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Friday, February 18, 2011

Gardening Time is Almost Here! ...But

The snow here is almost all gone. I can see the soil, the leaves that have been covered for almost 2 months, even collards left from last season that somehow survived being buried in the snow. So the physical gardening time is upon us. Almost time to start seeds indoors for the tender plants and outdoors for the snow peas and greens.....

Of course for community gardeners the planning, fundraising, meetings and discussions have been ongoing  - not hibernating for the winter. A few related items have come to my attention over the past few days.

The New York City Community Garden Coalition is sponsoring a forum on Saturday March 19th,  Making Gardens Permanent: Long Term Solutions . Hopefully this forum will continue the dialogue to find the type of land protections that will ensure longevity and sustainability for NYC community gardens that has been ongoing for  at least the past year. I have discussed this subject at least 3 times in this blog on March 5, 2010 ,  July 26, 2010 and August 18, 2010 .

Unfortunately I won't be able to be there, I am leading a winter tree walk for Staten Island OutLoud at the same time.  I hope there are some new well thought out ideas, maybe a municipal land trust or  deed restrictions.  There is a new resource that has come to my attention, Community Garden Legal Toolkit  published by Public Health Law and Policy that includes information about methods used in other cities. A good read for background but the New York City situation is unique and requires a solution tailored to this case in particular. I'll report on the discussion next week.

Another somewhat disturbing announcement this week was that President Obama announced cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program. New York City's GreenThumb Program receives 100% of it's funding from this federal program. Up to this point GreenThumb has escaped past cuts to this program but here's another possible threat to resources for  community gardeners.

Yes, Community Gardening is impacted by political, social and economic forces but the sun and warmth of a late February thaw draws one to the feel of seeds and soil in your hands in the spring with the hope for fresh fruits and vegetables in those same hands in a few months. 

1 comment:

  1. Lenny -- please contact Colossal Books.
    They've just published a beautiful little book of photos of murals in six LES gardens circa 1997 and want to get you a reviewer's copy.