2016 Board Elections & March General Meeting

Join us for our March general meeting and board elections! A list of candidates and bios are below.

Thursday, March 17, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 E. 11th St., Manhattan

In addition to elections, this meeting will cover our usual general meeting topics: updates in community garden preservation cases, any announcements from your garden, etc. Bill LoSasso, new Executive Director of GreenThumb, will join us for a meet-and-greet and discussion.

New candidates:
Robin Dickens, Mandela Community Garden
Angela Maull, Chenchita's Group Community Garden
Cindy Nibbelink, Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Community Garden
Nando Rodriguez, Brotherhood Sister Sol

Existing board members up for re-election:
Mara Gittleman
Magali Regis
Haja Worley


Robin Dickens

A lifelong backyard gardener, I look forward to joining the NYCCGC Board and learning how best to help in establishing, growing and preserving our beautiful NYC gardens.
As a homeowner, in the same house my family has lived in for over 85 years, I was ecstatic to see the Mandela Community Garden members at work in the abandoned lot adjoining my yard. I was so happy to join, and it will be a pleasure to be part of transforming this space into the garden and community venue we're all envisioning.
During my five years in insurance sales, I've had many opportunities to address the varied communities of NYC--in their schools, churches, parks, homes & workplaces--about the importance of planning ahead and sowing for the future: They would totally get the need to fight for and preserve community gardens!

At the same time, the artist in me has always been amazed and inspired by all the beautiful ways each community has managed to engineer their personal "imprint" onto their cityscape: whether through murals, fence art, mosaics, graffiti, seasonal decor on homes. Also, all manner of gardening is going on, from rooftop gardens, manicured lawns with cottage-styled planting beds, single flowerpots on windowsills, or the many gardens cultivated by the lovely 84 years-young Marian Dolphus of South Jamaica Houses, my new muse! A colleague and I met her by chance last month, when I happened to comment to a NYCHA worker about how amazing this building looked because of the plantings. He said his mother had organized it all, and took us up to meet her. She welcomed two weary agents into her apartment full of gardening awards, plaques, citations and large-format color photos of all her various gardens, representing decades of work and care: it energized our day and brightened my week. I want to be her when I grow up!

But she also helped me realize: "community" can mean so much more than just your immediate few blocks or neighborhood, once we've all found common ground around such a beautiful cause: a greener NYC. Thank you for considering my appointment to your Board.



Cindy Nibbelink

Cynthia Nibbelink Worley (aka Cindy Worley) was born in a huge old Iowa farmhouse which, sans roof and windows, was the only thing left standing for miles around after a tornado struck only months after her birth. She grew up in Iowa cornfields, or hayfields—as you will—among tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, melons & beans and between the rows of corn. Little brown striped ground squirrels were her constant companions.

One way or another, she got to New York City, leaving the cornrows and ground squirrels mostly behind, where she has lived, in Harlem on West 122nd Street for the last 30+ years. With her landlord and friend, Mr. Joseph Daniel Wilson, and a group of teenagers, she founded, in 1985, what has become known as the Joseph Daniel Wilson Memorial Garden on West 122nd Street. Cindy met Haja Worley in 1887. Their close friendship blossomed into marriage and together with friends and neighbors they became part of the Community Garden Movement. Together, Haj & Cindy were part of the original City-wide garden coalition, which, through trials and turbulations, has become what it is today—almost twenty years later. Cindy took Giuliani et al to court in the late 90’s arguing (foolishly but fervently) that the destruction of community gardens is “domestic violence” as defined by the United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 4—and persuasively contended by Michael Diamond in his revolutionary book: If You Can Keep It: A Roadmap to To Environmental Security, 1996.

Cindy is passionate, though not always considered reasonable, in her belief that—and fight to make— community gardens [are] one of the most critical pieces of our urban infrastructure—in terms of health, food provision, youth education, societal wellbeing and more.

