYC's Brian Leher to learn more about deed fraud and how the garden story is part of an epidemic

GARDENS AT RISK NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN COURT 
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Monday, November 16 at 10am, support the Roger That! Community Garden in Crown Heights as they fight eviction at Landlord Tenant Court at 141 Livingston Street Room 603, Brooklyn NY. The gardeners will be there and will have a T shirt for you to wear! Here is a bit of back ground on the garden’s story from Gothamist: Developer Claims It Bought Crown Heights Community Garden Property For $10

Bushwick, Brooklyn - Wednesday, November 18 at 10am support the Eldert Street Garden in Bushwick at Landlord Tenant Court at 141 Livingston Street Room 603, Brooklyn NY. They are fighting to reverse a sneaky eviction! Read about the the wins so far in Gothamist here: Gardeners Stave Off Eviction From Bushwick Green Space They Say Was Fraudulently Bought.

COLLABORATORS
Bed Stuy, Brooklyn- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is planning a Hexagonal raised bed workshop on Saturday 11/21/15 from 11 am until 2 pm at the brand new Feeding Tree Garden on Monroe and Tompkins. Bring work gloves! 

WE NEED YOU: SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. WE WANT TO BRING YOU MORE NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES BUT WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT YOU. DONATE HERE. 

 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - November 7, 2015

07 November 2015
We are looking for resilience NOT stability, a system that adjusts over time. -Tine De Moor  #urbancommons #cocities #commonsconference

Thanks to the Awesome Foundation for supporting our facilitation of a new vision for an old train track in Long Island City with Smiling Hogshead Ranch this month! Join us at the first Montauk Cutoff Community Visioning Session on November 11th at 6:30 pm at Nomad Cycle, 47-16 Austell Pl, Long Island City, New York 11101. There will be dinner (thanks to the awesome folks at Awesome!) and the best minds in New York City for co-creating the future. RSVP and questions: smilinghogsheadranch@gmail.com.  

Community Food Funders focusing on Land Access
On December 2, Community Food Funders invite funders interested in supporting food access for New Yorkers to a conversation about Urban Agriculture Land Security with Equity Trust, 596 Acres, the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust and the NYC Community Garden Coalition. Join us!

WE NEED YOU: SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS.WE WANT TO BRING YOU MORE NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES BUT WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT YOU. DONATE HERE. 

LOTS WITH ACCESS
Bushwick, Brooklyn - Know Waste Lands workday is today Saturday, November 7th at 2:30pmat Myrtle and Central. Join them in spreading mulch and planting!

Ditmas, Brooklyn - The Q Gardens Pumpkin Smash is tomorrow Sunday, November 8th at 3pm at East 18th and Church Ave. Come smash a pumpkin, drink cider, and enjoy the fall afternoon!

Greenpoint, Brooklyn - Congratulations to 61 Franklin Street Community Garden and Java Street Community Garden! They were both just awarded grants from the Greenpoint Community Remediation Fund for their community-led environmental remediation and stewardship. Glad we could facilitate the creation of these anchor neighborhood spaces crucial to the future of Greenpoint!

Rockaway, Queens - Edgemere Farm at Beach 45th Street Community Farm is cultivating new ways to bring organic vegetables and other groceries to the Rockaway Peninsula this winter. Want to get involved? Take the Buying Club survey.

GARDENS AT RISK NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN COURT NEXT WEEK
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - On Monday, November 16 at 10am, support the Roger That! Community Garden in Crown Heights as they fight eviction at Landlord Tenant Court at 141 Livingston Street Room 603, Brooklyn NY. The gardeners will be there and will have a T shirt for you to wear! Here is a bit of back ground on the garden’s story from Gothamist: Developer Claims It Bought Crown Heights Community Garden Property For $10

Bushwick, Brooklyn - On Wednesday, November 18 at 10am support the Eldert Street Gardenin Bushwick at Landlord Tenant Court at 141 Livingston Street Room 603, Brooklyn NY. They are fighting to reverse a sneaky eviction! Read about the the wins so far in Gothamist here: Gardeners Stave Off Eviction From Bushwick Green Space They Say Was Fraudulently Bought.

