RE: partnerships with Waste Management
- Subject: RE: [cg] partnerships with Waste Management
- From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
- Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 13:30:21 -0400
If you go to the garden history of the Clinton Community Garden site, you'll
see the official story of how we got started and how the NYC Sanitation Dept
1) We won one. Here's what happened:
When we went into the garbage strewn lot back that became the Clinton
Community Garden in the 1970's we started bagging up garbage and leaving it
out for the Department of Sanitation to take away. The lot had been an
eyesore for close to 30 years and as we dug, the Dept. of Sanitation guys on
the trucks were very helpful in taking crap they officially didn't need to
take. The truck guys were very nice because we were reversing urban blight
and it really wasn't coming out of their backs.
At that time, as some oldtimers will remember, there was actually some
Federal funding for urban farming available, so we were able to get a few
dump truck deliveries of soil from the parks dept to help us amend our
rotten soil. A huge delivery was due on a Wednesday afternoon and so I
visited a Sanitation Dept. Inspector ( with birds on his epaulets no less)
in his office overlooking the Hudson River garbage scows on West 56th
Street. I explained to him, once I got past his secretary, that we had been
cleaning out the lot, appreciated the help and wondered if he could help us
get two rusted cars out of the lot before we got the soil amendments the
next week. The guy had plants in his windows ( a phalenopsis orchid, even)
so I figured he would be an ally - after all we were "good-guy" citizens.
No way! How did I get in his office! Didn't I know that the city had limited
resources and that even if he could, there was no way that he could
authorize the tow trucks to come? ( I saw about six parked tow truck in the
parking lot with guys listening to a radio, smoking cigarettes. ) Maybe I
could call the Dept. of Traffic, but he was busy and he couldn't spend more
time with me. He then proceded to yell at his secretary for letting me in!
The man had made a friend of me, for sure.
Need I say that we were perturbed? There was no way that Parks was going to
bury wrecked cars and who knew if the soil would ever be available again.
The nice people who were involved with the garden were very upset. I said
that I'd do something, but I'd need to put together $25 to make it happen,
but they shouldn't ask me anything further so they could act dumb. It was
hard, but the hat was passed and I collected the $25.
Early Wednesday morning ( about 3 o'clock am) I went to a local towing/auto
repair shop with a $20 and a large bottle of "Night Train" ( a fortified,
screw-top wine best used as a paint remover) and asked a friend who worked
there if he would pretty please tow these two cars from the garden and just
leave them there in the street? The hour, the $20 bucks and the beverage did
the trick and the cars were there when the sun rose - when they blocked
traffic on West 48th Street between 9th & 10th avenues on matinee day for
the nearby Broadway theaters.
As I worked nights,I decided to have breakfast in the garden, my morning
coffee and egg on a roll cheered by the cacophany of the cars. Finally,
around 10:30 a.m., two sanitation dept tow trucks showed up ( with the
Inspector, no less!) to tow away the cars blocking the street. The
Sanitation Dept. Inspector ( sweating, because he was out of his
airconditioned office) yells at me, "You know anything about this?"
"Nope....Guess they must have levitated, Boss, " I said, laughing into my
coffee. "Now, seeing that you're here, would you pretty-please get them out
of here as soon as you can. As you see the trucks from the Parks Dept are
right behind you and they need to make a delivery to the garden."
I had him and it was sweeter than the sugar in my coffee.
The cars were towed, and we got our first big soil amendment. Things have
run smoothly with the Dept of Sanitation ever since.
2) We lost one, temporarily. We did have this going until the 9/11 budget
cuts hit a month ago:
CITY KILLS COMPOSTING
City parks will be harder to keep green now that that City is ending
its composting program. For several years, the NYC Department of
Sanitation has collected autumn leaves and Christmas trees separately
for composting on city parkland. The finished compost enriched the
soil in parks and community gardens (as well as private gardens)
throughout the city. These enriched soils are part of the reason for
the recent greener appearance of city parks.
Appearance is not the only reason to encourage greener parks. A
greener city reduces pollution by turning hydrocarbons in the air and
soil into plant material. Greener parks reduce storm water run off
and water pollution. Our polluted city results in increased health
costs, a significant percentage of which will be covered by
taxpayers, who subsidize the health costs of people who cannot afford
or do not have health insurance
Judy, I hope you have an easier time of it and never have to buy a bottle of
Night Train. The man looks funny at you when you do.
Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden
From: Julie Berbiglia [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, July 12, 2002 11:56 AM
To: Community_Garden@Mallorn. Com
Subject: [cg] partnerships with Waste Management
Which community gardens have partnerships/working relationships with
Departments of Waste Management/Dept. of Sanitation? What kind of things are
you working on together?
Organic Garden Coordinator
1008 19th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212-2166
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