|Guerilla gardeners and squatters Michael S. and Brad W. - neither of whom asked for permission. |
Photos by Fly.
Gardens are spaces where democracy thrives, communities grow, and peace-of-mind comes about without money changing hands. These are threats to the real estate developers and corporations that run the city. Yet people love them. So start to grow one in your neighborhood.
|Liberate Spae - Fly|
|Bill XUP at Nothing Yet Gommunity Garden|
Starting a garden is not that complicated. Some excellent guides exist online. Essentially: find a plot of land, see who owns it and what plans might exist for it on 596Acres.org. Become an organizer on that website and start to garden: gather friends and community partners, plan some initial steps, start to beautify the space, test the soil, plant some seeds and water them, and keep working as things start to grow. From the beginning, bring as many people into the process as possible. For community gardens to thrive, they need to be open spaces where everyone feels like they can take part. Invite people in. Collect their signatures and you can get support from the community board. Write to the local community board and get on the agenda for their next meeting so your space has a permanent home. Approaches to creating a new community garden are many.
Yet, the city has failed to follow up on their plans to create the desperately needed green spaces. In its statement of community needs, Community Board One in Greenpoint Williamburg notes that expanding parkland is a priority community need. The Williamsburg/Greenpoint Open Space Plan specifically notes:
The City's own RFP for the development project says, "Block 2443, Lot 41 must be improved as open space for the residents of the Project." i.e., the people involved in improving the lot right now are laying the groundwork for the City's own proposed use for the land: "open space".
Gardens around the city have supported the efforts of those gardening at Nothing Yet Garden. Last week, we brought plants from Friends of Brook Park in the Bronx. We are agents of change, Harry, who gave the plants reminded me. Direct action gets the goods. So go create a garden, he preached, offering us trees and bulbs.
I joined the garden clean up day at the garden on 181 Stanton, just down the street from my old home.
|Bulldozers and other signs of the times on the way over to Williamsburg. |
We hope our garden does not end up like this.
Some of the bulbs and bushes from Friends of Brook Park were growing.
|Photo by Barbara Ross|
|Photo by Barbara Ross|
By the next day, a worker from the city had taken down our new sign for the garden. Quite a job for Earth Day.
Leaving the park, we rode through the village streets, throwing seeds through fences into gardens and lots throughout the neighborhood. "One, Two, Three, More Gardens!" we screamed throwing the seeds.
|Seed bombs in a blur of space.|
|Cyclists should have a safe route over this bridge, connecting the boroughs by bike.|
Holding "Clean Green Energy Now" we chanted "I Bike and I Vote" as politicians and supporters poured out of the Cooper Union. Well, some of us vote, we joked, as we started a dance party for renewable energy outside the mayoral forum last night at Cooper Union!
|Photo by Eric Mc Gregor|
|POPS planning meeting with BS and Kim and Dee Dee's hat.|
Photo by by DD Maucher
|Nadette shared a smile.|
Over the weekend, some are going to the NYCCG Community Garden forum. Others are joining the Poetry Ride on Sunday Sunday. Hopefully, we can stop at a Nothing Yet garden to share a few more stories and poems. This poetry is what community gardens are all about anyways. Hopefully Nothing Yet, will be much more.
|Poetry teems through the streets of the East Village.|
Starting at 3 pm Washington Square Arch: We sound our barbaric yawp and burst forth in kinetic inspiration.
Weather Underground House: Verse subverse. Rage. Fire.
Edna St. Vincent Millay's House: Wild love. Uninhibited lust. Kinky passion. Strange fruits.
Rawhide (RIP) Chelsea: Vaseline and Jockstraps
Allen Ginsberg Apartment: Sunflower Sutras - Perpetual Spring Frolic, Grass and Gardens
Williamsburg Bridge: Sonic tone poems - sounds and movement, East River Ritual.
East River Bar (or other watering hole) Drunk poets society - more dancing and mayhem.