COLLABORATORS
Applications now being accepted for the 2016 NYC Master Composters Course in all five boroughs. Apply now, deadline February 12, 2016. Classes start in March.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES! 
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. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you? 


Paula Z. Segal and Amy Laura Cahn of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative joined commons practitioners and academics at the LabGov "City as Commons" conference in Bologna, Italy, to highlight all the ways people in cities around the world are collaborating and co-creating. Check out #cocities #urbancommons and #commonsconference on twitter for a glimpse into two days of fabulous conversations. 

WE NEED YOU: SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. IT'S WORKING. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - October 29, 2015

29 October 2015
the superheroes have arrived! 

#EMINENTDOMAIN4GOOD !
On Friday, October 23, 2015, Senator Jesse Hamilton introduced a bill in the New York State Senate to preserve the Maple Street Community Garden (S6073). If passed, the State Parks Department will acquire the property and turn it over to the GreenThumb program for continued management by volunteers. Read about the bill in Gothamist and DNAinfo. Thank you to the Hungry March Band, Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, Council Member Mathieu Eugene and all the neighbors for coming out and making it a real celebration! Check out the photos of Sunday's party here and here. The struggle continues!

WE NEED YOU: SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. IT'S WORKING. DONATE HERE. 

THAT OTHER VACANT LOT ON YOUR BLOCK
Did you know that the City sells the tax debt to private collection agencies instead of keeping the debt and enforcing it? This means that private owners of vacant and abandoned properties in our neighborhoods don't face consequences when they don't pay taxes and let weeds and trash pile up on their properties is that. Read more about how that works and what you can do here.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES 
Jamaica, Queens - Local advocates, working with 596 Acres, Council Member Ruben Wills, the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC REIC), Picture the Homeless, Banana Kelly and the New York City Community Land Initiative, kept a City-owned former Department of Health building from being auctioned by the City to a private developer. The building continues to be an organizing opportunity and neighbors are getting together to develop a viable plan. Contact Rafael Jose at rjose123@gmail.com.

Edgemere, Queens - Future gardeners of the Edgemere Coalition Community Garden and the Frank Avenue Civic Association shared their garden aspirations at a Resilient Community Planning Session for the neighborhood on Saturday. They put their gardens on the map and stressed the key infrastructure services they would be providing, including social cohesion and community composting to keep food waste out of landfill. Follow the links to get involved with garden-organizing. If you want to stay up to date about the City's efforts to plan the neighborhood or to be invited to the next session, email Michael Martin at HPD at Martimic@hpd.nyc.gov.

Long Island City, Queens - Want to help plan the future of the 4.2 acre Montauk Cut Off, a decommissioned LIRR/MTA train line next to Smiling Hogshead Ranch? Join 596 Acres, Smiling Hogshead Ranch and the Citizen's Committee for New York City on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:30pm to get to work putting together a response to MTA's Request for Expressions of Interest. More details here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58959 or email smilinghogsheadranch@gmail.com.

South Bronx - The Hill Street Gardeners, with the help of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, are steadily progressing towards an agreement with the Department of Transportation that will allow the potential of this HUGE space to finally be realized. Get in touch via contact information here to get involved: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000020001

LOTS WITH ACCESS
Greenpoint, Brooklyn - Join Java Street Community Garden at 59 Java Street in Greenpoint, from 2-6pm for an afternoon of Halloween activities including a costume contest with prizes, live music by 1960s garage band Gorilla Chief, kids crafts, a photo booth and plenty of tasty treats! RSVP here.

WORK FOR OUR COLLABORATORS!
Our friends at Fourth Arts Block, an awesome arts-facilitator, are hiring a Director of Programs.Check out the posting here.

