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Whether you’re in the midst of your campaign to transform the vacant lot in your life with your neighbors, you already have access, or you want to get started, come together with 596 Acres this Saturday, December 2 from 2pm to 5pm at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (439 W 127th Street near Amsterdam and W 126th) in Harlem for our end of year organizer meeting! We’ll share stories, learn from each others’ experiences, and discover partnership opportunities. Let’s strategize! To RSVP, please email or call (718) 316-6092 ext. 2 by this Thursday, November 30Event information hereFlier here.

Far Rockaway, Queens – Local organizers succeeded in convincing the city not to sell the long abandoned city-owned lot on Nameoke and Augustina where they were planning a neighborhood farm, and to make it a public park instead! This evening, Monday, November 27 from 6pm to 8pm, at the Queens Library at Far Rockaway (1637 Central Ave at Mott Ave), join your neighbors who have been leading the planning and advocacy in updating the design for the future public park that the city now has funds to build here. To connect, call Allison at (646) 653-9813 or email See the advocacy story from the bottom up and sign up to Organize over here:

Rockaway Beach, Queens – In 2014, neighbors visioned a waterfront park for vacant public land at Beach 88th Street on Jamaica Bay as part of the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program in the devastating wake of Superstorm Sandy. With our support, residents of Beach 85th and Beach 84th Street continued to advocate for their park, which includes recreation (kayak launch!), environmental remediation (oyster reefs!) and tidal flooding prevention (wetland restoration!) in 2016, when NYC Parks requested input for what to do with remaining FEMA funding. It worked! NYC Parks will host “scoping meetings” to gather more community input as they make it real. Get the dates of those meetings by email or phone when they’re announced by signing up to Organize on the lot page here:

Springfield Gardens, Queens – Nicole, Project Manager for Friends of Idlewild Park Preserve and a new student at Farm School NYC, has picked up a campaign that started in December 2014 to transform a vacant public lot at 220-04 147 Avenue on the corner with Springfield Park, in the inventory of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, into a community garden. The July 2015 proposal here. With support from NYC Parks GreenThumb staff, they are preparing to present an updated plan to the community board. Neighbors: now’s a great time to plug into planning the space and to sign up as a future steward! Email to plug in, or sign up to Organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – Linda lives near a vacant public lot on Utica Ave at Herkimer that was once part of the public street, but has long been unmapped and unused. She wants to turn it into a community space! Her next step is to reach out to the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT), which still has jurisdiction over the lot, to see if they have any plans for it. They can potentially work out a deal for stewardship of the land under DOT jurisdiction, or under the jurisdiction of a different city agency via a campaign to have the lot transferred, depending on the group’s goals. Linda is also inquiring about the potential of several Housing Preservation and Development sites on Chauncey between Malcolm X and Pitkin to become community spaces; most of them are designated to become housing following a plan where NYC has sold lots for $1 to developers to build housing that they then sell to folks with incomes over twice as much as the median for the community district. Join Linda as she takes next steps by contacting us at (718) 316-6092 or clicking Organize on the DOT land’s lot page here:

Stapleton, Staten Island – HEALTH 4 Youth, GreenThumb, NYPD, Compost Project, and City Harvest have been working collaboratively with the community to build a modest pop-up community garden in a portion of the large vacant public lot, in the inventory of NYPD, on 40 Hill Street. HEALTH 4 Youth, with funding from the Building Healthy Communities initiative, is purchasing supplies for the garden. GreenThumb has been working with NYPD on a legal use agreement and will provide material support, technical assistance, and outreach. City Harvest has been doing stellar community outreach. Compost Project is committed to providing composting technical support and outreach. This happened because GrowNYC staff hung one of our signs here back in March after chatting about this opportunity at a workshop! To get involved, contact Susan at (646) 412-0721 or, and sign up to Organize here:

Harlem, Manhattan – Manhattan Community Board 10 wrote this letter to NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in support of Nelson Mandela Community Garden, the wildflower meadow that neighbors made out of a vacant lot on West 126th street between Frederick Douglass and ACP (photo here). As per Chapter 42 of Title 28 of the Rules of the City of New York, HPD must provide a list of available City-owned vacant land within a certain area if they want gardeners to move, and this legal requirement has not been adequately met. The unity and perseverance of the most impacted people in protecting this needed public resource they made and steward is inspiring! Connect to the garden via their facebook page here or sign up to Organize at to join the campaign to preserve community-stewarded land in Harlem.

Harlem, Manhattan – Luigi’s Garden (227 West 115th Street between Frederick Douglass and ACP), with NYC Parks and Harlem Tree LC, is hosting a street tree care day this Saturday, December 2 from 9am to 11am! Meet at the garden that organizers made after gaining access to a vacant public lot in 2015. Free coffee and donuts! Flier on their facebook here. Email with questions or to sign up, or sign up here.

Flatbush, Brooklyn – Need compost? Local businesses and community members can order it in bulk at a suggested donation price (flier here). In the last year, Q Gardens’ all volunteer-run community composting program has taken in over 9 tons of neighbors’ food scraps and turned it into high-quality compost! Contact to get some, and learn more at Neighbors gained access to this formerly vacant MTA land near the Church Ave stop on the B/Q in 2014 with our help, making it a beacon of local remediation.

Grant-Writing 101 is Tuesday, December 12 from 6pm to 8pm at St. Mary’s Recreation Center at 450 St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx. Este taller se ofrecerá con traducción al Español. Join Partnerships for Parks, Citizens Committee for NYC, Friends of the High Line, and NYC Parks GreenThumb for a workshop and info-session to demystify the grant-writing process by discussing tips for applying for community-oriented grants. Register here. For more information, please email or call (212) 602-5348.

Many community gardens and community compost sites are accepting fall leaves, which they’ll turn into healthy soil! Find out where to drop yours on NYC Compost Project’s map here. Accepting leaves? Get your community place on the map by contacting the NYC Compost Project near you. Thanks for being our infrastructure!

Build skills and connect! All upcoming GreenThumb events & workshops listed here. 

Apply for fellowships in Community Planning and Participatory Design for new Design Trust project, ‘Power in Place: Building Community Wealth and Well-Being in Mott Haven-Port Morris,’ in partnership with South Bronx Unite! You will support the creation of a community land trust, a non-profit, community-based organization that acquires and holds land in perpetuity to preserve its long-term availability and affordability for housing and other community uses (example here). Learn more and apply here by new deadline: next Thursday, December 7 at 5pm. 

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.

The Stanton Building Task Force continues their heroic work of transforming a closed NYC Parks building, at Stanton between Chrystie and Forsyth in Sara D Roosvelent Park, into a resiliency center for everyone in the Lower East Side

The Stanton Building Task Force continues their heroic work of transforming a closed NYC Parks building, at Stanton between Chrystie and Forsyth in Sara D Roosevelt Park, into a resiliency center for everyone in the Lower East Side! It will be refuge, resource hub and sanctuary in regular times, and for when climate chaos brings more storms (it’s outside of the flood zone, says the powerpoint in the photo above). Connect to their campaign by joining their email list here or liking their facebook page here. Learn the history of their campaign to turn this underused Parks building, plus click Organize and sign up for updates, on the lot page here:

Donate to 596 Acres to support us in amplifying the power of communities like this one to take care of themselves and shape their own fates! Donate here.

In solidarity,
596 Acres

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