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RE: successful models or ideas

  • Subject: RE: [cg] successful models or ideas
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com
  • Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 13:09:02 -0500

As  Tip O'Neal, wise old politician and Speaker of the US House of Representatives used to say, "All politics is local." Which means, within the context of community gardening, you have to know the people of the area you are trying to serve, help, or design for in order to develop the best solutions. Laying out a community garden requires knowing your community, it's land use issues and specific needs for open space, talking to an awful lot of people, doing the same kind of survey you would do if you were thinking of creating another kind of special use facility, like for example, a public library.
Some of the stuff I learned:
Former NYC Advocate Mark Green said, during the summer 2001 Parks Council "1% for Parks" forum that, "Community Gardens were an unexpected but understandable reaction to the shortage of open green space in our city."  Citizens cleaned out rat, garbage and crime filled lots and created park/gardens on their own, working with city agencies to legitimize their spaces. 
In my opinion, the best definition of community gardens I know was  formulated a few years ago, by former ACGA board memer Lenny Librizzi of the NYC Council for the Environment: 
"Community gardens are shared, public green spaces which are planned, designed, built and maintained by some volunteer community members for the use and enjoyment of their entire communities."
In this kind of community garden, the gardeners and neighborhood decide on what kind of community garden they want and will support. Quite frankly, they can't survive otherwise - the land use battles for any square foot of open space, for housing, playgrounds or public use is quite intense. After years of garden creation and subsequent, bulldozing, protests and negotiation, the recent NYC community garden settlement is the latest step in that legitimization:
My Point of View
I have been involved, on and off with community gardens since I was a teenager living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, first throwing seed bombs (i.e., wild flower or tomato seeds, water and fertilizer in  balloons )  with Liz Christy into empty lots http://users.rcn.com/ggsnyc/,  and moving rocks and planting with the difficult, but visionary Adam Purple
I have been a volunteer and am currently a steering committee member, again, of the third of an acre Clinton Community Garden in NYC which serves a catchment area of 90,000 people - ( from West 34th Street to West 59th Streets ,from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River.)  Founded in 1978, the Clinton Community garden is a gated garden becausecommunity gardens with vegetable beds in this city cannot exist in NYC without one, and for security issues. The Clinton Community garden has 4,000 key holders for it's parklike front formal gardens and a separate section of 108, queensized bed sized raised plots where neighborhood residents can raise vegetables and flowers.
We also have  wheelchair enabled garden bed for a senior and are planning more as the need arises. The Clinton Community garden also serves as the site for cultural, social and neighborhood events, year round.
Here is the link to the Clinton Community Garden website: http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/
For information on enabled gardening and all community garden issues, really, you should go the American Community Gardening Association website: http://www.communitygarden.org/
And most importantly, the membership page, where for the price of a pizza and a couple of beers, you can become part of our larger community of gardeners from the US and Canada, the ACGA:
The ACGA's publications, conventions, website and this listserve help to connect our community throughout this continent and everyplace in the world where people want to play community garden.  I strongly urge you to join.
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden
-----Original Message-----
From: JENNIFER LYNN [mailto:jennifer.lynn@verizon.net]
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2003 5:34 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] successful models or ideas

I am an environmental studies student in Santa Monica California trying to create more effective community gardens.  Our gardens are currently surrounded by chain-linked fence and locked to all but those who pay for plots (who often times do not show up).  I would like to create a garden that is open to the public so all can be inspired by the beauty and magic of growing food and flowers.  I am also interested in creating a seniors garden with tall beds that can be worked standing, from chairs or from wheel chairs.  Please put me in contact with those who have done this successfully. 
Thank you so much!

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