The New York City Community Garden Coalition is hiring for an awesome initiative that focuses on community gardens as key storm recovery infrastructure. Check out the jobs at the link! 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES! 
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. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you? 


Once you see it you can't un-see it. What tax debt looks like that's been sold to private debt collectors. 

WE NEED YOU: SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. IT'S WORKING. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - October 22, 2015

22 October 2015
keeping what we've got and making more

This week, Gothamist published a great look at how the gardens we have been working to protect and vulnerable homeowners in NYC are all being victimized by speculative illegal development: Fraudsters Are Scooping Up Community Gardens to Build Housing. Scroll down for more information about gardens at risk. 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES 
Edgemere, Queens - Want to help make sure that the Edgemere Coalition Community Garden is part of the plan for the future of the neighborhood? Come to Housing Preservation and Development's Visioning Session this Saturday, October 24, 11am to 2pm, at the Beach 41st St Cornerstone Community Center. Come have lunch, meet your neighbors and speak up for this garden-to-be and other community controlled resources where City officials are ready to listen!

Rockaway Park, Queens - Great to hear that neighbors of this City-owned lot on Beach 84th Street saw the signs we put up in 2012 as part of our Rockaway Residency and started organizing to create a garden here with GreenThumb. Want to get involved? Reach out to Isak Mendes, Brooklyn & Queens Outreach Coordinator for GreenThumb, (212) 602-5314, Isak.Mendes@parks.nyc.gov.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Head Start teacher and neighbor Stephanie is building support for the Administration of Children's Services (ACS) to re-open the playspace next door to the PAL Head Start on Dumont and Sheffield. Get in touch to help her: Simplystephanie1965@yahoo.com, 516-306-0956. If you live in the district, drop a line to Council Member Inez Barron to let her know community access to this resource is a priority for you. 

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Got mutts? Join dog-owners living near Blake and Schenck in gathering support for transforming this City-owned lot with great trees into a dog run. Contact Daryl: marshbrvstr@aol.com, 718 926 6148. They are also looking at a potential space in a nearby Park. 

East New York, Brooklyn - Join Chris as he gathers community support for the transformation of this corner lot at Glenmore and Powell owned by NYCHA. Chris has a petition and could use your help talking to neighbors about their visions and getting signatures and volunteers: citrus0345@gmail.com, 718-708-3762.

Carroll Gardens/Red Hook, Brooklyn - School is back in session and the new P.S. 146 Green Club is going to keep working on getting permission to garden in the DOT Plaza next to the bridge to Red Hook. The Club is planning to follow up with Council Member Brad Lander's office, the Brooklyn Borough office of the DOT and the State DOT and would love your help. Are you a neighbor? Join them here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000030001/.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - Neighbors are working on a vision for this NYPD-controlled lot on Stockholm Street as an open space in a district that desperately needs to catch up with the City standard for open space. This lot was planned as an expansion of the NYPD parking lot in the mid-1990s and has been vacant ever since. There is another NYPD parking lot 2 blocks away on Dekalb avenue that is never full. Maybe neighborhood needs have changed? Maybe it is time for a new vision for this public asset? Get in touch with organizers by leaving a note here and email Celeste Leon to let Council Member Espinal know you support a new vision for this space: cleon@council.nyc.gov.

NYC COMMUNITIES PROTECTING COMMUNITY LAND
The Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple Street in Prospect Lefferts) got some fantastic press this week from WNYC and The Nation (in print next month!). The garden will be celebrating this Sunday, October 25 with a party & BBQ 1-6pm. At 5pm, Paula Z. Segal (Director of 596 Acres), NY State Senator Jesse Hamilton and Borough President Eric Adams will hold a press conference announcing next steps in the journey to preserve this key public space. Big news coming - be there!

The Eldert Street Garden (315 Eldert Street in Bushwick) was ordered re-opened on a limited basis at our last appearance in Landlord Tenant Court and is coming back and hoping the judge will order the garden re-opened indefinitely. Join them: Tuesday, October 27 10:15am at 141 Livingston Street, Room 603, Brooklyn!

