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Re: 6th Street & Avenue B Garden responds

  • Subject: Re: [cg] 6th Street & Avenue B Garden responds
  • From: William Hohauser williamhohauser@earthlink.net
  • Date: Fri, 7 Oct 2005 23:24:11 -0400

I'm glad we have taken the level down a notch.

One of my main imperatives as garden president for the last two years  
is to increase community interaction between the garden members and  
the community.
While we do a great job with free events, our garden has historically  
been poor with other communications. That is being addressed now.  
Come down and see some of the signs we have installed. We created a  
"Natural History of the LES" sign that could be in a museum. It is  
right next to the Ave. B gate. Personally I spearheaded the creation  
of a garden brochure which explains the garden and the concept of  
community gardens for all the tourists we get here now. It is in it's  
finally stages, the whole garden is editing it! We'll have it printed  
for the spring.

One person is not a community garden but one person can make or break  
a garden at times.

On the issue of LES gardens. I don't know what the story with the LES  
is (and I have lived here for 20 years) but a lot of gardens have an  
outreach problem. It might have something to do with the large number  
of eccentrics around here (and I'm one of them!). I am the first to  
admit that there are a small number of prickly personalities in our  
garden who come off wrong. They also happen to do a lot of good work.  
It's a problem. Fifteen years ago, I was first involved with another  
garden that made my wife, child and I unwelcome simply because we had  
a child who was a year old! A friend of mine had to stage an  
overthrow at another garden just to get a functioning democratic  
committee going. Neighborhoods have their character and characters,  
the LES for some reason creates defensive sometimes nasty gardeners.

Thanks for your invitation to the meeting. We hold our meetings in  
the garden rain or shine on the fourth Sunday of every month when the  
weather is warm enough. We always invite other gardens to observe our  
brand of democracy and be inspired to create their own version at  
their garden. From what I've heard, very few gardens in our vicinity  
have a functioning government like your garden or Liz Christy or ours.

As much as I would like to lend a hand on the 15th, I am working in  
our garden doing some of the same work. Our maintenance chair had  
work issues and was forced to step down last month. As president, I  
am filling in the gap until a new chair is elected. Only so much energy.

I don't know how you manage 5000 keyholders much less 500. When our  
garden keys get distributed beyond the membership the garden  
inevitably gets trashed, badly. We decided to tightly control key  

The insurance issue, believe me or not, is true. I talked to Toby  
Brant three weeks ago and had the news confirmed by Edie Stone. As I  
stated, nobody has told the gardens, I had to call. The reason I  
called NOSC was in reaction to the problem at 6BC Garden. In short, a  
woman sitting in the garden had her foot crushed by rocks falling off  
an unstable wheelbarrow. The garden was not being monitored by a  
garden member and the person operating the wheelbarrow was a non- 
member volunteer. The 6BC garden is temporarily closed now.

I am now in discussion with NYC Parks about the garden insurance  
issue. I'll update the community garden board this week after my  
meeting with them.

Until the garden insurance issue is resolved,"When the gate is closed  
the garden is closed". It's necessary evil but in the 6 & B Garden  
we'll discuss better ways to communicate it.

WIlliam Hohauser
6th Street & Avenue B Garden

PS - If I was at the garden when the California visitor showed up and  
she identified herself as a fellow gardener, she would have been  
allowed in but that's me and I personally would have assumed  
responsibility for her.

PPS - Please call me William, just an eccentricity on my part!

On Oct 7, 2005, at 7:48 PM, Adam36055@aol.com wrote:

> I'm glad I managed to get a rise out of you on this accessibilty  
> issue, Bill.   I ain't the only keeper of the garden -we have 4,999  
> + others too. :)
> I know, as a community gardener who has visited 6B on days when  
> gardeners are inside and the gates are locked, to come in and be  
> told, "when the gates are closed, we're closed," myself ,for years  
> (and I helped dig the place out with Liz Christy) and kept my mouth  
> shut about it - for the cause, that it's been our "dirty little  
> secret,"
> The exception has been, when a great  gardener, who respects other  
> visiting gardeners, like Carolyn Ratcliffe has been  inside those  
> garden gates,  and graciously showed folks about the place.
> Honest injun - over the years we've hasd garden visitors at the  
> CCG  who've  said, in reference to 6B, and some other LES gardens,   
> that they "couldn't get in, and there were gardeners walking around  
> inside who ignored us."
> So when a Californian community garden visitor, lets the listserv  
> know about yer "when the gates are closed, we're closed," attitude,  
> I figured maybe we can change this perception and practice, for  
> good, by airing the issue.
> Now - If your garden membership decides to change this perception  
> of being closed, private clubs, by " start[ing] with a sign, like  
> we have at the Clinton Community Garden that says," If you want to  
> visit our garden when the gate is closed and a gardener is inside,  
> please ask to be let in, " then I certainly will not have to listen  
> to beefs from visiting gardeners, many as far flung as Eastern  
> Europe or Japan,  or have any myself.
> FYI - The CCG isn't open at 3 am, but then CCG is available and  
> open by one of our five thousand plus garden keys from dawn to  
> dusk, 365 days a year.
> When there is a rare safety emergency, and the night lock is on  
> during the daytime - like when ice has made the brick paths really  
> dangerous, we do have the grace to go to the gate and explain to  
> someone who wants to build a snowman, that we're dealing with the  
> ice and that we'll be open as soon as it's safe.  Which is usually  
> in about an hour. And the neighborhood comes in, with keys, or if  
> one of us is inside we open it, and we build snowmen, or make snow  
> angels in pristine snow.
> Please feel free to visit our steering committee meetings, which  
> take place  during the first Tuesday evening of the month, at  
> Fountain House, posted on the our website -
> Clinton Community Garden . Per Robert's Rules, we would be  
> delighted to see you during the visitors section of the meeting.   
> I'll be around the garden this weekend, and we're doing a garden  
> clean up on Saturday, October 15th - come on up, we always welcome  
> an extra pair of hands to work with our compost bin, tote in soil  
> amendments, and other end of season chores.
> At any other time, if  the gate isn't open, and one of us is  
> inside, we'll be sure to let you in - if one of our 5,000  
> keyholders hasn't read the sign on the door, you tell 'em to get  
> their fanny  to the gate and let you in. If you bike uptown, we  
> have two bike racks in front of our garden gates for you.
> Also, thank you for you information re garden insurance.  Your news  
> of  NOSC's alleged discontinuation of CG garden insurance is, if  
> true, is  troubling. I'll have to call them on Monday to get the  
> dope on this, because like every other community garden in NYC,  
> we'll have to scramble to find a new carrier. Green Thumb has  
> certainly not spread the word, but then they're often the last to  
> let us gardeners know.
> Be well,
> Adam Honigman
> Volunteer & Steering Committee Member
> Clinton Community Garden

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