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New York Community Gardens Threatened – Again

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Community garden advocates at a rally on Tuesday on the plaza of City Hall. Credit William Alatriste

20 of the potential building sites contain gardens, places with names like Electric Ladybug Garden, Tranquility Farm and Isabahlia.

By Michael Tortorello
New York Times
Feb 11, 2015

Excerpt:

Ena K. McPherson, a community-garden leader in Bed-Stuy, voiced the hopes of the other tillers. “We want our garden to be taken off the list and negotiate an agreement with the city,” she said. “We want to be conveyed to Parks Department.” GreenThumb gardens that are part of the parks inventory (some 300 gardens) are shielded from development.

What about the license she and the other gardeners sign each year, agreeing to leave H.P.D.’s land without grievance? “Nobody reads the contract,” Ms. McPherson said. “It’s just paperwork.” If you did, she added, you would “realize you just signed your life away.”

Sandy Nurse, who runs the composting program BK Rot in Bushwick, is at a loss to explain why her community space, El Garden, fell onto the H.P.D. list. “It’s not really clear,” Ms. Nurse said. “We have not had direct communication. The way we found out about this threat was from Paula Segal from 596 Acres.”

So did everyone else, it would seem. The nonprofit that Ms. Segal founded, 596 Acres, maps open city land and advocates for community uses. “We’ve been preparing for this eventuality,” Ms. Segal said. She first spotted the infill housing initiative in a policy footnote last fall and started alerting gardeners about what might be coming.

Read the complete article here.