Roger That! Garden continues to defend against an eviction. Gardeners were in court this morning and the garden is still open! Save the date for the next court appearance Monday November 16 at 10:15am at 141 Livingston Street, Room 603, Brooklyn

LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem - After seeing that 596 Acres had facilitated neighbors getting access to a lot on West 115th Street and getting it transferred to the NYC Parks Department, GrowNYC reached out to227 Garden and offered to help with the initial build. Everyone worked together and the garden looks great! Check out the photo here. 

OUR GLOBAL COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS ADVOCACY NETWORK AND MAPS FOR OTHER CITIES
The network of advocates creating tools to put residents in charge of their cities in the 596 Acres mold is expanding. H-MTL, a new tool for people to engage with vulnerable buildings in Montreal just launched this week, hosted by Héritage Montréal and created by our friend and volunteer part-time strategist, Jonathan Lapalme. It's awesome! Check it out and check in on the Community Land Access Network and Maps for Other Cities!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES! 
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 $200,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you? 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - October 18, 2015

18 October 2015
keeping the public on public land (maybe buildings, too)

Today, our office is open for Gowanus Open Studios, 1-5pm. Come by 540 President Street in Brooklyn to say hello (I'll be there!), pick up some Community Governance Cards and explore our Print Archive in person. 

It has been a busy week for community land access in New York City! Here are the highlights: 

The Maple Street Community Garden was in Kings County Supreme Court to object to a request for a restraining order made by a company that claims to own the property, "Housing Urban Development LLC." The judge did not grant the order - the garden remains open! - and is now considering the Gardeners' request that he dismiss the company's claim that they own the land completely. The judge has many pages to read before he makes a final decision, and in the meantime, Prospect-Lefferts continues to have a crucial community space providing infrastructure. More details here

The New York City Department of Administrative Services has announced the first public auction of "surplus" City real estate since 2013. The auction includes a former Health Department building in Queens that neighbors have started envisioning as an alternative health center and a residential building in the South Bronx that could be used to house some of the thousands of people in NYC's shelters. Selling these buildings to private developers will surely lead to them being turned into private spaces instead. This week, I brought the auction to the attention of the City Council Members and Community Boards representing the neighborhoods where the buildings are. You can read the letters here and here. There are also templates you and your organizations can use to write your own! And of course you can attend the auction on October 28!

A big reason that private owners of vacant and abandoned properties in our neighborhoods don't don't consequences when they don't pay taxes and let weeds and trash pile up on their properties is that the City sells the tax debt to private collection agencies instead of keeping the debt and enforcing it. This is done through the "Tax Lien Sale." The NYC City Council has convened a Tax Lien Sale Task Force to study the impacts of the sale. I wrote a letter to the Task Force - on behalf of everyone who has gotten in touch to ask us what they could do about the rat-and-weed infested lot on their block - describing the impact of vacant and abandoned properties on neighborhoods. Get in touch (paula@596acres.org) if you want to tell the Task Force about how the awful privately-owned, tax-delinquent lot on your block affects you!

The Tax Lien Sale also makes trouble for not-for-profit organizations that own land. With the collaboration of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, we saved the 1100 Bergen Community Garden and the Merrick Marsden Garden from disappearing to private development due to tax lien foreclosure last year. Now the Tax Lien Sale is the reason that the Imani garden is at risk.

A special issue of the journal Cities and the Environment, "Urban Vacant Land and Community Access," based on the Vacant Acres Symposium 596 Acres co-organized at the New School in 2014 was published this week! It's awesome to have an issue dedicated to academics studying community access to land in our cities and practitioners from our Community Land Advocacy Network! Check out the issue to read about parallel efforts in BerlinPhiladelphiaChicago,Montreal and more!

