Gardeners hold sign that reads "Community Gardens are Community Development"

“Over the past three weeks, everyone that I’ve met through my new position has reminded me that the mission of 596 Acres is not to build community gardens (although we help do that) or even to ensure public access to public land (although we help do this too), but to work with local organizers and community members to make sure land in their neighborhood is being used the way that the community believes to be best.

This mission is why I was drawn to 596 Acres, because it allows 596 Acres to play a role in the process, but not to dictate the product; not to do for, but instead to do with. The fact that every person I’ve met has reiterated this mission to me, making sure that I understand the responsibilities and boundaries of my new job, has let me know that 596 Acres is the type of organization to practice what it preaches.” Read Alicia’s full letter here.


NYCommons in Next City: Mapping Tool Aims to Keep Public Spaces Public by Oscar Perry Abello
“Public assets, including parks, park buildings, former schools, library buildings whether they’re in use or not, community gardens and city-owned vacant lots are suddenly in the crosshairs of developers who once wouldn’t touch the neighborhood. Now the volunteers who worked to make the area safe are left wondering: How can they get the attention of public officials when people with deep pockets are drawing up plans and proposing shiny designs for repurposing public assets that seem otherwise underutilized?”

Weeksville, Brooklyn – Youth organizers from D.U.E.C.E.S. presented their plan for a community garden at 45 Somers Street at Brooklyn Community Board 16 this week and received anunanimous vote of support! Organizers will be finalizing their design and proposal for An E.D.E.N. Garden soon. Read the history of the lot here and the plan here. The group could use the help of a designer to make visualization of the plan for this kid-centered space: is that you? Contact C. Aaron –, (347) 589-7583 for updates and sign up to Organize here:

Brownsville, Brooklyn – The fight to save Green Valley Community Garden and Farmer’s Marketat New Lots and Sackman Street continues! On December 17 supporters came together to rally at Green Valley and tell the city OUR FARM STAYS. Although the Mayor’s Office announced the garden was permanently preserved on December 29, 2015, they are now telling gardeners that the majority of the garden will be sold to private developers. We were joined by staff from Council Member Inez Barron’s office and local community leaders to demand the city preserve ALL of Green Valley. On Wednesday, December 28 organizers will be meeting with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to advocate for the future of Green Valley. If you haven’t already, download a letter you or your organization can send to the Mayor, print petitions you can get signed, see photos and press coverage, and sign up to Organize for updates here: Contact with questions.

Staten Island – Help organizers get lots on Piave Ave and Sand Lane transferred to the Parks Department! All that is standing in our way is a broken sidewalk, which the city refuses to fix. Remind the city this is their responsibility by filing a complaint! For information about how to file a complaint about the sidewalk and to sign up to organize, go to

Highbridge, Bronx — Organizers continue planning a vision for Corporal Irwin A. Fischer Parklocated between West 169th between Nelson and Shakespeare Avenues. The next meeting will be held in January, date and place to be announced, where we will be joined by Council Member Vanessa Gibson to review our first drafts of a design! Email or call Sabeena at (914) 263-2454, or Dian at (929) 575-3438, to be in the loop out about the next meeting, or sign up to Organize to receive updates here:

Far Rockaway, Queens – Planning is underway for the GreenThumb proposal for a garden and compost site at a vacant public lot at Nameoke Street and Augustina Avenue. You can use this template to help collect letters of support from local organizations and businesses who support this community space. In January, the group will present the plan before their Community Board and request its support. Plug in with Allison: (718) 749-8830 or or by signing up to Organize here:

Rockaway Beach, Queens – The GreenThumb proposal for 318 Beach 84 St and 322 Beach 84 St submitted by residents has been accepted! The final step is for NYC Parks to obtain a wetlands permit. Sign up for updates here:

Edgemere, Queens – Planning is underway for a community garden at this giant lot on Beach 43rd Street. Recently the Community Board shared a letter of support with organizers, and the local NYS Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder and NYC Council Member Donovan Richardssupport the idea too. The group could use the help of a designer to make a beautiful plan for this waterfront space: is that you? Contact Alexis at or (347) 608-3556, and sign up to Organize here:

South Jamaica, Queens – Save the date: on Saturday, January 7 from 2 to 5pm organizers of HipHoticHelps Essential Garden of South Jamaica will be holding a community meeting about implementing their vision to transform Hilton Holiday Gardens at 133rd and 135th Avenue, and 143rd and 145th Streets. Location to be announced. Read Trish Van Buren’s testimony on why this currently inaccessible parkland needs to be open. Contact Trish at or (646) 258-5940 to plug in, and sign up to organize here:

Flatbush, Brooklyn — Q Gardens at East 18th St between Church and Caton Ave is launching a bee project on a neighboring roof!! In 2017, six apprentices will learn how to maintain our two community beehives. Email to get involved.

Lower East Side, Manhattan – On Tuesday, January 10 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm GreenThumb is hosting “New Year’s Resolution: Learn How to Compost”  workshop at Sixth Street Community Center.

GreenThumb’s “Funding Your Garden, Park, or Green Space” is taking place on Tuesday, January 10 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Pelham Fritz Recreation Center and Thursday, January 12 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at Brooklyn Community Foundation. Find out more information here:

City Parks Foundation is hosting an upcoming Capacity Fund Grant Informational Webinar onJanuary 12 from 1 to 2pm and again on January 18 from 6:30 to 8pm. Find out how to join them for this free online workshop here:

Citizens Committee awards Neighborhood Grants up to $3,000 to resident-led groups working on community and school projects throughout the city. Grants are for volunteer led projects addressing issues which communities deem important to them. Applications are due January 23, 2017. Information session are underway now; find one here. More information here.

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.

A publicly owned, closed building at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side of Manhattan

596 Acres, Common Cause New York, and the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center have partnered to build the NYCommons initiative, creating tools that will allow communities take an active role in what happens to the land and buildings in their neighborhood. Read the full article here! Photo by Oscar Abello.

The days are getting longer,
596 Acres

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