Blossoms in NYC: In the past two weeks, we facilitated 596 Acres’ summer workshop (photo above and here) and the community land access workshop at NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative’s July meeting (photos here and here; slides here; you can become a member-investor here, or sign up for the monthly newsletter here). Thanks for bringing your knowledge and power! See what’s flowering and get involved in campaigns for community land/building access via the News from the Organizing Acres and Collaborators sections below.
Last Sunday’s NYTimes story on immigrants growing diverse, delicious food in our neighborhoods celebrates that 52 new community gardens registered with GreenThumb since 2009! 596 Acres was instrumental in helping communities create 36 of them out of vacant lots. NYC, we are so happy to help you access space that you and your neighbors make flourish!
Growing our land access advocacy network: This Tuesday, we’re joining Scenic Hudson and its network of land trusts and land banks to build capacity for community land access in cities along the Hudson River, north of NYC. We will share strategies for supporting folks best poised to lead and sustain stewardship of land in our cities – that is, the folks who live nearby! Event information here. Find out more about the cross-pollination of our land access advocacy network and how to bring our tools to your city here.
Dispatches from our team: Our new Director of Development, Rachel Dobkin, shares her motivations here! Community advocacy intern Hannah Foster lets us listen in to the Windmill Community Garden Grand Opening and Block Party here. Groundtruther Tim Nottage sheds light on the once-thriving, now abandoned gazebo bandshell in Poe Park near Fordham, the Bronx, that local advocacy can reopen here (to plan its future, sign up to Organize at livinglotsnyc.org/lot/59324/). Here’s a portrait of our awesome summer team. Thanks y’all!
NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Far Rockaway, Queens – It’s working! At City Council last week, in response to Allison’s testimony against NYCEDC’s proposal to sell the long abandoned NYC Department of Sanitation lot at Nameoke and Augustina (where neighbors have been planning Far Rock Garden), Council Member Donovan Richards said: “This rezoning won’t be passed with the disposition on that lot. We are serious about ensuring that we maintain Parks space there, so that is one thing you will not worry about here.” !! Watch the video clip plus photo here. Join us in thanking Council Member Richards for advocating for his constituents by stopping the disposition and facilitating the transfer of Queens block 15534, lot 70 to NYC Parks ASAP: firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 471-7014. Once protected in Parks inventory, neighbors can plan the space here together! More info and sign up to Organize for updates here: livinglotsnyc.org/lot/4155340070
Brownsville, Brooklyn – Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation is organizing for access to stable indoor space for their neighborhood strengthening programs, which range from running several community farms and farmers’ markets (including Green Valley!), to cooking classes for youth, to computer classes for seniors. They pitched to the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYCREIC) last week (photo here; starts on slide 28 here) and left with a list of member-investors who want to help develop their campaign to transform an abandoned, tax-delinquent warehouse near them into this hub! For an invite to their next planning meeting, email email@example.com or call (718) 316-6092 X3.
Cityline, Brooklyn – We met with BACDYS (photo here) to plan a recreational facility on a big area of unmapped DOT lawn on Conduit Boulevard near Sutter Ave (photo here). Thanks to architect Nandini Bagchee for supporting these organizers! The city made a plan for bringing recreation to this land in 2000 that never came to fruition (it’s here). The success of the BACDYS community garden on MTA land on Glenmore and Forbell Streets that we helped them gain access to was celebrated in the NYTimes this week (read it here). It’s just the beginning for these community land stewards who know just what their neighbors need and see lots of places to make it happen. For next steps, sign up to Organize here: livinglotsnyc.org/lot/4091280070/
OUR LOTS WITH ACCESS
Bushwick, Brooklyn – Eldert Street Community Garden (315 Eldert between Knickerbocker and Irving) returns to Kings County Supreme Court this Wednesday, August 9 at 2pm (360 Adams Street, Room 469) for a settlement conference. Come for a tense convo with your awesome t-shirts (photos here) then probably come back to court soon after to contest the reduction of a precious place into a price tag (“settlement”). Thanks so much to Paula Segal at at #EquitableNeighborhoods of the Community Development Project for continuing to guide us through the court process. Sign up to Organize for updates at livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3034130063/
Bedstuy, Brooklyn to Long Island City, Queens – Meet next Saturday, August 12 at 11:30am at 462 Halsey Community Farm (at Lewis, Bedstuy) for a Food Waste Reduction Bike Ride ending at Smiling Hogshead Ranch (25-30 Skillman Ave in Long Island City). We will see how the EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Hierarchy is implemented in NYC: visit local food distribution and recovery projects, urban farms and gardens, community composting sites, freegan dumpsters, and an industrial food waste processing site (map here). Total ride is approx. 9 miles. RSVP here by next Wednesday, August 9.
Brownsville, Brooklyn – Catholic Charities is moving forward with the demolition of the historic Our Lady of Loreto Church on Sackman between Atlantic and Pacific, even though it breaches the contract they signed with NYC Housing Preservation and Development as a condition for accessing financing for their nearby housing (contract here)! Brownsville Cultural Coalition is organizing to stop the demo and transform the incredible building into a community-stewarded cultural hub, which they pitched to the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative last week (photo here; presentation slide 38 here). Stay tuned for next steps to save the church: sign this petition for landmarking (read how Brownsville deserves landmarks, too!), and be sure to check the box for campaign email updates. Like the group’s facebook page here, too.
Inwood, Manhattan – As NYC makes moves to sell the Inwood Public Library via a Request for Proposals, the Northern Manhattan Community Land Trust is organizing to create a community-based plan for its future! They pitched this vision to the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperativelast week, which its member-investors might vote to invest in. Check campaign progress on their facebook page here and sign this petition here!
We are thrilled to see resources heading to the community land access advocates who have been championing community land trusts (CLTs) across NYC! Read about it here and from our collaborators Picture the Homeless here. We stand ready to continue providing support for organizers who have been leading CLT advocacy in Edgemere, resulting in its inclusion in the City’s Resilient Edgemere Plan (read more here). Thanks everyone. Towards manifestation!
JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Gowanus Canal Conservancy is hiring a Development Director to oversee and grow a comprehensive fundraising strategy and build greater public awareness of their mission and vision: stewarding the Gowanus Canal Watershed. More information and how to apply here.
New Economy Project is hiring a Community Organizer to help build a grassroots movement for economic democracy and racial and economic justice in NYC. You will play a key role in an emerging campaign to create a public bank for NYC. More information and how to apply here.
GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Brooklyn Arts Council invites individual artists, collectives, and small nonprofit organizations to apply to their Community Arts Grant. Get up to $5,000 for arts and cultural projects taking place across Brooklyn in 2018. Attend one of these information sessions this month. Applications due September 20. More information and how to apply 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.