GARDENS AT RISK NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Roger That! Garden, at the corner of Rogers and Park Place, will be in Landlord Tenant Court this week for a hearing - with gardener witnesses! - about whether they received court notice correctly. This hearing is part of a fight against an eviction by a real estate company that claims it bought the lot that the garden is on for $10, despite over a decade and over $300,000 in unpaid back taxes and liens. You can read more and see the garden in pictures in a great story in Gothamist. Please join us Thursday, October 22 at 10:15am at 141 Livingston Street, Room 603, Brooklyn. You'll get a snazzy T shirt to wear to show the garden matters and get the attention of the judge! 

Save the date for another hearing in the same court room next week as the Eldert Street Garden(315 Eldert Street in Bushwick) fights to reverse an eviction judgement that was made without notice to them. Despite the completed eviction, Eldert Street was ordered re-opened on a limited basis at our last appearance in Court; that's pretty unusual - the courtroom packed with gardeners certainly helped! We are coming back and hoping the judge will order the garden re-opened indefinitely. Save the date: Tuesday, October 27 10:15am at 141 Livingston Street, Room 603, Brooklyn

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES 
South Bronx - The Hill Street Gardeners are steadily progressing towards an agreement with the Department of Transportation that will allow the potential of this HUGE space to finally be realized. Are you a neighbor who wants to be involved? Get in touch via contact information here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000020001

Long Island City, Queens - Want to help plan the future of the 4.2 acre Montauk Cut Off, a decommissioned LIRR/MTA train line next to Smiling Hogshead Ranch? Join 596 Acres, Smiling Hogshead Ranch and the Citizen's Committee for New York City on Wednesday, November 11 at 6:30pm to get to work putting together a response to MTA's Request for Expressions of Interest. More details here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58959 or email smilinghogsheadranch@gmail.com.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - With Council Member Rafael Espinal's staff, we are exploring an opportunity for a garden at the Wilson L stop. The station is getting renovated and it seems like the outdoor space might be perfect for the community to grow in. Do you live close by? Get involved: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000030013

Bed Stuy, Brooklyn - Neighbors organizing around 463 Tompkins learned this week that the lot is part of an offer to give free land to housing developers if they agree to build rental apartments. Rent in these apartment is allowed over $3,000 per month, which is a lot more than people in this neighborhood pay. Do you want to try to influence how this piece of land serves the public? Read more details and get involved here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58253/ or contact organizers@596acres.org.

COLLABORATORS
New Yorkers For Parks have updated district profiles for the entire city! Check out the district where the 'lot in your life' is to see how it compares to other districts and the ideal amount of open space for neighborhoods. These District Profiles provide clear data about why the spaces you are advocating for are crucial. Share them with your elected officials, community boards and neighbors.

The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC REIC) had its second quarter All-Member and Workgroup meetings. The NYC REIC is building a truly democratic investment tool for cultural, commercial, retail and manufacturing space in New York City. Hundreds of New Yorkers are building the organization from the ground up and welcome you! More information here: nycreic.com. Save the date for the third quarter All-Member meeting when you will be able to join and become an active member: January 28, 2016. 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES! 
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 $200,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you? 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - October 8, 2015

08 October 2015
With newest Green For Your Green ($!) and a fabulous job posting

Maple Street Community Garden in Prospect Lefferts, Brooklyn: We're Winning and We Need You
This week, the Maple Street Community Garden compost committee found the garden illegally locked with a heavy padlock and chain, despite a court order from the New York State Second Department Appellate Division confirming gardeners' rights to use the space without being disturbed. Gardeners cut the lock and posted a copy of the order on the gate. Now: back to court! Join your neighbors, the gardeners and attorney Paula Z. Segal on Tuesday, October 13 at Kings County  Supreme Court, 360 Adams Street, Room 441, at 9:30am. Come out and show the judge that this is a place that matters more than “real estate!" 

