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RE: Protecting urban community gardens from vandalism


Please check out my garden's website: http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org
where there are details of our key policy/agreements. We are a gated garden
with 2000 key holders. Our 7 foot tall wrought iron fence is fairly hard to
climb and has a concrete base which abuts the sidewalk. Our former hurricane
fence was easy to break into, dig under, climb over with cowboy
boots/sneakers. The community garden was created by Hell's Kitchen residents
who desperately wanted it on a then drug and crime infested block. As they
had to fight drug dealers, junkies, pimps and whores everyday anyway it was
a continuation of our modus viviendi to fight them over our garden.

 Neighbors who lived adjacent to the garden appreciated what we did to a
rubble filled lot and started calling the cops. The neighbors kept dropping
dimes on the drug dealing, the pimping ( we had some pimp mobiles towed,
some unidentified person slashed tires threw water balloons filled with dye
in the open convertables, marched through the streets with candles chanting,
" Don't sell your poison here.', etc.) We even got the telephone numbers of
the John's ( whore's clients) from their license plate numbers and called
their places of work and wives. The word got around.

We have a nearby playground/park where we still have drug dealing and the
garden has two mental health halfway house facilities  on it's block. We
just have zero tolerance for vandalism, a budget for painting over grafitti
and a couple of baseball bats in the tool shed in addition to the pitchforks
and the chipper/shredder. 

The idea is that the garden is a safe haven for the neighborhood and that
the neighborhood has to want to protect it and care for it. Community
gardening is not a passive activity, it's 50% gardening and 100% politics
and community activism.

Good luck!


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Justin Trager [SMTP:jtrager@nmsu.edu]
> Sent:	Friday, March 24, 2000 11:00 AM
> To:	community_garden@mallorn.com
> Subject:	[cg] Protecting urban community gardens from vandalism
> Hi,
>   I am new to the listserv.  I was recently hired to expand 4-H services
> in 
> Albuquerque by developing after-school and summer youth prevention 
> programs.    A major component of our program is to engage youth in 
> service-learning activities and in particular to help create and work in a
> community garden.  The sites for garden are all going to be new.  The 
> process for getting this program started has been collaborative and has 
> involved the resident associations, the city, community centers, and the 
> schools.
> As I talk to people about the details, one ongoing issue keeps coming up -
> protecting the garden from vandalism.  My past involvement in community 
> development teaches me that if the garden is truly a product of the 
> community they will take ownership and ensure that the garden is protected
> and I know that that has been successful,at other sites.  However, in
> spite 
> of some quality community organizing and support I do not sense that it is
> currently strong enough to prevent vandalism.  Secondly the sites that
> have 
> been chosen are next to community centers and parks (mostly separate from 
> residential areas) in which a lot of people hang out after hours and have
> a 
> history of vandalism and destruction.
> So I need help - due to grant issues, the program needs to start this 
> summer, so I cannot take time to do more community organizing and 
> support.  Does anyone have any advice for ways to protect an urban 
> community garden form vandalism and destruction, besides ten feet high 
> fence with barbed wire on the top, which really takes away from the urban 
> beautification component of the garden?
> I appreciate any thoughts and shared experiences.
> Jusitn Trager
> NMSU Bernalillo County Extension Service
> _______________________________________________
> community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

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