The attached is interesting apropos our struggle in NYC to save our
community gardens. For identification's sake, I am a middle-aged white man,
a community gardener (clintoncommunitygarden.org) since 1978. As a CCG
steering committee ,NYC Community Board 4 and Green Guerilla member I have
been appalled at the insensitivity of NYC's African-American elected
officials to the needs of Harlem residents to garden. When the Trust for
Public Land and Bette Middler's group managed to save 114 community gardens
last spring from the auction block there was hope that Harlem's gardens
(scheduled for auction in October 1999) would also be saved.
This was not to be. In early July 1999 seven beautiful Harlem gardens were
bulldozed a day before a court ordered stay of demolition was in effect. A
particularly beautiful garden with 100 year old Mulberry trees was
destroyed. The culprits were: City Council President Vallone in collusion
with the local Harlem politicians who cited the need for housing as the
reason for destroying the gardens. All of the seven gardens were surrounded
by empty lots and derelict buildings; all seven gardens were used by
neighborhood residents to beautify their blocks, educate their young, grow
food and flowers and to improve the air quality of their neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods of color, especially Harlem, have chronically high levels of
asthma & other respiratory ailments. Gardens help alleviate these ailments.
NYC Councilman Bill Perkins, in a telephone conversation with one of CCG's
steering committee members countered (when it was pointed out that many of
these gardens had empty lots adjacent to them that were suitable for housing
) that he viewed community gardening for black folks as retrograde, "...a
way of keeping urban African-Americans on the plantation."
Mr. Perkins's comment is best seen in the light of current Harlem politics,
that any crumb of development money from Giuliani's table is worth any sort
of craven behavior.
Bottom line: we saved gardens in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Spanish
Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Because of politician's greed and the
feeling that they "knew better", seven beautiful Harlem gardens were
We're heartbroken. We're fighting to save all NYC community gardens.
Peace to you all.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Tyler [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 1999 1:03 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
> Subject: [cg] Article
> Community Gardeners,
> There is an interesting feature article in today's Washington
> Post titled "Black Hands, Green Gardens: In African American
> Yards, Nurturing the Roots," by DeNeen L. Brown. I recommend
> anyone working in African American communities or interested
> in garden symbolism take a look: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
> Tom Tyler
> Tom Tyler
> Extension Agent - Environmental Horticulture
> Virginia Cooperative Extension - Arlington County
> 3308 S. Stafford St.
> Arlington, VA 22206
> 703-228-6423 (P)
> 703-228-6407 (F)
> E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
> President, American Community Gardening Association:
> community_garden maillist - email@example.com
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org