Rest in Power Adam Purple (rev les ego), 1930-2015
Last week social activist, philosopher and gardening revolutionary Adam Purple (rev. les ego) was laid to rest. He created the world-famous eARThWORK, "The Garden of Eden," which flourished on Manhattan’s Lower East Side from 1975 until it was bulldozed by the City in 1986. Over the years, Adam compiled and distributed documents that related in some way, shape, or form, to the garden, entitled "LIFE with les(s) ego." In memorial, 596 Acres joined the ranks of co-publishers of the collection: following Adam's instructions to "Internet This!" we have posted the fullest version we could find here.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES 
Edgemere, Rockaway, Queens - The Edgemere Coalition is organizing to gain access to a lot located on the corner of 43 Street and Beach Channel DriveToday, Thursday, October 8, at 3pm, Alexis will meet with Portia Dyenforth, the Rockaways Administrator for the NYC Parks Department, to discuss the potential of getting the lot transferred to Parks Department to become a community garden. The Edgemere Coalition wants to hold a children's festival this fall and start planning for next years harvest season. To get involved contact Alexis at alexissmallwood83@gmail.com, stop by the lot today at 3pm or sign up as an organizer here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58285/.

Long Island City, Queens - Want to help dream up how the community will take advantage of theexpanded MTA/LIRR land access opportunity on the Montauk Spur? We need you! Come for a walk-through of the site with us, neighboring Smiling Hogshead Ranch and the land-owner, MTA on Friday, October 16 at 10am (RSVP to jcoyne@mtahq.org by October 12). You can see the Request for Expressions of Interest here. You can add your ideas here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58959/. Email smilinghogsheadranch@gmail.com to get on the invitation list for an upcoming community visioning session, too! 

East New York, Brooklyn - Taylor started organizing neighbors of Brooklyn's former Warwick Street Greenery Glow Garden on to revive the dormant garden and update its registration. The garden as it was in 1991 is pictured below.  Taylor says, "Fighting to end hunger in our local communities! Let's come together and teach the youth about growing food. Anyone who is interested in helping me start this garden please contact me." Taylor is at (516) 265-0919 and gordont032@gmail.com. You can also reach him by becoming an organizer here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3040630015/.

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn - Bridget has joined the effort to create a garden in the vacant City-owned lots at 716-720 Lafayette Avenue. With new energy joining the effort it seems like time to get on the Community Board 3 agenda again and ask for their support for a garden in this space instead - or at least ask for an update on the prospect of housing and input into the type of housing and the income levels proposed for residents? If you want to get involved please post here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58257/ or contact us at organizers@596acres.org or (718) 316-6092 x 1.

Weeksville, Brooklyn - We brought the stalled application to create the Granville T. Woods Community Learning School children’s garden on the vacant City-owned lot at the corner of Bergen Street and Rochester Avenue the attention of NYC Parks Department’s GreenThumb Program Director Nancy Kohn this week. Nancy confirmed that the surest route would a transfer to the Parks Department. Let's push to make this happen, maybe in time for the Spring! There are three calls you can make now: (1) call Brooklyn Borough Parklands to ask that they take jurisdiction of Brooklyn block 1356, lot 6 for a new garden: Martin Maher, (718) 965-8917; (2) call or email GreenThumb to ask that they request Brooklyn Borough Parklands take jurisdiction of the lot for a new garden: Carlos Martinez, Deputy Director, (212) 602-5329, Carlos.Martinez@parks.nyc.gov; (3) and contact Council Member Robert Cornegy's office to request that they also make the two calls above: District Office Address: 1360 Fulton Street, Suite 500, 718-919-0740. Get involved by leaving a note or becoming an organizer here: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3013560006/.

