22" x 30" 3-color hand pulled screen print, published by the artist in an edition of 85. This archival version of 596 Acres' Brooklyn broadsheet features a map of Brooklyn, NY with all publicly owned vacant lots highlighted.
22" x 30" 3-color hand pulled screen print, published by the artist in an edition of 85. This archival version of 596 Acres' Brooklyn broadsheet features a map of Brooklyn, NY with all publicly owned vacant lots highlighted.
"I'm So Lucky You Found Me: public land inside the city" is a handmade book by collaborator Daniel Eizirik, a Brasilian artist who spent winter 2012-13 documenting the experience of transforming Brooklyn's acres. This is 596 Acres' first book! We learned so much making it - about the life of lots in various stages of transformation, about printing and scoring and hand-stitching books, and about the connections between Brooklyn's neighborhoods. These books are lovely if we might say so ourselves. You can own one!
Or we can mail you one: each one is only $10 + shipping and handling.
All proceeds go to support 596 Acres' work in 2013. Here's a little preview from our friends at Inhabitat.
THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY - On Thursday, March 21, the 596 Acres’ interactive online map will begin providing information about vacant public land in the borough of the Bronx. 596 Acres will also begin distribution of print maps and signs for labeling lots throughout the borough in the coming weeks. Simultaneously, 596 Acres launches their website in Spanish!
"I'm glad that community-level interest, thought and planning around vacant space will be taken more seriously," said Aazam Otero, a Bronx resident and public space advocate.
Thank you so much to the nearly 50 people who attended our Brooklyn General Meeting on Sunday, March 10th. Representatives from Lots all around Brooklyn (and a few Queens folks) were in attendance. We also welcomed some folks who are still looking for the lot in their life. Hope you all found one!
The Run Down:
In the first half of the meeting, two different lots with access, 100 Quincy Garden and Myrtle Village Green shared their collected wisdom about the experience of gaining access.
-- 100 Quincy Garden - Khemenec, Kate, and Sheena shared their experiences gaining access. They answered many people's questions about the process of getting approval from Greenthumb for their license, and they talked about what it takes to demonstrate that the whole block is behind you. Reach out to them at their website or check out their lot page to read about some of their experience if your group is facing the same questions.
-- Myrtle Village Green - Stephan and Paula talked about the long term experience of gaining access to Myrtle Village Green. They have great knowledge about how to keep a group together when faced with adversity! Reach out to them at the MVG website or check their lot page to read through the whole story.
-- After that, we popcorned out questions. Most people's questions were specific, and it seemed like a lot of the assembled group had specific answers. We broke out into smaller discussions and hopefully everybody got the answers they needed.
This is all awesome, and it's not even spring!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. (it's not required, but it helps us with snacks!)
596 Acres is pleased to announce that we are starting work with the Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI) of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia to custom-build an online tool for the Philadelphia land stewardship community.
Like the tools we’ve built in New York, this map will help individuals and groups in Philadelphia identify, organize around and access publicly-owned vacant land in Philadelphia, as well as provide information about pathways to protected land tenure for Philadelphia groups that are already land stewards. GJLI is hiring a facilitator to use the platform and connect online organizing with communities working on the land.
We are really excited to continue conversations with vacant lot transformation facilitators in other cities as we head into 2013.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
596 Acres, a young Brooklyn-based project that is making a big impact on New York City by providing tools for communities to unlock vacant public land, has found its first permanent home at the new Silent Barn as a studio. In the last year, working out of out pockets, our kitchens, coffee shops and donated spaces around Brooklyn, 596 Acres has played a key role in the creation of eight community controlled spaces that used to just be lots behind fences - these are new gardens, parks and playgrounds that are run by neighbors all over the city! Four more spaces are poised to open this Spring. With a new permanent home at the Silent Barn, the impact on community can only deepen.
Since the start, 596 Acres has been grounded in print production - 596 Acres broadsheets and graphics show up on fences around the city, in galleries around the country and even in the Venice Biennale.
596 Acres now expands its Print Archive in 2013 by publishing a artist book with Brasilian artist Daniel Eizirik: "I'm So Lucky You Found Me: Public Land Inside the City." The book is a drawn documentation of vacant land in the city, created on location at Brooklyn's vacant lots with the collaboration of neighbors and vacant lot transformers. It will be available for sale ($10!) at the Book Launch at the Silent Barn on Friday, January 11, 2013, and through 596acres.org.
