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RE: [sg] Fw: Vandalism at the Edible Schoolyard

  • Subject: [cg] RE: [sg] Fw: Vandalism at the Edible Schoolyard
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 15:24:34 -0400

We know how it feels. Please let your kids know that they are in the minds and hearts of NYC Community Gardeners...
> Necrology: New York City Community Gardens bulldozed 1984-2000
> Manhattan:
> Dome Garden, Upper West Side, 1984
> Garden of Eden, Lower East Side, 1986
> Torres Associates, 1996     [East Harlem? ]
> Mayaguez Garden, East Harlem, 1996
> Pentacostal Church of El Maestro, East Harlem, 1996
> Latinos Unidos Borinquen, East Harlem, 1996
> ABC Garden, Lower East Side, 1996
> Pegasus Project Garden, Upper West Side, 1996
> Rivington 6th Street Garden, Lower East Side, 1997
> 2nd Street Garden, Lower East Side, 1997
> Mendez Mural Garden, Lower East Side, 1997
> Maria's Garden, Lower East Side, 1997
> Angels' Garden, Lower East Side, 1997
> Jardín de la 10th Street, Lower East Side, 1997
> Parker Forge/Sunnyside Garden, Lower East Side, 1998
> The Sowers Garden, Harlem, 1998
> Umbrella Garden, Lower East Side, 1999
> Dos Blocos Garden, Lower East Side, 1998
> Magic Children's Garden, Lower East Side, 1998
> PS. 76 Garden of Love, Harlem, 1998
> Souls in Motion, Harlem, 1999
> 130th Street Homeowners, Harlem, 1999
> West 132nd Street Block Association, Harlem, 1999
> Black United Fund, Harlem, 1999
> George W. Brown Memorial Garden, Harlem, 1999
> Five Star Garden, Harlem, 1999
> Striving Together Garden, Harlem, 1999
> American Federation of Police Partnership, Harlem, 1999
> Project Harmony/J.D. Wilson Memorial Garden [portion still exists],
> Harlem,
> 1999
> Garden of the Golden Lions, Harlem, 1999
> West 129th Street Block Association Garden, Harlem, 1999
> Jardín de Esperanza, Lower East Side, 2000
> Jardín Bello Amanecer Borencano [portion still exists], Lower East Side,
> 2000
> The Bronx:
> Gardeners Partnership, Prospect Beck, 1989
> Tiffany Street Tenants, Kelly Tiffany, 1991
> Way Out Church Ministries, Brook Avenue, 1991
> GreenThumb Garden Club, Hoe Avenue, 1993
> Maria Estella Tenants, Westchester, 1993
> Crotona Community Garden, 1993
> Mapes Avenue Tenants Association, Tremont, 1993
> I.S. 139 Gardening Project, Willis Brook, 1994
> Little Mount Bethel Church, Longfellow, 1995
> North Luba Block Association, Longfellow, 1995
> Bronx Second Chance, Hornaday Vyse, 1996
> Longwood Fox Block Association, 1996
> Pamela Janki Alli Garden, Topping Avenue, 1997
> Bronx Alliance of Block School Educators Garden, Fairmount Mohegan, 1997
> Lares Garden, Melrose Commons, 1998
> The Point Community Farm, Hunts Point, 1999
> Brooklyn:
> Brooklyn Bears [negotiated/portion returned to gardeners]  [date?]
> Puerto Rican Community Center of Brownsville, Brownsville, 1984
> Satellite en Orbita, Brownsville, 1984
> Sunflower Garden, Williamsburg     [date?]
> Williamsburg Around the Bridge Block Association, Williamsburg, 1986
> Coney Island Gospel Assembly, Coney Island, 1989
> Residents of Blake Avenue, East New York, 1989
> Warwick Street Block Association, Coney Island, 1990
> La Placita Gardens I, Coney Island, 1990
> Decatur 100 Block Association, Bushwick, 1991
> Green Oaks Citizens Club, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1991
> United Greene Avenue Block Association, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1992
> Madison Street Gardeners, Bushwick, 1993
> Green Avenue Improvement, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1994
> Bleeker Street Improvement Association, Bushwick, 1996
> Menahan Street Block Association, Bushwick, 1996
> Eastern District High School Gardeners, Williamsburg, 1996
> Girl Scout Community Garden, Bedford Stuyvesant/Brownsville, 1996
> Garden Grove Block Association, Bushwick, 1996
> The Friendly Garden, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1997
> Putnam Community Garden, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1997
> Stockholm Street Block Association, Bushwick, 1997
> Elton Street Block Association, East New York, 1997
> Cleveland Street Block Association, East New York, 1997
> Elton Street Block Association, East New York, 1997
> Barbey Street Homeowners Association, East New York, 1997
> Good Cheer Weirfield Block Association, Bushwick, 1997
> Palmetto/Wilson/Knickerbocker Block Association, Bushwick, 1997
> Reclaim Our Cities Kids, Bushwick, 1997
> Hancock United Block Association I, Bushwick, 1997
> Hancock United Block Association II, Bushwick, 1997
> Messiah Baptist Church, East New York, 1997
> Howard's Glenn Garden (a.k.a. Rock Garden), Bushwick, 1997
> Down Home Garden, Bedford Stuyvesant/Brownsville, 1998
> Kosciusco Street Block Association, Bedford Stuyvesant, 1999
> Howard Avenue Garden, Brownsville [portion still exists] 1999 
> Keap Street Garden, Williamsburg, 1999
> Flags Garden, Williamsburg, May 1999
> Church of the Holy Spirit of Guadalupe I, East New York, 2000
> Church of the Holy Spirit of Guadalupe II, East New York, 2000
> La Placita Gardens II, Coney Island, 2000
> Queens:
> Good Neighbor Block Association, East Elmhurst, 1995
> Staten Island:
> no gardens bulldozed as of September 2000
Dave,  the only thing that seems to help is to write bags full of letters to electeds, individuals involved in garden distruction, do media pieces, and find a new place to community garden and start over again,
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