596 Acres General Meeting Recap
Thanks to everybody who braved the rain and made it out to our general meeting last week! And a special thanks to the good folks at Smiling Hogshead Ranch in Long Island City, Queens, for hosting and giving us a tour of the ranch! One tool we shared is New Yorkers for Parks 2015 City Council District Park Profiles, which show how much open space each district has in relation to the rest of the city. The Profiles clearly show that the neighborhoods where New Yorkers are organizing with 596 Acres’ support are under-served by green space compared to the rest of the city. How is your district doing? Here are the Profiles for the districts represented at the meeting last week: Lots with Access
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - the Keap Fourth Community Garden on Williamsburg's South side is very pleased to announce the garden will be open daily 10am until Sunset until it closes for the season October 31. Come on in, relax and enjoy the open, public space! Gardeners are testing this always-open approach to their fence because they hope to use it all next season. For more info follow the garden on Facebook.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - On Saturday, October 10Know Waste Lands Compost and Wildflower Garden is celebrating the work everybody has done to create the garden! With support from 596 Acres, this land was successfully transferred from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to the Parks Department. Now neighbors can enjoy a bonfire, silkscreen printing, a family portrait station and an art project showcase. The event will go from 2-7pm at 1278 Myrtle Avenue. See the Facebook event page for more information.

Community Land for a Community Centered on Putting Our Bottles and Cans to Use
Bushwick, Brooklyn - Brooklyn's biggest non-profit recycling center, Sure We Can, needs secure land access and tenure. Due to skyrocketing real estate prices, the landlords are trying to sell the land where the center is located, which has become a refuge for thousands of canners. Besides recycling 6.8 million cans in 2014, Sure We Can runs a local composting program. 596 Acres is providing guidance about how the lot could be placed into a Community Land Trust that would ensure a future for the community that thrives around the property now, if the funds are available to facilitate the purchase. Congratulations on the recent coverage in Can Science News
COLLABORATORS
Spotlight on 
Partner & Partners!
Urban Omnibus recently profiled the work of 596 Acres' amazing collaborators - graphic designers Partner & Partners! Partner & Partners' This Land is Your Land signs have been a secret weapon in sparking community land access campaigns around the City.

Job Listing: NYCHA is hiring an Urban Farm Project Coordinator! 
See the full description here! 

SAVE THE DATE: Farming and Food Justice Roundtable with BK Farmyards
Join 596 Acres' director Paula Z. Segal who will be a panelist at BK Farmyard's 2nd Annual Farming and Food Justice Roundtable on Monday, October 19, 2015, 6-8pm at 61 Local, 61 Bergen Street, Brooklyn. Paula is joining Tanya Fields (BLK ProjeK & Libertad Urban Farm), Marisa Codey (Columbia Land Conservancy), Kristina Erskine (Bushwick Campus Farm), Jane Hodge (Rise and Root Farm) for an amazing conversation about different routes these powerful women have take to create impact by expanding urban agriculture, food justice and farming. Space is limited.  RSVP to molly@bkfarmyards.com with your full name, affiliation, and pay rate ($10 or $15; youth are free). More details here.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: NEW GRANT OPPORTUNITIES! 
The National Gardening Association Youth Garden Grant is for available for your school and youth educational garden projects! Any nonprofit, school, or youth program planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. That's nearly every community open space in New York City! Click here to apply.

Citizens Committee for New York City announced new grant opportunities this week: Love Your Blockgrant applications are due on November 6, 2015 (apply here)! Any group can apply with any project that will make an impact, no matter how the group is organized, which neighbors are served or the land access status! We really <3 Citizens Committee! 

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 $200,000 for their growing spaces. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you? 

yours,
596 Acres

 

Warwick Street Greenery Glow Garden photo from Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-being through Urban Landscapes (1999).

