Statement from Black Urban Growers

by NYCCGC on February 19, 2015

A belated re-posting from Black Urban Growers (BUGS):

 

PRESS RELEASE
Contact:
Karen Washington, BUGs Council Member
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
February 10, 2015
Black Urban Growers Joins Fight to Save NYC Community Gardens 

Black Urban Growers (BUGs) joins the New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) in urging the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to halt the indiscriminate sale and destruction of seventeen community gardens located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Despite an inventory of over 750 properties, the HPD lists the seventeen community garden lots as available sites for development in its most recent RFQ for the New Infill Home Ownership Opportunities Program (NIHOP) and Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP). While BUGs is one hundred percent supportive of the Mayor’s aggressive commitment to provide 200,000 units of affordable housing within five years, the organization recommends it be done through creative comprehensive planning that values community gardens and the multiple benefits to neighborhoods that they provide.

“Community gardens are at the forefront of the resurgence of urban agriculture and the redemption of these neighborhoods that are now attracting development. Located in mostly low income and working class neighborhoods of color, community gardens have contributed to building vibrant communities. Neighbors came together and took devastation and despair and turned it into resiliency and prosperity,” stated Karen Washington, Urban Farmer, Community Activist and recipient of the 2014 James Beard Leadership Award.
Community gardens contribute to the environmental and social wellbeing in many ways including:

1. Crime reduction, through alternatives-to-incarceration programs for formerly-incarcerated youth and youth who are court-adjudicated

2. Economic development, through market programs

3. Increased property values

4. Value-added education resources for local under-resourced schools

5. Heat island mitigation

6. Oxygenation and air filtration

7. Storm water run-off mitigation

8. Carbon sequestration

9. Increasing localized food production

10. Providing sites for active organic waste processing

“We urge HPD and the Mayor de Blasio to recognize the various ways in which community gardens contribute to the sustainability and resiliency of our communities,” said Ray Figueroa, President of the New York City Community Garden Coalition.

BUGs members support the preservation of communities and their community gardens as a way of affirming the human rights and self-determination of all people. Development does not and cannot justify destruction of these valuable community spaces, especially in neighborhoods where they were created as courageous responses to the economic violence of unemployment and poverty. With over 750 properties in its inventory, the HPD has plenty of non-garden properties that can be allocated for affordable housing.

“We join the NYCCGC and our fellow community gardeners in urging HPD and Mayor de Blasio to remove all active community gardens from the HPD development list. We are confident that it is within the city’s means to come up with a plan that properly balances the needs for affordable housing without sacrificing the need for community gardens,” said Karen Washington.

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D Rooney and Sheryll Durrant, fellows at the Design Trust for Public Space, will be leading a series of workshops on the Farming Concrete (aka Five Borough Farm) Toolkit for measuring the good things happening in your garden. Want to know how many pounds of food scraps are going into your compost instead of the landfill? Want to measure the impact of your garden on gardeners’ and visitors’ moods? The toolkit is full of protocols to help your garden set (and achieve) goals, communicate with funders and policy makers (ahem HPD), and help make the case for more community gardens, school gardens, and urban farms. There’s also a handy free website online where you can store the data (the Barn), which lets you download your raw data as a spreadsheet or a summary report as a PDF anytime you want.

RSVP to 5BFoutreach (at) farmingconcrete.org. Share with your networks.

WORKSHOPS:

Saturday February 28 – 1pm-3pm
 
Flux Factory
39-31 29th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
Courtesy of Gil Lopez of BBG and Smiling Hogshead Ranch

Thursday March 5 – 6pm-8pm 
Kelly Street Garden Office
924 Kelly Street
Bronx, NY 10459

Sunday March 8 – 1:30pm-3:30pm
The Lab @ Brooklyn Central Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Thursday March 12 – 6pm-8pm 
Just Food Office
1133 Avenue of the Americas
Suite 1515
New York, NY  10036
This workshop will be for technical assistance providers

Monday March 23rd – 6-8pm
Citizens Committee for New York City
Please RSVP for the address

Friday March 27 – 6pm-8pm
The Doe Fund
2960 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
New York, NY 10039
 
CONFERENCES: 
Saturday 3/14 – Making Brooklyn Bloom: We have either a table in Palm Room all day, and we are also conducting a “Lunch Session” workshop – 1hr
Saturday 3/21 – Grow Together: A 90min workshop in the afternoon slot – 2:15-3:30
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February General Meeting

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02.04.2015

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Rally at City Hall – Planning Meeting

02.02.2015

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Steps for Gardens in Danger

02.01.2015

Reposted with permission from 596 Acres By John from Electric Ladybug Garden (Harlem) in collaboration with 596 Acres   STEPS FOR GARDENS IN DANGER 1. Don’t panic! Many people just like you have saved their gardens. You and your garden members have a lot of work to do if you are going to save it. […]

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NYCCGC Statement Regarding Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Housing Development Plan

01.29.2015

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 […]

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