596 Acres Print Archive: http://596acres.org/en/about/596-acres-archive/
Contact: Paula Z. Segal, Founder & Director, 596 Acres, email@example.com
596 Acres, The Law Office of Mohen & Segal & The Silent Barn present
I'm So Lucky You Found Me Book Launch & Studio Warming Party
Friday, January 11, 2013
7 p.m. at 11 Stanwix Street, Brooklyn NY 11206
Music starts at 8 p.m.:
Celestial Band (yoruban based gospel sounds, from a 596 Acres organizing community)
Zeke Healy & Karen Waltuch (guitar & viola, all dressed up)
G Lucas Crane v. Non Horse (on tapes)
CONSUMATA (cumbia sabanera groove train)
This is a private party. RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our friends at Good Eye Video (Brooklyn NY, cinematography) and Daniel from Contorno (Brasil, editing and animation), we have this great new video of organizers speaking about the lots in their lives. We're so glad to be able to introduce them to each other and to you. And we're thrilled to be the catalysts and facilitators of change in their neighborhoods!
Friend and collaborator Daniel Eizirik is working on documenting public vacant lots with 596 Acres this winter, in conjunction with the exhibition "On Purpose" at the BRIC Rotunda gallery (33 Clinton Street, Brooklyn Heights). The drawings are created through shared experiences on location. The locations for this documentary are publicly owned vacant lots - those that have been transformed and those that remain sites of future transformations.
Until December 21, Daniel will be drawing and working as a facilitator of drawings by collaborators including neighbors and vacant lot organizers (this could be you!). If you wish to collaborate and participate in these immersions, contact Daniel directly (email@example.com or 516 943 3667). He would love to come out and meet you in your neighborhood or to attend any events you are having locally. & feel free to forward this and re-post the images (credit Daniel Eizirik).
In January, we will be putting these images together into an artist book that you can keep (SAVE THE DATE: Lots of Land/Land of Lots release will be on January, 11, 2013).
Before you email us, please check our Rockaway Relief Common Questions.
This summer, 596 Acres worked closely with communities in Rockaway around issues of vacant public land during a three-week residency in Edgemere, Rockaway. We were welcomed and made lasting connections. A dozen groups started oranizing projects around sites and are engaged in our network.
The people in those groups live in Rockaway. They are some of the most affected by Hurricane Sandy; the affects of the storm are exasserbated by a history of unequal resource distribution to the Rockaway neighborhoods. Thousands have been without heat or power for a week now. Access to food and medical care is being provided by awesome on-the-ground community responders like you and me. The problem is worse because Rockaway is cut off from the transit network and there is a gas shortage.
With our friends at UnLocal, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and the Gowanus Studio Space, we are doing what we can to coordinate assistance for our friends and neighbors. We are trying to listen closely to their needs. Read below for how you can help.
for 596 Acres
|This message was sent on Sunday, November 4 at 8pm. It is a follow up to an earlier message, sent 24 hours prior, that generated an overwhelming response. That earlier message is below but the most current information is here. <3|
Our weekly newsletter is awesome! We tell you you what's going on across the Acres network, where you can plug into projects in your neighborhood, about resources your autonomous projects can use and how we're growing as an organization. It arrives in inboxes on Thursdays.
Sign up today! To make it more fun, we're gonna give away a set of gift certificates for wine tastings at three conveniently located Long Island vineyards: Roanoke Vineyards (Riverhead, NY), Laurel Lake Vineyards (Laurel, NY), & Clovis Point (Jamesport, NY). The 200th person to sign up will get one!
PEOPLE WORKING OUR LAND TOGETHER
596 Acres and Sun In Bloom present
A Celebration of our Neighborhood Bounties
A lot of vacant lots in New York City are privately owned. We are starting to work with community groups and private landowners who see the benefits of having a site activated versus sitting abandoned and vacant. Two examples:
The lot that Feedback Farms (a part of A Small Green Patch) is on is owned by a private landlord. It is sandwiched between two publicly owned lots (HPD) to which A Small Green Patch has a license; when they got that license, they contacted the borough president Marty Markowitz's office for help reaching out to the private landowner -- turns out he was friend of Marty's. The private landowner is donating rent for the year and will be getting a thank you letter from our fiscal sponsor that might help on his taxes; he also hasn't gotten a single Sanitation ticket since the creation of the Farm (those were a real problem before) and gets to feel good about how he is contributing. Feedback Farms has a general liability insurance policy that covers farming/gardening activities at the site.