News from the Acres - October 1, 2015

01 October 2015
"Build it and they will come" - Victor Maldonado, Hill Street Community Garden
596 Acres General Meeting this evening!
Today, October 1, we are braving the storm for a 596 Acres General Meeting! From 6-7:30pm we gather at Smiling Hogshead Ranch, in Long Island City, 25-30 Skillman Avenue, Queens, NY 11101. Community members organizing for land access across the city will have the opportunity to share about their campaigns and collectively strategize. We will also get a tour of the ranch, try out the Community Governance Cards, and help everyone who comes plan the next steps in their local efforts for access to land! For more information, see the event page. Contact Andrew at andrew@596acres.org or call 718-316-6092 ext 3.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES 
Woodside, Queens - Carlos is just starting to organize to transform this City-owned triangular lot at Laurel Hill Blvd. and 48th Avenue into a garden and community gathering space. It's small enough to be left behind by all the City programs but certainly large enough to make an impact in the neighborhood! Get in touch with him at 100thseedproject@gmail.com or 9179227525.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Chris has been in touch with NYCHA's Garden and Greening Program about turning a vacant lot on the corner of Glenmore Avenue and Powell Street into a community garden. He would love to work with his neighbors on this campaign! If you would like to get involved, contact Chris at citrus0345@gmail.com or 718-708-3762.

East New York, Brooklyn - Stephanie has been trying to re-open an Administration of Children's Services lot that is already full of playground equipment next-door to the Headstart program where she works. She is looking for community members, nearby schools and the rest of the Headstart staff to work with her to transform the space. To get involved, contact Simplystephanie1965@yahoo.com or call Stephanie at 516-306-0956.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - The City-owned triangular lot at the corner of Bushwick and Beaver is finally becoming a Park. Work began this week. It IS becoming a City Park (hurray!) and Maria-Mercedes Hubbard (maria.hubbard@ahrcnyc.org, (718) 455-5473) has been leading the advocacy to have the park incorporate a teaching garden. Get in touch with her if you would like to see a community growing space here!

Lots with Access
Bushwick, Brooklyn - Next Saturday, October 10, Know Waste Lands Compost and Wildflower Garden is celebrating the work everybody has done to create the garden! With support from 596 Acres, this land was successfully transferred from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to the Parks Department to be protected as a community green space. Join community members for a fall bonfire, silkscreen printing, a family portrait station and a showcase of two art projects: the BK ROT Compost Comix and “Whose Streets?” The event will go from 2-7pm at 1278 Myrtle Avenue. See the Facebook event page for more information.

 

Gardens at Risk
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Imani Community Garden is at risk of being divided! The garden was nearly bulldozed in 2000 and only preserved because the New York Restoration Project purchased 2 of the 3 lots the garden is on from a City auction in 2000. These two lots are on either side of another lot that belongs to a not-for-profit organization and has since been sold without the approval from the Attorney General. Now, the purchaser of the middle lot threatened to cut the garden into thirds by putting up fences and locking the huge willow tree away. To find out ways to support, email saveimanitree@gmail.com or call 718-496-5139. Options include: having the garden lot bought back through donations, the City buying it or a reversal of the sale by the Attorney General. Other ideas welcome! 

Bushwick, Brooklyn - Last Friday, members of the Eldert Street Garden, with their lawyer Paula Z. Segal, protested the eviction of the garden in the Landlord Tenant Court and were ordered access to the garden! For more information about the situation, take a look at this Gothamist article. Mark your calendar to come support continued community land access in Bushwick on Tuesday, October 27 at 10:15am (at 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn). 

COLLABORATORS
Did you know that more than 50% of New Yorkers work at a small business, but 1000-1200 NYC small businesses are forced to close their doors every month, most of these because of rent increases? The Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) could help to stop that. Learn more about SBJSA here.

Practical Urban Notions (PUN), an organization created to advance the art and science of sustainable metropolitan life, is offering a free 2 week stay at their South Williamsburg shipping container house as a part of their Artist/Scholar in Residence program. The Resident would assist in the development of a PUN website. The date of the residency is to be determined, but would be sometime between Jan 18 - March 18, 2016. Anyone interested in this program can send a CV to Janet Brown at ansjanet@gmail.com

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Long Island City, Queens - Smiling Hogshead Ranch was one of four organizations to receive a $6,000 local community grant from Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer for arts education workshops and cultural programming at local parks in Council District 26! The grant will allow them to expand their programming and do new creative things! For more information, check out this article.

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


Members of the Eldert Street Garden in court after the judge granted access to the garden!

yours,
596 Acres