A statewide coalition of community land access advocates has signed and sent the letter below to Governor Cuomo, encouraging him to sign a bill that would expand the authority of the State office of Community Gardens and create timelines for municipalities to follow when responding to community requests for use of public land. The bill requires city agencies to respond within 180 days. It’s a start.
You can let the Governor know you think it’s a good idea. Here’s how you reach the governor’s office: call (518) 474-8390 or fill out this form:
http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php (Agriculture is the topic)
August 12, 2013
Dear Governor Cuomo,
We, the undersigned, represent a coalition of community gardeners and land access advocates throughout New York State. We write to express our support for Senate Bill 2372/ Assembly Bill 3743, a bill expanding the authority of the Office of Community Gardens.
Throughout New York State, there are thousands of acres of fallow vacant, publicly- owned land within our cities and towns, which can be put to use by local communities ready to create a green oasis of healthy food and beauty. Many organized block associations and groups have developed methods for obtaining access for use of public land locally, at times in collaboration with, without or in opposition to their municipal governments. Oftentimes the process is ad-hoc, depending on community capacity and needs.
This bill successfully establishes a clear and transparent process for neighborhood groups of new community gardeners to gain official access to vacant public land in their urban communities. The Office of Community Gardens will now have the responsibility and the authority to hold municipalities accountable for responding to the visions of New York State community gardeners and land access advocates for transforming our public land. It is our hope and expectation that the Office of Community Gardens will do so in a manner that effectively addresses the environmental justice issues of the lack of open space equity particularly in underserved, marginalized communities and that it do so in a manner that protects community gardens and their natural environmental resources for the benefit of the broadest possible public good. We also hope that the municipal application forms for accessing vacant public land will be simple, long term and straightforward.
Finally, we are also encouraged by the Legislative Findings praising the crucial role of community gardens across New York State. These words confirm the responsibility of government to safeguard land as a community resource and to create more community gardens.
596 Acres, New York City
Albany Green, Albany
Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, Buffalo
Greenprint Niagara, Niagara Falls
Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Jamestown
New York City Community Garden Coalition, New York City