RE: To Dave and interested others re Jeavons/Habitat/CommunityGardens
Thanks for the update re Habitat in NYC! My synagogue has asked me to join
in a Habitat construction job in East Harlem. I was looking to clear my
schedule to join in before I read your memo. As both a community garden and
housing advocate, I work to find compromise solutions as a member of
Manhattan Community Board 4's land use subcommittee. So far, we've had
sucess with one not-for-profit developer who is preserving and enhancing a
CG ( the "Juan Alonzo Garden" on 51st and 11th ave in NYC) as part of his
adjacent low-income development project. We are negotiating with him on
another near by project. This is hard work which has required concessions on
all sides. It is proving to be win-win. In areas with competing land use
advocates, it is the only way to go.
Community gardening is 50% gardening and 100% political. The neighborhood
has to really want the garden in the first place and has to work hard to get
housing advocates to use non-garden sites for building. This kind of
politcal work and deal-making is extremely time-consuming and hard to do.
The Clinton Community Garden has two individuals who have made the sacrifice
of time and effort to become Community Board Members.
Bob, please give me chapter and verse about what Habitat has done in the
Bronx so I can share it with others who, like myself, have contributed to
Habitat in the past.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Drach [SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 07, 2000 10:10 PM
> To: Sharon Gordon
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [cg] To Dave and interested others re
> In Brooklyn, Bronx and other areas of NYC Habitat for Humanity has been
> responsible for the destruction of several community gardens, despite
> pleas from
> gardeners and others in the community.
> Perhaps, in other places Habitat has acted honorably, but in New York
> City, the
> answer is NO.
> If you all ever meet one of the Habitat's big-wigs, please mention this.
> Until then, I will not contribute one penny to Habitat.
> Everyone must act according to his/her own conscience.
> Sincerely & good luck
> Sharon Gordon wrote:
> > Dave, sounds as though you have a variety of interesting jobs!
> > Hope your group will enjoy having John Jeavons do the 3-Day workshop.
> > a great motivator.
> > I wasn't sure from your email if the people from the Habitat houses
> > were also the people doing the community gardens. If not it could be
> > helpful to bring some of the Habitat people into the workshop. John
> > sometimes has a scholarship or two available to get the workshop at
> > reduced cost for situations like this. Or perhaps one or two Habitat
> > could be sponsored by a donor in exchange for sharing their new
> > knowledge with the rest of the group.
> > For both groups, the One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in
> > Less than 1000 Square Feet book by Duhon to learn how to plan
> > a nutritionally complete diet and the Jeavon's book, How to
> > Grow More Vegetables than you Ever Thought Possible
> > on Less Land than you can Imagine, 5th ed, to learn how to
> > grow it most efficiently and sustainably would would be helpful.
> > And it's also helpful to have a nutrition book or nutrition software
> > for people that want to get a good balanced diet. For basic estimates,
> > you can use Mastercook (recipe) software ($10-50) and make a day's
> > food intake into one recipe that serves one. If your university has
> > a nutrition program, you may be able to work out an arrangement to
> > have group access to the software their students use which would be
> > better as the professional nutrition software has more foods and info
> > on more nutrients than Mastercook. Otherwise perhaps you could get
> > a volunteer nutritionist from a hospital or local food service who has
> > access to the professional software.
> > http://www.growbiointensive.org Jeavons/Ecology Action
> > http://www.bountifulgardens.org Heirloom seeds/ books on biointensive
> > the source of Juwarot carrots. Most of these carrots would feed a
> > family of four and they taste incredibly good. Bountiful also has
> > D-handled flat bladed shovel that is the best for the double
> > process.
> > Prior to doing the Habitat gardens, it is important to test for toxic
> > chemicals to 3 feet depth in the yards. If the yards are contaminated,
> > depending on what you find, the gardens should be done in raised beds
> > rather than the double dug variety. But each case would need to be
> > individually evaluated for safety.
> > For the Habitat houses, I would also landscape them with Permaculture
> > and edible landscaping in mind. Personally, I'd rather eat a pecan,
> > than an acorn :-). Though I am happy to have oak trees on a larger
> > property, for their beauty, benefits to wildlife, and building
> > And you can landscape with blueberry bushes, currants,
> > elderberries, etc. rather than nonedible shrubs. A sweet cherry
> > tree makes a beautiful addition to a spring yard. And you can edge beds
> > alpine strawberries, globe basil or nasturtiums to provide food and an
> > elegant appearance. In a place where you would like lush vines, grapes,
> > kiwi, or scarlet runner beans (green beans with beautiful scarlet
> flowers that
> > hummingbirds also like), are edible choices.
> > When designing the yard, it helps to consider the whole picture with the
> > mature shrub/tree in mind. It can be helpful to make a check list to
> > watch out for :
> > Fruit not falling on sidewalk/or pears on swing sets/roof/cars
> > Vegetable garden still in sun when trees are grown
> > Mature plants don't hit house, uproot sidewalk, clog septic
> > Evergreens to north to act as windbreak
> > Deciduous trees to south to shade in summer, let sun in house in winter
> > Places for birdhouses
> > Places to play and protection for more delicate garden plants
> > If you are doing a Habitat neighborhood rather than houses in different
> > neighborhoods, a tree/shrub in one yard can serve as a pollinator for
> > yard. This way each yard can have more variety.
> > Jeavons/Ecology Action has discovered that for the biointensive gardens
> > to be grown most sustainably, they need to be in a ratio of
> > 60-30-10
> > 60% grain/carbon/compost crop
> > 30% root/calorie crop
> > 10% other vegetables for vitamins and minerals
> > John Verin, a member of cg list has up to date info on this.
