Maple Street Community Garden crew

People who live in neighborhoods everywhere are in the best position to develop them! At the 596 Acres Community Land Access Booth this September, we share info about the vacant lots and buildings in your life and how you and your neighbors can organize to transform and steward them. Visit us next Saturday, September 9 from 1pm to 5pm at Save Our Streets Bed-Stuy’s Back to School Event (Dekalb Avenue between Thompkins and Marcy Aves) and at Girls Everywhere Matter’s Carnival of LOVE (at Three Black Cats at Belmont and Rockaway Aves in Brownsville), or the following Saturday, September 16 from 12pm to 4pm at GreenThumb’s Harvest Fair (Brooklyn Bears Pacific Garden on Pacific Street and Flatbush Ave in Park Slope). Event info here. Thanks for being the city’s heart, mind, and vital infrastructure!

Grassroots-led development of abandoned, privately-owned land in our neighborhoods WORKS! Read the press release detailing the multi-year community land access campaign here. Thank you to the gardeners, advocates, descendants of the immigrant family who used to own the land, Equitable Neighborhoods at the Community Development Project, Council Member Eugene, Brooklyn Borough President Adams, and NYC Parks for working together to secure this thriving public resource, which Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighbors created from a dumping ground, and steward for everyone! Visit the never-locked garden at 237 Maple Street and Rogers, or find out about upcoming community events and work days via the community’s new Facebook group hereGroup cover photo by Inspired Storytellers for Brooklyn Community Foundation.

El Barrio, Manhattan – This month, we met José at a Greenthumb event in El Barrio/East Harlem. He lives by the vacant city-owned lot on E 102nd Street and Lexington Avenue and wants to organize to transform it into a community green space! Meet our director of advocacy Stephanie and José in front of the lot this Thursday, August 31 at noon to plan next steps. Sign up to Organize for updates here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – 462 Halsey Community Farm (at Lewis) is processing compost this Wednesday, August 30 starting at 6:30pm. Anyone interested in being a part of 462 Halsey is welcome to come volunteer! Wear work clothes. Connect with gardeners on facebook here.

Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn – La Casita Verde (451 Bedford at Division) invites you to their upcoming events! Next Saturday, September 9 from 7:30pm to 9pm, attend a book talk on The City After Climate Change with author Vanessa Keith. Save the date for other upcoming events listed on this flyer, from conversations about our water system, to music for the pleasure and benefit of plants, to craft-making and medicinal plant identifying! Events are FREE and open to the public, but RSVP is required because of limited space to Brooke Singer at Here’s and the facebook event page and garden group’s website.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – On August 9, gardeners showed up to court in style for Eldert Street Garden. Court dates continue! Save this date: Wednesday, October 18 at 2pm, Brooklyn’s Kings County Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street (room 469). The judge will hear oral arguments about the illegal sale of the nonprofit-owned land where gardeners grow food and community. Join us to show the judge that real people have a stake in what happens to this patch of community land! Wear a blank t-shirt and end up with a way cooler one (photo here)Join the Eldert Street Garden facebook group here.

Committed to the grassroots-led development of your neighborhood? The NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYCREIC) is seeking nominees for its new board! Guide this group of over 500 NYers pooling money and power to invest in real estate that preserves, restores and enhances local spaces for cultural, commercial and charitable uses in NYC. People engaged in organizing to keep their neighborhoods running through the years of disinvestment that have preceded gentrification are encouraged to apply! Nominate yourself or someone else, or ask questions by emailing or calling (718) 316-6092 X 5. More information hereFlyer you can download, print and post in your local spots here (PDF).

Join Newtown Creek Alliance next Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 from 11am to 3pm at Penny Bridge in Greenpoint (where Meeker Avenue dead ends at Newtown Creek) for Knotweed Knockout. Volunteers are requested to help with weeding and path-making to make the waterfront more pleasant for people and pollinators. Gloves, shovels, trash bags and all other needed materials will be provided. More info and other upcoming events here.

This New York City Atlas of Urban Renewal by Jakob Winkler (596 Acres and alum) is a practical guide that unpacks what Urban Renewal is, how it makes the places we are, and how the most impacted NYers have intervened to bring these top-down plans back down to earth! Use it to organize your campaigns. Read it here.

Parks Equity Initiative funding is in the hands of your Council Members! They have the option of funding NYC Department of Parks & Recreation gardens through the provision of various materials and equipment, including soil, lumber, plants, tools, picnic tables, rainwater harvesting systems, picnic tables, sheds, and greenhouses. They can also fund the renovation of other Parks amenities, like closed comfort stations and community centers! Council Members are expected making decisions now, so contact them ASAP to make the case for why they should allocate those earmarked resources for your community space! Look up their contact info here.

The Reuse and Repair Grant from Citizens Committee for New York City is looking to fund neighborhood projects that reuse, repair, refurbish and recycle potential waste products — or that help us do so! Learn more here. Contact Katie at or (212) 822-9567 with questions. Deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 12.

New Yorkers for Parks is giving away half a million daffodil bulbs for planting in community gardens, public parks, street tree pits, or other public spaces! Order them 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.

Allison testifies to City Council to save a City-owned lot in Far Rockaway from private development

Far Rockaway’s community land access advocates won! Allison (left) and her neighbors have been organizing since last fall to transform an abandoned Department of Sanitation lot sat near her home on Nameoke and Augustina Aves from weeds and trash into a community farm. So when they found out about the city’s plan to sell this opportunity for grassroots community development to an outside private developer to build suburban style housing, they organized to have the city keep it and transfer it to NYC Parks instead! Here we are testifying together at City Council last month. It worked! Last week, City Council’s Land Use Committee requested this lot be removed from the legislation that would have allowed its sale (image here)! Now the real work begins: grassroots-led planning for the future community green space. Get invites to the planning meetings: sign up to Organize at!

In solidarity,
mara for 596 Acres

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