Food scraps for compost

Next Saturday, December 17 at 10am, urban farmers and neighbors are holding a rally to saveGreen Valley Community Garden & Farmers Market at New Lots Ave and Sackman Street. Although the Mayor promised the garden would be preserved, longtime gardeners have been told by the city that they will need to vacate all but a small section of the land. Green Valley has been growing and supplying fresh produce in the Brownsville community for over 20 years. Stand together with residents, Council Member Inez Barron and us to ensure that they can continue to do so! Read more here. Sign this petition now. Letters of support are pouring in: download a letter you or your organization can send, see photos, print petitions and sign up to Organize for updates at

Highbridge, Bronx – Organizers are planning to meet next Saturday, December 17, place and time to be announced, to continue creating a vision for Corporal Irwin A. Fischer Park between West 169th between Nelson and Shakespeare Avenues in the South Bronx. Neighbors started planning what kind of park they want it to be last Wednesday (photo). They next day, they testified about these inaccessible Parks Department properties at City Council; read their testimony here and watch it at 02:07:23 in the video here. 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:; and here:

South Jamaica, Queens – Trish grew up in South Jamaica and is now organizing to gain access to Hilton Holiday Gardens at 133rd and 135th Avenue, and 143rd and 145th Streets with her community non-profit, HipHoticHelps. Last Thursday, she testified before City Council on why this currently inaccessible parkland needs to be open; read it here, or watch it at 02:54:40 in the video here. Contact her at or (646) 258-5940 to plug in, and sign up to Organize 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. Soon, 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:

Long Island City, Queens – Next Tuesday, December 13 from 6pm to 9pm at Flux Factory, 39-31 29th Street between 39 and 40th Aves, the Cutoff Coalition is convening to plan how to move the Ranch on Rails forward as a cohesive organization. Topics include organizational structure, ways to plug in to various projects, and roles and responsibilities of participants. More info, contact Gil: (407) 432-8156 or; sign up to Organize here:

Weeksville, Brooklyn – Youth organizers from D.U.E.C.E.S. are presenting their plan for a community garden at 45 Somers Street at Brooklyn Community Board 16 on Tuesday, December 20 at 6:30pm at 444 Thomas Boyland Street. This is a former Lots for Tots we are working to re-activate. Read the history here. Come support them as they request a letter of support! Their plan to have the vacant public lot transferred from DCAS to NYC Parks so they can steward it was embraced by the Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee (photo here). Review their draft plan here. They will be at the Saratoga Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (8 Thomas S Boyland Street) tomorrow, Friday, December 9 at 4pm to plan for next week. Join them or contact C. Aaron –, (347) 589-7583 for updates and sign up to Organize here:

East New York, Brooklyn – Local youth nonprofit B.R.O.K.E Youth (Be Responsible, Keep Excelling) is organizing to transform a decades-vacant public lot at Hinsdale Street between Sutter and Blake into a community garden. We then found out that the City is planning to sell it for $4 to a private developer to build housing for people who make twice and a-little-more-than-three-times what average people in the neighborhood make, and which in 20 years will become 12 units of market-rate housing. This public land can do so much more for the local community and NYC as a whole. The City will hold a final disposition hearing Wednesday, January 11. This means we have a month to convince them to change course. Read the testimony that 596 Acres’ Paula Z. Segal prepared here. Here’s a template you can use to prepare your own testimony. Organize with Auradis, who grew up across the street from these abandoned public lots: or (516) 582-1460; and sign up here:

Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Now that residents have successfully advocated to have a lot at South 5th Street and Hooper Street transferred from Housing Preservation and Development to NYC Parks so it can finally become the open space planned by Urban Renewal in 1992, they are working with NYC Parks GreenThumb to make the space they need. At last Thursday’s visioning session, gardeners reviewed this draft design that GreenThumb made based on previous community visioning sessions and suggested improvements. The following Saturday, they got the garden ready for winter so they can grow in the spring! Email, call (718) 387-0404 ext 45 (se habla español) to plug in or sign up to Organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – IMPACCT published their final report on findings from visioning sessions with Myrtle Village Green on Myrtle Avenue between Franklin and Kent. Read it here to learn more about this DEP water tunnel site’s history. It was the project that got 596 Acres started. Be part of the future of this site! Email or plug in by signing up to Organize here:

Bushwick, Brooklyn – Congratulations to Know Waste Lands at Myrtle and Central Ave for being selected as a winner of GreenThumb’s recognition award! Like GreenThumb, we admire your dedication and service to the community. Know Waste Lands is the home of BK Rot, Bushwick’s youth-powered composting service. They are now expanding compost pick-up into Bedstuy! Flier here. Sign up here.

Want to help take care of our land in East New York and Bedsuy? NYC Parks Department GreenThumb gardens at Glenmore Ave and Barbey Street and Glenmore Ave at Warwick Street in East New York and Louis Place and Herkimer Street in Bed-Stuy need new stewards! Contact GreenThumb Outreach Coordinator Ijendu Obasi at (212) 602-5312, if interested.

NYC H2O is organizing to gain access to inaccessible Parks Department buildings for their water education programs including the Baruch Houses Bath House on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side and the Ridgewood Reservoir and High Bridge Tower and Gatehouse in Highland Park, East New York. They testified about it at City Council last Thursday. Read their testimony here or watch the video posted here at 02:23:20 and 02:32:12. Join their efforts by emailing or, and sign up to Organize here:; and here:

Tomorrow, Friday December 9 from 9:30am to 6:30pm, join the 1st Annual Urban Soils Symposium at Brooklyn College Student Center, 2705 Campus Road. Let’s recognize the critical roles urban soils play in supporting our lifestyles with people of all backgrounds and disciplines. Event information here.

Also tomorrow, Friday December 9 at 6pm at 104 E 126th Street #1B between Lexington and Park Aves, Picture the Homeless is hosting a listening party and discussion about the history of squatting on the Lower East Side. How are these experiences relevant to present-day activists working to create land trusts and claim rights to warehoused buildings? Facebook event here.

Partnership for Parks is hosting How to Start or Join a Community Park Group next Thursday, December 15 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Arsenal Building in Manhattan’s Central Park, 830 5th Avenue – 3rd Floor (enter near East 65 Street). At this free workshop, learn how to join an existing local group or start a new one. Event info here..

Save the Date for the GreenThumb GrowTogether Conference: Sustaining Garden Legacies! Saturday, March 25, 2017. Check out their winter program guide here.

The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Citizens Committee are collaborating to award Active Design Grants: Funding for Schools grants up to $4,000 for K-12 public schools and up to $2,500 for preschool and child care centers. Grants support projects that promote physical activity and healthy living among children, staff and surrounding community. Deadline coming up: Monday, December 12. To learn more and apply, visit their website 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.

596 Acres testified in front of City Council along with organizers and fellow advocates.

Across NYC, acres of Parks Department land sit behind fences. Dozens of Parks Department buildings are boarded up. Last Thursday, 596 Acres testified about the impacts of these properties in our neighborhoods and city along with organizers in our network and fellow advocates. We presented first-hand information about these places along with powerful ideas for reactivating abandoned public land and buildings through Parks Department surveys of its assets paired with nonprofit and resident stewardship. Read our testimony here and watch us in City Council’s video posted here, where 596 Acres goes on at the 02:02:15 mark.

596 Acres

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