-----Original Message-----
From: David Hawkins [mailto:transformingviolence@earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 11:06 AM
To: school_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [sg] Fw: Vandalism at the Edible Schoolyard

Vandalism at the Edible Schoolyard


The destruction last week of a very significant part of the garden created by students at King Middle School is sad indeed. It is now too late to save the land or the testimony it bore to the work of hundreds of students at the school.  But at least it is a story that should be told, and perhaps we can learn something from it.


The particular part of the garden that has been bulldozed to create a new access road is the steep sloping bank where the garden meets the vast expanse of asphalt that typifies this and many other schoolyards across the nation.  It was a narrow spit of land with a mature arbutus (strawberry tree), a large California Oak, and a number of smaller oaks and toyon.  The arbutus was one of the most beautiful examples in the Bay Area and it provided fruit, shade and shelter for birds and students alike. For the conservation of these trees alone, the land should have been spared the bulldozer and the addition of yet more asphalt.  It is a poor lesson to teach children, that these beautiful trees, irreplaceable in their lifetime, are not worth conserving.


But the real significance of the place for me, and my sadness at its destruction, is that it was the location of a great deal of energetic and high-spirited work and play for the hundreds of 11 and 12 year old students who built the garden at King over the past five years.  I watched the students reclaim this particular part of the garden, cutting back and uprooting the invasive cotoneaster, terracing and replanting the bank with hazelnuts they had grown from cuttings. The huge acacia tree that was crowding the oak was gradually harvested and provided the material for building the Ramada, the circular shade structure the students built as their meeting place for the beginning and end of the garden class.  Students figured out how to demolish the heavy steel railings that marked the upper edge of the bank. They planted, made pathways, bridges, walls, and wove a huge bird’s nest large enough for four or five students to nest in. Students were trusted to use axes, pickaxes, sledgehammers and crowbars to go about their jobs, and never once did a serious accident occur in all the thousands of child hours they worked in the garden.


But perhaps the most sacred aspect of this place and the part that will stay longest in my memory, and probably the memories of many students, was the digging of the acequias (a drainage/irrigation channel) that became affectionately known as the Middle River.  The students dug it along the contour of the slope to drain the water from the Upper River they had dug across the plateau of the garden.  Never have I seen such a splendid playful application of youthful energy by so many young people over such a long time.  The combination of water, mud, and high spirits, of dams, floods, jokes and earnest hard work was something our children experience too rarely.  Now their work is brutally obliterated.


This place was, in short, the location of a very special sort of collective activity. It is very rare in our culture for young people to be given the chance to create something tangible, to care for the earth, to choose the task they would like to do, and to learn to work together in a team.  There were of course students who were not very interested, who hung out and watched or who had conversations, some who hindered or just got in the way.  But the learning was incredible.  It was not the kind of learning you could test anyone on.  Sometimes it was a chance to learn what you could do, what resources and intelligence you could muster, whether your friends would be supportive, whether you could work with someone you didn’t like: to learn what kinds of interaction were constructive, and how things could fall apart.  It was also a chance to find out about some of the elements we depend on to live on this planet -  dirt, rocks, water, and plants.


We have very little notion of the sacred, or what is worthy of preservation, and who needs to be remembered. The story of the Edible Schoolyard has been told many times in the media, with it's focus being the founder, Alice Waters.  However, Alice isn't the only hero in this story, although she has rightfully earned the community's respect for her vision and work. There is another story that should be told, and many young people who should be remembered and honored.  The best way of honoring them would have been to respect the work they had done and to preserve the place they had nurtured and helped create.  Many of them come back to the schoolyard after they have left the school and have a deep sense of pride for what they did collectively. This is not always apparent while they are attending the school.  Now they will come back to find that what they did was not considered worth saving.


This will not surprise them. For the most part the adult world is not seriously interested in who young people are, nor in respecting what they think, feel or are able to create. We are far from creating a culture in which young people are fully respected.  I’m sad because in a small way the garden at King has always tried to show that respecting the earth and respecting children are fundamentally part of the same process. Small wonder the favorite word of today’s youth is “whatever”. It’s a way of defending themselves against the pain of a lot of disrespect.





David Hawkins

Former Garden Manager,

The Edible Schoolyard

Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School,





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