The lot that One Kin Farm is on is also private land. The owner was approached by the lead gardeners on that site, who, building on 596 Acres' experience with A Small Green Patch, offered to carry an insurance policy (which we helped them arrange for free), take care of the lot and give the owner a thank you letter from a 501(c)(3). They also took him on a tour of thriving gardens in the neighborhood and generally charmed him.
We are working with other groups who are also trying to reach out to private landowners and still others who are in the midst of negotiations. There is another private owner in Bushwick who is looking for stewards for his land now.
The big difference is that when it's a private owner, it really is all about the relationship. If you can get a meeting with them, we can help you figure out how to frame what you can offer.
Get in touch if you know an owner who wants his land used for public good & greening!
We're planning an August residency at the Rockaways to dovetail with the release of our data for Queens. There is A LOT of vacant land there. We would love to partner with any existing organizations to schedule visioning sessions and pick targeted lots to label. Get in touch!
NY4P leads a RALLY at CITY HALL next Tuesday, June 5 at 10am in the Fight Against Further Parks Department Budget Cuts!
New Yorkers for Parks and New York City Council Members Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito and James Oddo will speak out on the steps of City Hall next Tuesday, June 5, at 10 AM – and gardeners need to join them! Many Parks advocates will be on hand, we need to SHOW THEM THAT GARDENS ARE IMPORTANT TOO!!!!
Join the rally to call upon the City Council and Bloomberg Administration to restore Parks Department’s funding!
GreenThumb has had as many as 5 Outreach coordinators in the past. Currently they have only two to serve all five Boroughs. This means that two people have to handle resource requests, staff workshops and giveaways, answer constituent phone calls, and do deliveries and site visits. Wonder why that soil delivery is taking a long time? Now you know. Everyone is stepping in and helping out as much as they can, but with a staff that small there is no way they can provide anywhere near the service level we need!
The Federal Block Grant Program, that FULLY funds GreenThumb, has been cut by Congress, and to some extent the City's Office of Management and Budget has no choice but to cut allocations to many City programs. It’s important to note, however, that GreenThumb has never received an annual allocation of CITY tax levy funding to supplement the federal dollars. THE CITY OWES US THAT MONEY! Seeing that GreenThumb is included in the CIty budget is something that is in both the Mayor and the City Council’s power to change.
What You Can Do:
1. Get to the steps of City Hall Tuesday, June 5, at 10 AM – and feel free to bring signs (no wooden or metal poles) reflecting your SUPPORT FOR GREENTHUMB!!! Tell your neighbors and friends to come, too! Plan to arrive 20 minutes early, because you’ll need to pass through security on either the eastern (Center Street/Park Row) or western (Broadway) side of City Hall.
2. Testify at the City Council Budget Hearing on Wednesday, June 6, at 3:30 PM – The public comment period begins at 3:30, but arrive earlier to sign up if you want to speak – the comment period is first-come, first-served and the Council is trying to minimize the impact of the public testimony (and testing the stamina of their constituents) by having public testimony for ALL City Budget issues on the same day. We NEED a strong showing supporting GREENTHUMB!!!
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
City Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan
3. Submit a written statement to the City Council. Even if you cannot attend the City Council public hearing, you can submit a written statement. Email or fax your statement to Tanisha Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-788-7061 on or before June 6. Indicate that the statement is to be included in the record for the Parks Department Executive Budget Hearing.
4. Contact your local Council Member and the Mayor. Let them know that GARDENS matter, and the GreenThumb budget needs to be better funded now!
We're exploring our potential role as a facilitator of relationships between private owners of vacant lots and the communities who live near those lots. We are starting with a single relationship: One Kin Farm in Bed Stuy which starts building next week and has the space to do so through the generosity of a private landowner who shares our vision of a network of decentralized community spaces operated by engaged citizens. One Kin Farm can use your financial support on IOBY: they are going to get bunnies! If you know of other landowners who are looking to activate their properties with community participation for interim use, please contact us. We would love to add them to our network!
There's this privately owned vacant-lot that people could use. How do I get started?
This is a great opportunity for your neighborhood and the wider 596 Acres community. Two ways you could start:
1. If you'd like to be involved in the project yourself, put a sign on the fence to the lot telling your neighbors that you have permission to use it and how to reach you to start scheming for how to do so this spring.
