1622 bergen street crown heights 22015

Two Crown Heights teachers who want to create an educational community garden at 1662 Bergen Street received unanimous approval from Community Board 8 last night, despite the fact that the city-owned lot has been targeted for development. The concrete-covered, 1,800-square-foot lot is on the list of vacant sites that HPD wants to redevelop for affordable housing. It also sits across the street from Granville T Woods School on Rochester Avenue and Bergen, where Zsabatta Taylor and Liesel Zitman teach third and fourth grade.

The duo plan to use the space to teach kids from pre-K through fifth grade about agriculture and the environment, and to involve parents and the nearby community in the garden. Nonprofit 596 Acres will help install raised garden beds, the teachers told CB8.

After the meeting, a community board member who runs Mama Dee’s Garden nearby advised Taylor to get in touch with the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust. BQLT acquires community gardens throughout the five boroughs to protect them from development. GMAP

Image via Google Maps

462 halsey street community garden

The city is looking to develop hundreds of vacant lots, including 15 community gardens, throughout the five boroughs into affordable housing. By our count, the list of properties includes 122 Brooklyn sites, at least seven of which are community gardens. Yesterday, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released the list of the publicly owned sites. Last month, it issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), inviting developers who would like to build small affordable housing projects on the sites.

Developers can choose to build small affordable rental buildings, co-ops, condos or one- to four-family townhouses. The affordable condos or co-ops can’t be larger than 14 units, and may qualify for financing through the New Infill Homeownership Opportunities Program (NIHOP). Co-ops and townhomes built through NIHOP are aimed at families making 80 to 130 percent of the Area Median Income ($83,900 to $109,070 for a family of four), with one-third set aside for those making 80 to 90 percent AMI.

Through the Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP), developers can build rental buildings ranging from 15 to 30 units. Only renters making less than 165 percent AMI can qualify ($138,435 for a family of four).

Here’s our possibly incomplete list of the gardens slated for redevelopment:

451 Bedford Avenue — La Casita Verde
615 Saratoga Avenue — Isabaliah Ladies of Elegance
120 Jefferson Street — El Garden
659 Willoughby Avenue/267 Throop Avenue — Tranquility Farm
1680 Pacific Street — Green Phoenix
462 Halsey Street — 462 Halsey Street Community Garden
119 Vernon Avenue — New Harvest
142 Patchen Avenue — Patchen Community Square
774 Halsey Street — Halsey, Ralph and Howard Community Garden

Photo via 462 Halsey Street Community Garden/Facebook

roger that garden crown heights 82014

The Crown Heights gardeners that have been fighting to save their plot, called Roger that Garden, from a developer are facing a massive bill if they hope to regain rights to the property. According to a story in the New York Post, the owner, Steve Billings of TYC Realty, says the price for the lot on Rogers Avenue and Park Place is now as high as $1,000,000. The Post says that he bought the parcel for just $10 and the property now has over $8,500 in unpaid tax liens. (more…)

crown heights garden 115 rogers avenue 92013

Volunteers who’ve been trying to prevent a developer from demolishing a community garden in Crown Heights are hosting a fundraiser this weekend to raise enough cash for the property. The gardeners want to save Roger That Garden on Rogers Avenue and Park Place, which they’ve been cultivating since 2006. Developer TYC Realty bought the property’s tax lien in December, and garden organizers began raising money to buy the property in January.

One of the garden’s founders told Brooklyn Paper that they estimate the land is worth about $80,000. The group sent a $15,000 offer to the developer last week, but they don’t have that money yet. They hope to raise it through Fundly and a benefit party this weekend. The party will include food, drinks, a DJ and art for sale, as well as raffle prizes from local businesses. It will take place this Saturday from 7 to 11 pm at Shoestring Press, located at 663 Classon Avenue.

Volunteers Try to Save Crown Heights Garden From Demolition [Brownstoner]

Volunteers who care for a community garden at the corner of Rogers and Park Place in Crown Heights are scrambling to save it from being bulldozed by a developer who bought the property. Roger That Garden organizers are hoping to quickly raise funds to buy the garden back or move plants and compost bins to a new location, DNAinfo reported.

Developer TYC Real Estate purchased the plot at 115 Rogers Avenue in November for an undisclosed amount. They said they will allow the group to make an offer on the property, according to DNAinfo.

Garden volunteers held a rally on Sunday to raise awareness and find a way for the garden to survive. They’re working with the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust to raise enough money to purchase the plot.

Volunteers Fight to Save Crown Heights Community Garden [DNAinfo]

A group of urban planning students from Paris are visiting a community garden in Ocean Hill today to study whether urban farming can improve nutrition and food choices in low-income urban areas. They’re being hosted by Citizens Committee for New York City, a micro-funding organization that awards grants for community projects throughout the five boroughs.

The students from the Engineering School of Paris are exploring the 19,000-square-foot Phoenix Community Garden at the corner of Fulton and Somers Streets. They’re interested in Phoenix because it hosts a biweekly series of education sessions on gardening, cooking, herbal medicine and dye plants. The garden is also building an outdoor horticultural classroom and improving the garden beds. “Through this project, the group is training a new generation of community gardeners and sharing the deep agricultural wisdom of garden elders,” Citizens Committee told Brownstoner in an email. These topics tie in well with the students’ research study, which compares the impact of urban agriculture in New York, Rome and Amsterdam.

Greenpoint residents and local pols are eyeing the empty lot at 61 Franklin Street to transform it into a community garden. This Saturday, Council Member Steve Levin will host a planning meeting to discuss the organization, rules, responsibilities and membership of this space. The meeting will be held at 2 pm at GoodYoga on Calyer Street. This particular lot, owned by the HPD, has been empty for decades. The momentum to open it up for public use picked up this winter. The organizers are expecting a very good turnout for this weekend’s meeting. You can also track the progress of the garden at the 61 Franklin Street Facebook page.
Photo via Facebook

The mural at the GreenSpace garden at President St and Fifth Ave. has gained a haiku by Brooklyn’s poet laureate, Tina Chang. “Encountering verse in a natural setting can deepen the experience of observing the wilderness around us,” said Chang. This is the first of several haikus planned for Brooklyn’s outdoor spaces. On Saturday, Aug. 4 at 4:30 pm, there will be a public reception for the poet in the garden.

The lot at 462 Halsey Street in Bed Stuy has been empty for over 20 years, but now residents are looking to establish a community garden on the land. The folks organizing the push for the garden are looking to raise some money to make it a reality: “In our contract with Green Thumb and HPD, we are required to have the garden up and running 6 months after the contract is signed, therefore it is very urgent to raise money to have the supplies needed to reach that goal.” The goal is $1,052. They hope to someday supply food to Bed Stuy residents and offer a percentage of the harvest for sale to local businesses, to give them the opportunity to financially support the community effort. The goal is to have the garden up and running by Spring 2012. To help make it happen, one can donate here.

Given the time of year, we thought this would be a great time to celebrate one of the most treasured resources in most neighborhoods–the community garden. These labors of love provide an oasis in areas that at some point were on hard enough times that no one wanted to do anything with the vacant lots that dotted them. Cheers to everyone who contributes time and money to sustaining them. Please send us a current photo and a few words about what makes your community garden special and we’ll post it. We’ll also map them so that when we’re done we’ll have a map with links to all the gardens in Brownstone Brooklyn. We’ll kick things off with this shot of the Cedar Tree Garden. Flatbush Gardener has a great photo set on Flickr of the garden from last year. Can anyone tell us about the history of this space? GMAP