The New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) is deeply troubled over the number of sites listed in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s most recent RFQ for the New Infill Home Ownership Opportunities Program (NIHOP) and Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP) that are currently thriving community gardens.

The NYCCGC and our membership are strong proponents for the construction of affordable housing, and we applaud the Mayor for working to create direly-needed accessible housing through the five boroughs. However, we see no benefit to the community when developers are allowed to build on sites that are active community gardens, consistently providing significant benefits to their neighborhoods.

Community Gardens have for decades been an integral part of the fabric of New York City. These gardens are living symbols of unity built by neighbors who joined together to turn abandoned, trash-strewn lots into vibrant community oases. Community Gardens in the City represent a truly holistic, resilient, cost-effective neighborhood-based source of sustainable food production, increasing people’s access to locally grown fresh produce, while negating effects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

NYCCGC considers it unsound policy to destroy community gardens, and selling land to developers when less than 10% of HPD’s vacant lots contain flourishing community gardens. Given these numbers it is clear that destroying community gardens forever is not only wrong, it is patently unnecessary.

At the beginning of 2015 we face the biggest crisis of losing community gardens in a decade.Community gardeners city-wide thought they had seen the end of proposals like this.

In 1996 former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani chose 115 community gardens to auction off to the highest bidder. Working diligently with State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, NYCCGC and our partners obtained a restraining order that in turn forged the 2002 agreement which led to more community garden protections. At that time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed the agreement put an end to the debate between the need for housing and the need for community gardens.

While pursuing the creation of affordable housing, it is needlessly destructive for the Mayor to thwart the sweat equity that citizens have put into community gardens. Affordable housing and community gardens are not mutually exclusive.

NYCCGC urges the Mayor to direct HPD to remove these sites, as well all other active community gardens, from its most recent list of developable sites. HPD has an abundance of potential sites on which it can develop affordable housing.

Open, vacant lots should be prioritized as buildable over those with active uses such as community gardens. The Mayor should pursue policies to permanently protect every community garden while at the same time creating affordable housing units in New York City for our children and future generations.

 

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A Garden District in NYC?

by NYCCGC on January 22, 2015

Gardeners in Community Board 3 are putting forth a proposal to create a Community Garden District. The following has been re-posted with permission. For more information, check out Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS).

 

A proposal to create a Community Gardens District on the Lower East Side is going before the full Community Board 3 on Tuesday evening, January 27. We need all the support we can muster to get this proposal to pass. Working together we can do this!

We seek to establish a Community Gardens District to include all community gardens located within the boundaries of Community Board 3 (CB3), in Manhattan. These gardens would be mapped and designated as parks land, named a special district and continue to be managed by community based volunteers.
Please take a moment and sign the online petition below to create Community Gardens District in Community Board 3.

We are asking the City to map and designate these gardens as parklands, and to help up create a Community Gardens District to reflect the existence of such a large concentration of these wonderful assets in our community.

http://Lungsnyc.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=dc6afaa2554998de347993c18&id=3d72ca4b5f&e=0b89438b5d

 

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Gardens on Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) List of Sites Available for Housing Development

01.21.2015

Reposted with permission from 596 Acres Last week, NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) published a list of 181 City-owned properties included in a Request for Qualifications for developers to build rental and ownership housing within the limits set by the program and in exchange get the land for free. The program is described here: […]

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January General Meeting

01.20.2015

Please join us this Thursday for our monthly general meeting (we apologize for the confusion last week!). We’ll be discussing the latest developments with gardens on HPD property, over a dozen of which are being offered for development. In attendance will be representatives from some of these gardens as well as allied organizations. Thursday, January […]

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General Meeting Date Change

01.15.2015

The General Meeting scheduled for Thursday January 15th has been re-scheduled to January 22nd. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope to see many of you on the 22nd. Thanks – Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director

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Notes on the 12/15 Boardwalk Community Garden Hearing

12.18.2014

On Monday December 15th the Boardwalk Community Garden case had its day in court. Given the limited nature of the hearing, we were only able to convey to Judge Sweeney the major parts of the case, and in quite broad strokes.  There are a lot of issues that we didn’t cover in Court that we […]

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THANK YOU! Party this Thursday

12.17.2014

THANK YOU We packed the court! Thank you so much to everyone who came out in support of Boardwalk Community Garden yesterday. This case could impact all community gardens on public land in New York City, and your solidarity rang loud and clear. We will provide an update on the case soon (or come to […]

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PACK THE COURT! Stand with Boardwalk Community Garden

12.08.2014

After the previous judge recused himself, the Boardwalk Community Garden has a new judge and a new court date! Please help us PACK THE COURT and show Judge Peter Paul Sweeney how important this case is to the future of community gardens in NYC. December 15, 2014 Brooklyn State Supreme Court 360 Adams Street (near […]

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Boardwalk Community Garden Lawsuit Update

11.24.2014

By NYCCGC President Ray Figueroa  MARK YOUR CALENDARS & SPREAD THE WORD – COME OUT TO THE RALLY & PRESS CONFERENCE at 10:30 AM and to PACK THE COURTROOM at 12:15 PM on MONDAY, the 15TH of DECEMBER at BROOKLYN (KINGS COUNTY) STATE SUPREME COURT, 360 ADAMS STREET (in the same plaza as Borough Hall). WHY? Read on. After […]

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Friends of Brook Park Youth Farm Featured in Alternatives to Incarceration Report

11.23.2014

Ray’s Program at the Friends of Brook Park Youth Farm highlighted in newly released Alternatives To Incarceration (ATI) Report, and Ray was a featured ATI Panel Presenter! NYCCGC president, Ray Figueroa, was a featured panelist on a panel: “MORE COMMUNITY RE-INVESTMENT, LESS YOUTH INCARCERATION” along with the Commissioner of the New York City Dept. of Probation, the Associate Commissioner for […]

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