Gardener at Maple Street Community Garden

Our summer workshop is this Sunday, July 23 from 3pm to 6pm at the Rockaway Summer House (504 Beach 68th Street in Arverne – photo here). Learn from folks who have successfully organized with their neighbors to gain access to under-utilized lots in their lives, and now steward open community spaces together. We will skill share and troubleshoot! Stay after for the house’s pay-what-you-wish vegetarian soul food dinner. Register here ASAP or contact or (718) 316-6092, ext. 703. More information here.

596 Acres will highlight pathways NYers have historically taken to create lasting beneficial community places in their neighborhoods at the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative’s July meetingnext Tuesday, July 25 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch (10 Grand Army Plaza) in the Information Commons Lab. This meeting is great for people and groups planning new community spaces, seeking stable work and cultural space, organizing to preserve existing ones, or interested in supporting grassroots real estate development. RSVP here, at or (718) 316-6092 Ext 5. More information here.

TEAM UPDATES: Help us welcome Stephanie Alvarado as our Director of Advocacy and Rachel Dobkin as our Director of Development! Learn about them here. Read Intern Insights from Grountruther Sam Kohn about IDing closed NYC Parks Buildings that grassroots advocacy can reopen. We are honored to be building neighborhood strength together with Crown Heights residents and Brooklyn Community Foundation (cover photo: Inspired Storytellers for BCF)! 

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – The Lexington 1801 Block Association craves a community green space on their block and got in touch. We suggested they check if the former city-owned playground at Marcus Garvey and Lexington Ave that members of our team noted looked neglected in 2015 was still locked and abandoned. This land became city-owned owned via tax debt foreclosure between 1976 and 1979 and became a playground through a partnership that included GrowNYC (when it was the NYC Council on the Environment) likely via its discontinued lots for tots program. Now the group is organizing to return it to public use! Join them in putting together a plan and collecting signatures. Plug in with Shanna:, (347) 762-1485. Sign up to Organize here:

East Harlem, Manhattan – On Saturday, Picture the Homeless led a community visioning session for a decades vacant city-owned lot at 107-111 East 123rd Street (between Park and Lex) to plan its future and demand swift action on the Housing Not Warehousing Act! This set of bills will require our city to be transparent and accountable about vacant public and private properties, interrupting the narrative of land scarcity that permeates talk of real estate and space in NYC. With opportunity ID’d, people who need homes, work and other spaces can bring them back to beneficial use in partnership with the city. Watch Picture the Homeless’ great video here and join us in helping get the Act passed with steps here. Sign up to Organize for updates about this lot here:

Far Rockaway, Queens – Far Rock Garden organizers are changing hearts, minds, and top-down plans: “Before casting her vote, [City Planning] Commissioner Ana Levin said she would have preferred if the commission were not voting on one particular land use action encompassed within the rezoning proposal: the disposal of a lot owned by the Department of Sanitation to a private developer” (read more in the press). Local advocates, the Community Board and the Borough President all support the city keeping the long vacant lot at Nameoke and Augustina so it can become a public open space that will help combat the 11 acre deficit of open space that NYCEDC anticipates will result from its Downtown Far Rockaway Plan, rather than selling it to a developer who will build suburban-style housing. Advocacy to have NYCEDC lift its hold and transfer jurisdiction to NYC Parks ASAP continues as the ULURP clock ticks, with 50-day City Council review and public hearing as the next step. Plug in with Allison at, Travis at or (646) 662-0585, or sign up to Organize for upcoming actions to take here:

Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn – Join Maple Street Community Garden (237 Maple between Rogers and Nostrand) for their summer potluck this Saturday, July 22 from 2pm to 6pm! If you plan on coming and/or bringing something, please let Sydney know at Bringing a food item isn’t required but is encouraged. Event information and find out helpful things to bring here.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – Eldert Street Community Garden (315 Eldert between Knickerbocker and Irving) returns to Kings County Supreme Court next Wednesday, July 26 at 9am, 360 Adams Street, Room 469. Photo here. Show up so the judge sees that real people have a stake in protecting this inclusive community space! Connect to the garden and get updates by joining their facebook group here.

North Brooklyn – Researchers at Columbia University and Barnard College, in collaboration with Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAGG), are looking for North Brooklynites who would like to participate in a confidential study about lead in soils in New York. If you are interested testing your soil for lead for free, please go to this wesite and click on the “Sign up” button. More information at or check out the website’s FAQ. Along with 596 Acres, these researchers and NAGG are part of the Legacy Lead consortium!

Rockaway, Queens – Next Saturday, July 29 from 10am to 2pm, join the NYC Compost Project at Queens Botanical Garden in partnership with Smiling Hogshead Ranch and Rockaway’s community land stewards for a bike tour of Rockaway’s community compost sites. Ride starts at 384 Beach 45th Street and travels to various community gardens. Please RSVP hereEvent information here.

Seed-saving, soil health, carpentry and more: learn skills at upcoming GreenThumb workshops! 

Citizens Committee for New York City is seeking a full-time Outreach Coordinator to assist with all tasks involved in community outreach and grants management, with an emphasis on administrative support. Interested individuals should share their commitment to resident-led community change. Email a cover letter and resume to by July 23More information here.

The Fund for Public Health in NY is hiring a NYCHA Urban Farm Project Coordinator. Among other tasks, you would help NYCHA residents build capacity to garden at the NYCHA urban farms and manage the process of soliciting local community partners to create new farms. More information online here or email

Partnerships for Parks’ new Parks Build Healthy Communities Grant supports community groups with small grants of up to $5,000 for physical improvements, events, and programming in parks that contribute to community health and well-being. Groups in Corona, North Corona, Flushing, and East Flushing are prioritized. Learn more in a webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, July 18 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm: register here. Attend an information session at Flushing Town Hall (Northern Boulevard and Linden Pl) this Thursday, July 20 from 6:30pm to 8pmregister here. Individual consultations available and more information here. Contact Mike at (212) 602-5348 or with any questions. Applications due August 5 at midnight.

Citizens Committee for New York City, the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office have a new Reuse and Repair Grant. Get up to $2000 to support New Yorkers reusing, repairing, and refurbishing 100% of all discarded products that can be reused in some capacity, with the balance being recycled. Learn more here. Contact Katie at or (212) 822-9567 with questions. Deadline to apply is September 12.

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.

Vintage 596 Acres broadsheet, circa 2011

Vintage 596 Acres, circa 2011. Start with your municipality’s available data about vacant public land. Then get it to the most impacted!

In solidarity,
596 Acres

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