2. If you're looking for other people to spearhead the effort (and take care of things like insurance and fundraising), we can add your lot to our interactive map to draw people to your budding project that way. Let us know the address of the lot and if you'd like to do that. We have been talking about adding a layer for private lots that people WANT community uses on and this would be a great way for us to start building that layer. Click the contact button to get in touch with us.
& we're psyched! You can read about us on the Awesome Fondation's blog!
1. 463 Tompkins Future Urban Orchard! This site is negotiating for city agency approval now; neighbors are making plans for what to do with mound of a downed house -- a terraced orchard, perhaps? Contact Beatriz at (646) 481-1708 or email@example.com to get involved.
2. 462 Halsey Community Gardens: This site opened with city agency approval in April 2012. Come by any day & join us for a party this Sunday!
3. Putnam & Patchen Future Community Garden! Two block associations and the neighbors have come together and are negotiating or agency approval, which is imminent. They hope to be growing something by June 2012. Contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or Alexis at (646) 351-9859 to get involved.
At an awards ceremony presided over by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last night, 596 Acres won the award of "Best Green App" from the NYC BigApps 3.0 competition. Thanks so much to everyone who voted for us!
The official announcement is here: http://nycgov.tumblr.com/post/21324992484/nycedc-last-night-mayor-bloomberg-announced
Selected other coverage:
0.329 acres have been activated by community groups who found out that vacant land in their neighborhoods was actually public land. That tiny amount is all of the Java Street Garden Collaborative, Feedback Farms/A Small Green Patch and 462 Halsey. We have a long long way to go.
GreenThumb gets no funding from New York City. Here's what we have to say about that:
"My name is Paula Segal. I am here representing a community-based project called 596 Acres. I am here today to testify for city council funding for community driven parks projects and, specifically city funding for the GreenThumb program.
596 Acres connects communities with land resources around them to enable the formation of community-controlled public spaces where New Yorkers can work together and play together in their own neighborhoods. Our project is a data project -- we use maps and hand-made signs to identify unused public land in Brooklyn. Our pilot project, which started by labeling a dozen unused Housing Preservation and Development sites last summer and supporting community members who saw those signs in navigating the existing processes for getting access. Three of those sites are now GreenThumb gardens -- the Java Street Garden Collaborative in Greenpoint, Feedback Farms in Gowanus and 462 Halsey Community Gardens in Bedford Stuyvesant.
GreenThumb provides materials and gardening support for gardens on public land. They provided an already-established process for these three community groups to actually open their fences and put public land to use that the people who live right near those lands could control and use for recreation and food production. Without the help and support of GreenThumb, these groups would be going it alone and would likely still be weedy, vacant lots behind fences.
One of the things that I find myself doing a lot as a community advocate through 596 Acres is telling community members not to give up -- GreenThumb is swamped. Sometimes materials take a long time to arrive. Sometimes emails take a long time to get answered. City funding for this crucial program that is serving the needs of New Yorkers who want to work together to create community controlled spaces would increase the capacity of the program, and have the effect of increasing the capacity of all New Yorkers to affect the use of our common lands in our own communities.
596 Acres is here today to ask the City Council to use the Parks budget process as an opportunity to add city funding to GreenThumb. Even a small amount of funding added directly from the City budget would immediately increase green space capacity in our neighborhoods, especially those where parks are scarce."
This is a repost from the Java Street Garden Collaborative blog.
After a brief presentation at last week's CB1 meeting in front of the Parks & Waterfront Committee, given by Stella Goodall and supported by some terrific graphics and presentation materials created by Rena Mande, Amanda Rekemeyer and Phil Grimaldi of DSGN AGNC, we have pretty much been given the green light to temporarily take up residence at 59 Java Street in Greenpoint.
We were joined at the meeting by fellow group members Susan Marie Kosor and Manuel Zuniga; also in attendance was our advocate from Green Thumb, Roland Chouloute. The main concern in discussion was the temporal nature of this particular lot which has apparently already been RFP'd (Request for Proposal) by the North Brooklyn Development Corporation for affordable housing; it seems the hold-up has been funding and which could be long- or short-term in coming. We had the opportunity at last Thursday's meeting to meet Rich Mazur, Executive Director of NBDC, who says he would support our efforts as a temporary garden project. He also suggested that, as we have had such an overwhelming response from potential volunteers, that we might also take a look at his Dupont Street community garden for overflow involvement.