Cindy holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of Gypsies, Animals (poems, Green River Press), and, recently, Wild Wild Roses (poems, Mulberry Garden Press), with The Magic Detective and Other Realities, A Book of Tales soon to be released. In NYC, she has taught at Malcolm King College, Marymount Manhattan College, and with the NYC Department of Education. She is, obviously, married to Haja Worley and they reside, with their pets and others, on 122nd Street across from the JD Wilson Garden.



Nando Rodriguez

My name is Alnardo Rodriguez, better known as Nando. I was born and partly raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan by a single parent, my mother. I am the youngest of six and one of three high school graduate, but the only one to go and finish college.

From 1988 to 1993 I live in the Dominican Republic, where I had the opportunity to experience the beautiful farming life, while witnessing the struggles young people went through living in a developing country. Both made me become more active toward focusing on developing what I call “Youth Friendly Environment”. I returned to New York City in 1993.

In the spring of 1994, at 14 teen I joined Open Road of New York a non-profit organization with a mission to create spaces with and for young people. While a member of Open Road I became a co-creator/designer of: the Hot Box (a compost bin design), Participatory Design Process (a process to help a community design a space) and Open Road Park (a J.O.P. site located on 12th street bet 1st Ave ad Avenue A). In 1995 I joined The Brotherhood and Sister Sol, a member of one of the founding chapter of the non-profit organization (Knowledge of Self chapter). This organization’s mission is to give young people Love, Guidance, Opportunity and Support, while helping them become critical thinkers during their development from a youth to an adult. I am also the founder of their Environmental program and currently employed full time by The Brotherhood/ Sister Sol as the Environmental Coordinator/ Chapter Leader.

I am a high school graduate from East Side Community High School class of 98’ and a bachelor graduate from State University of New York at Purchase College class of 03’. I am an award winner of multiple community organizing awards from both educational facilities. I am also a Master Composter of 15’ from LESEC, a certified Citizen Pruner from Trees NY and certified Roots to Success Environmental Educator. Currently I am a resource board member of Manhattan Land Trust, Coordinator of Frank White Memorial Garden (a green-thumb garden in West Harlem).

Currently 36 years old with a passion to be engaged with my community and continue to help young people have a voice and equal space in society.


Mara Gittleman: Mara is the Farm Education Manager at KCC Urban Farm at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY. Mara founded and is currently Project Director of Farming Concrete, a community science project to help gardeners measure the good things happening in their gardens, and is on the board of NYCCGC.

Magali Regis: My involvement with community gardens started 20 years ago when two firemen came knocking at my apartment door (after a complaint from my landlord) ordering me to remove all the plants I had growing on the fire escape. I then transferred my plants to a local community garden, the Creative Little Garden on East 6th Street in the East Village and became a member. It was the mid-90s and many gardens were being bulldozed by the Giuliani administration and the land sold to developers. My friend and neighbor Francoise Cachelin, an avid and determined garden activist, drafted me to attend rallies at City Hall, make flyers and phone calls to elected officials and help plan the ‘Standing our ground’ rally at Bryant Park with Pete Seeger as our special guest. I’ve been a garden activist ever since. I joined the NYCCGC in the fall of 2005 and currently a member of Campos Garden on East 12th Street, Toyota garden on East 11th Street and LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens). I am also an architect, a world traveler and I love avocados.

Haja Worley: Long time activist and community organizer. Member of the Black Panther Party. Co-Director, Project Harmony, Inc.-1987-present. President of the NYCCGC, 1996-97.Chair, Parks and Recreation Committee, CB#10, 1990-2000. NYCCGC Board Member, Circle of Brothers-chair, of COB Council. CERT-member Community Emergency Response Team, Manhattan 10. WHCR-90.3FM (City College public radio), Engineer ("Inside Housing" ) -Co-Host of Harlem 411. Chair, Parks and Recreation Committee, CB#10, 1990-2000.NYCCGC Board Member, Circle of Brothers-chair, of COB Council.CERT-member Community Emergency Response Team, Manhattan 10.WHCR-90.3FM (City College public radio), Engineer ("Inside Housing" ) -Co-Host of Harlem 411.