Statement from Black Urban Growers

by NYCCGC on February 19, 2015

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


Karen Washington, BUGs Council Member
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.



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) Share with your networks.


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
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


February General Meeting


Our next general meeting will be this Thursday, 2/19, at 6:30pm. Please join us to discuss the status of the threatened HPD community gardens and our upcoming elections. As our guest speaker, Steven Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, will join us to discuss the “foodshed conservation plan”, a strategy to secure […]

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New York Times HPD/Community Garden Article


IN COMMUNITY GARDENS, A NEW WEED? New York Times FEB. 11, 2015 By MICHAEL TORTORELLO   The trouble started with an R.F.Q: a “request for qualifications” in the bloodless shorthand of city government. But that’s not quite right. The shot that started the latest skirmish in New York’s never-ending garden wars wasn’t an R.F.Q., but […]

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Thank you for a successful rally! Keep up the momentum


  About 150 people assembled yesterday on the steps of City Hall with kindred New Yorkers, citizens, grassroots organizations, and community leaders, aligned in solidarity with our vision and our stance. Among the local elected representatives who spoke on our behalf were: NYC Council Members Mark Levine, 7th district, Manhattan; Rosie Mendez, 2nd district, Manhattan; Antonio […]

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For Immediate Release: Rally to Save Community Gardens


Contact: Aziz Dehkan,, 973.222.5413  On Tuesday, February 10th, at 9 A.M. the NYCCGC, community members, partnering housing organizations, and various elected representatives will be rallying on the steps of city hall to protest the lack of transparency and community involvement in issuing an RFQ to developers to build affordable housing on “vacant” lots throughout the […]

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City Hall Rally to Save HPD Gardens Tuesday February 10th at 9am


  SAVE OUR COMMUNITY GARDENS! Join the New York City Community Garden Coalition & Concerned New Yorkers for a Rally and Press Conference on the Steps of City Hall (Manhattan) – Tuesday, February 10 at 9 a.m. We are demanding that the mayor stop HPD from selling  17 active community gardens for development when there […]

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Rally at City Hall – Planning Meeting


Hello everyone, We will be holding a general meeting tomorrow, Tuesday February 3rd, 6:30 – 8:30 to discuss plans for our February 10th Rally at City Hall. Please note that we  will be meeting at: First Spanish Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, 157 South 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211. It’s at the corner of Dirggs Ave. at […]

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Steps for Gardens in Danger


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


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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