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News for December 2011


28 December 2011

It's time to demystify those dots on the map! This January -- we turn to you to tell us what is happening in your neighborhoods. Some of the "vacant lots" on our map -- which is really the NYC Planning map -- aren't really vacant at all.

Some are community gardens & parks. Some have other uses. And some are absolutely perfect community greenspaces for us to dream about in 2012. We want to know what's what! Before we print our next publication. We invite you to take a walk in the next few weeks, and think about springtime coming, a structured way. We need your help looking at every dot in Brooklyn in real life.

Can you commit to checking out the ones in your neighborhood? And uploading photos or notes to the pages for those lots? That would be great! We have a goal of getting this done by January 15. If you have any questions -- email

News From Greenpoint: Java Street Garden Collaborative Update

28 December 2011

In September 2011, from a 596 Acres poster she saw on the street, Stella Goodall began organizing her friends and neighbors into what is now the Java Street Garden Collaborative. 

The Collaborative's mission is to create an open green space in the heart of the Greenpoint waterfront area. The group organized themselves with the aid of Paula Segal and 596 Acres and Roland Chouloute of the Green Thumb, creating a mission and set of goals for development, enlisting resources, starting a blog and awareness campaign around the neighborhood, and just recently have created a fundraising campaign for their PHASE 1 project via with the help of Helen Ho, Neighborhood Outreach & Project Support Manager

.  Funds raised from this effort will enable the group to get started at 59 Java Street, weeding, turning soil, building a fence and signage, providing the tools needed, and planting their first project, a small grove of poplar trees which will start the phytoremediation aspect of their overall mission.

"When I started this, I wasn't really sure where it would take me but it has turned into not just something I wanted to do for the community but a real learning lesson in leadership and in trusting a process and working with others.  We are lucky to have so many dedicated and talented people who have assisted me more than I think they know", says Stella Goodall, founder.

You can follow the Java Street Garden Collaborative on their blog!

December News (You Can't Hold Back Spring)

14 December 2011
tags: tool updates

Hello from the Acres!

We know it's been a while, and a lot has happened. So here's the news in brief:

-- 462 Halsey Community Garden is open - bring your compost!
-- FEEDback Farms is approved to use 3 lots in Carroll Gardens! So cool -- they are "A Small Green Patch" on facebook.
-- NYC Department of Environmental Protection is moving towards community access at Myrtle Village Green - they have leveled the ground and put in a fence. Myrtle Village Green will be having its next general meeting on Sunday, January 15 in Wallabout Village/North Bed Stuy/East Clinton Hill.
-- The Java Street Garden Collaborative is well on its way -- Community Board hearing in January! Plan to come to the meeting in support when it's announced!

-- THIS COMING SUNDAY, a Vacant Public Land Visioning Session at the Occupy Wall Street Holiday Bazaar, 4pm, 175 Frost Street, Brooklyn. Come!
-- LAST WEEK, 596 Acres labeled vacant land in East New York owned by Housing Preservation and Development in tandem with OccupyHomes. It was fun & really wonderful to add a little texture to what was already a fantastic action.

-- Join a community organizing in your neighborhood!
-- Request a Visioning Session for your community! We'll talk about possibilities and see what land is empty near your 'hood.
-- Give 596 Acres a few of your dollars, tax-free, finally - and before 2011 is over! 596 Acres is set up to accept your donations. Your dollars will be used to fund ink for more beautiful handmade signs, stickers, neighborhood-specific maps, more broadsheets, improvements to online tools and materials for future Vacant Public Land Visioning Sessions. The project tiny so your smallest contributions make the largest difference (tax-deductable, thanks to IOBY!).
-- Follow the Policies for a Shareable City series -- we're in there! There's been some other very nice press this fall, too.
-- Follow us on facebook - we're still there.

Together -- let's envision a commons.

In hope, love, seasonal bliss,


.... you can't hold back spring ...

Request A Vacant Public Land Visioning Session for Your Community

14 December 2011

Vacant Public Land Visioning Session is a workshop during which we explain what we know about the city's land use and real estate warehousing practices, as well as present the map tools at We talk about where we got our data, what city agencies are involved in land ownership and share success stories of communities gaining access to previously warehoused and close-off parcels of NYC public land. (See,,, -- these are our 4 success stories from this summer's pilot project. Each one started by sharing information - via signage - about the municipal owners of the land with the local community.)

Then we tap into the resources in the room to talk together about how our tools can best serve the needs of those there. This often leads to us together using the map to identify lots that are in neighborhoods where participants live and work that we think would be good ones to target for transformation to community green space; we then empower those there to become stewards of the process of building community coalitions around those spaces -- and send them home with signs to hang on the fences of those lots (and zip ties).

This workshop is available for your community. We will come and spend 2 hours with your group, talking about land. You provide the group, the location, some snacks and ideally a projector. Contact us to request a workshop.

Press: 596 Acres is Shareable!

12 December 2011

Janelle Orsi from the Sustainable Economies Law Center included 596 Acres in her recreation and greenspaces post in the Policies for a Sharable City series on November 10:

"One inspiring project, called 596 Acres, has identified 596 acres of vacant publicly owned land in Brooklyn, New York, and is serving as a liaison between citizen groups and the city to encourage conversion of these lots to food-growing and recreational spaces."