> > Growing the vegetable garden biointensively with the 60-30-10
> > strategy results in increased yields, improved soil, and little
> > to no expenditures on outside amendments. A usual further
> > bonus is little to no insect damage due to health of the plants.
> > It can also help to plan the landscaping and gardening according to
> > what people like and include their favorite ethnic foods. Also some
> > people will not have tasted things that they might like, so periodic
> > tastings and ratings of ripe food may help with that. For instance,
> > I recently ran across some people who had never been able to afford
> > blueberries, so didn't know what they tasted like. That was easily
> > fixed with blueberry muffins and now they would like to grow
> > If any of your participants are eligible for food stamps, food stamps
> > can be used to buy garden seeds. Not sure about food shrubs and trees.
> > But in any case, getting the seeds in bulk and sharing packets keeps
> > the cost down. One tomato seed packet can be enough of that kind
> > of tomato for 25 or more gardens. A bean packet may only plant one
> > or two gardens. If you can get participants or Habitat volunteers to
> > save and donate heirloom seed this would reduce the cost even further.
> > For the Habitat houses see if you can get people to work ahead
> > edible trees/shrubs/vines/canes for houses for future years so the
> > houses can be planted with larger plants. And also so you can be
> > sure that the plants survive well in your area. If you reuse pots, this
> > can get the plant cost down to the cost of potting soil, though this
> > could be made as well over time from compost.
> > One great resource you have in Madison is the Seed Saver's store
> > on Monroe(I think). There you can get heirloom seeds. And Aaron
> > Whaley who runs it is very knowledgeable in everything from seed saving
> > to tissue culture. They also have Suzanne Ashworth's book on
> > seed saving which could be used to teach seed saving to both groups.
> > Also check with Aaron about people who may be going to Decorah, Iowa
> > to meet with Seed Savers people there. It maybe possible to get them
> > for speakers/workshops on the same trip. A person flying in could as
> > easily come in at Madison as Minneapolis or Des Moines.
> > Both groups and/or individuals could benefit from joining the Seed
> > Exchange(SSE). This would give access to heirloom seeds of even
> > greater variety than sold in the Seed Savers store. And one
> > big help would be to get heirloom Wisconsin seeds that are already
> > well adapted to the area to grow and also to help maintain.
> > http://www.seedsavers.org
> > Once people find out about heirloom seeds and the importance of
> > saving them, they may find that their relatives or neighbors have some
> > which can then be saved and shared. This situation is a good
> > opportunity for news articles.
> > One thing that would help both groups and which a local extension agent
> > is likely to have good data on is a list of when to plant each fruit or
> > vegetable for spring and fall gardens. And a list of ranges of dates
> > be most helpful. This, along with the Jeavons group would allow
> > to get the most out of their garden space.
> > To encourage the community gardeners, you might design an ideal garden
> > for the average size plot using the favorite foods of local gardeners.
> > Wisconsin I would expect that you could do one planting of cool
> > and one of warm, though it might also be possible to do two cool and no
> > warm for gardeners that had a stronger preference for the cool season
> > vegetables. But for encouragement
> > and to help people see the possibilities I would design a cool-warm
> > For illustration purposes, the medium level yields in Jeavons' book are
> good to
> > use as most people can get this in a year or two on reasonable soil.
> > In the second or third year of gardening when people have more
> > I'd introduce them to Eliot Coleman's method of planting fall crops that
> > overwinter under row cover. His book is Four Season Harvest and he
> > does presentations and workshops. Not sure if your community garden
> > would allow people to put up temporary hoop greenhouses in the late fall
> > for over wintering their plants, but the row cover alone would give a
> > number of extra weeks of fresh green vegetables.
> > Other helps for both groups would be
> > 3 section compost bins and a class on compost making
> > Class on composting with worms
> > Class on seed saving
> > Class on seed germination of seeds that have chilling requirements
> > Class on tree/shrub/vine care
> > Class on making nontoxic seedling flats (Instructions in Jeavons' book
> > The Backyard Homestead Mini-Farm & Garden Log Book)
> > Class or Guide sheet on hexagonal spacing of plants--helps to do the
> > calculations on the plant spacing distances and give people the
> > sheet of distances.
> > Class in frugal garden methods such as using prunnings to make an
> > attractive arbor or how to make a birdbath from a tomato cage
> > topped with a plastic pot saucer and vines growing up the cage.
> > See: The Frugal Gardener by Catriona Tudor Erler
> > Making Rustic Furniture by Daniel Mack.
> > The Rustic Furniture Companion : Traditional Techniques
> > Inspirations by Daniel Mack
> > 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas, Deborah Martin, Editor
> > (Note--
> > I did write a number of sections in this book, but
> > receive
> > no additional recompense for future copies)
> > Book on making trellises/arbors from natural
> > can't
> > turn up the title on this book. But it has lots of
> > ideas for
> > items similar to those that have been featured in
> > Smith&Hawken
> > catalogs. If someone knows the title of this,
> please post.
> > Class in birdhouse/bird feeder making
> > Tastings of garden food. Heirloom tomatoes are a favorite and unusual
> > foods are fun too.
> > Classes on edible flowers
> > Classes on food preservation--canning, jelly making, drying
> > Classes on other food skills like bread making. Testing out the bread
> > by making tomato sandwiches is an extra treat.
> > Sharon
> > firstname.lastname@example.org
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