In the past, groups have been granted "temporary" access to vacant public land only to be asked some time later to vacate under very similar circumstances. Once groups get entrenched and gain the support and attachment of the surrounding neighborhood, it can be very hard for everyone involved to simply move on. We already knew we'd be up against this and rather than try to dig our heels in against the inevitable decided to embrace it, giving birth to the vision of a "roving garden group".
Ours is not the only vacant lot in this predicament of having laid in waste for years waiting for something to happen and in the meanwhile becoming a blight on the surrounding area, collecting trash, overgrown weeds and generally bringing down the quality of life to that particular block. Our vision is to create a template for creating a productive active space for all in a short amount of time and then being able to easily and quickly move on to the next such project when the time comes.
We are past the halfway mark in our fundraising campaign going with ioby.org and we encourage you to consider giving, however small an amount, and to share it to help us meet our goal ...so we can effectively break ground and get going this spring!
This past Saturday, 596 Acres had the honor and privilege of presenting our tactics to the awesome youth of Flip the Table: the NYC Youth Food Council.
In the words of the Council's organizers, Flip the Table "is training future leaders in the sustainable food movement, lending a problem-solution framework around which youth can mobilize and envision change. We do this by connecting fifteen Brooklyn-based youth within a network of urban farms, non-profit organizations and institutions while raising awareness about local, regional, and systemic issues surrounding food systems." We are so impressed and urge you to support them on IOBY if you can.
Saturday's presentation was to a packed room at Pratt Institute -- the youth love this program so much that they bring their friends to check it out and on this particular Saturday, the wonderful folks from the vast geography of the NYC food justice movement who are serving as Flip the Table mentors were in attendance as well.
We got a sweet note from one of the attendees after: "i just wanted to thank you again for coming in and talking with us. i really appreciated what you shared and the work you are doing. its really exciting and hopeful to see and imagine the possibilities of getting our hands in the dirt in our own communities, taking agency in our own lives, and having rich foods be available to more than just the wealthy."
Thanks, Flip the Table, for making an opportunity to share our work with a concentration of the awesomest justice-fighter in the City. What a day!*
*We were also at the Center for Architecture that same day, on a really impressive panel addressing freedom of assembly and the design of public space. Watch the video if you were enjoying Saturday morning elsewhere (Paula Z. Segal gives opening remarks at 1:02 and participates in a conversation that begins right after with the rest of the panelists).
Take the Acres with you
We've been working on making our map work better on smart phones. Now iPhone users can pinch the map to zoom in or out, and the map generally looks better. You can also add an app-like bookmark by going to 596acres.org on your phone, clicking on the icon at the bottom of the screen in the middle (on older iPhones this is a +, newer ones have a box with an arrow shooting out of it), then selecting "Add to Home Screen." Now 596 Acres will look and act more like an app on your phone.
Groundtruthing just got way, way, way easier. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Tell us about the vacant public lots in your life.
Thank you to everyone who came out last night. So great to meet so many of you in person, even better to watch you meet each other. We are brewing an awesome concoction for spring!
Next Meeting: Sunday, February 12 at 5pm.
Location TBD. Pie flavors will be unknown until arrival.
On the agenda:maps for all 5 boroughs, tools for groundtruthing, who needs fences?, national day of action for empty lots #F27, a seed saving library & whatever you want to talk about.
We also decided that we will start sending out a regular Friday email blast with news from the Acres and anyone else in our community with news to share. Got news? Send it to email@example.com by Wednesday at 8pm. Want to make sure you are getting all the news? Sign up for the newsletter!
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support 596 Acres at F.E.A.S.T. last night, and to everyone who learned about us and decided to cast their vote our way. You rocked it. We won. New, more accurate data, new broadsheets and a new set of fence signs are on their way for spring. If you want to help us spend this bounty in the best way for connecting communities with public land, join us. You can start by joining us at our first borough-wide general assembly today at 5:30pm at The Commons.
It's time to demystify those dots on the map! This January -- we turn to you to tell us what is happening in your neighborhoods. Some of the "vacant lots" on our map -- which is really the NYC Planning map -- aren't really vacant at all.
Some are community gardens & parks. Some have other uses. And some are absolutely perfect community greenspaces for us to dream about in 2012. We want to know what's what! Before we print our next publication. We invite you to take a walk in the next few weeks, and think about springtime coming, a structured way. We need your help looking at every dot in Brooklyn in real life.
Can you commit to checking out the ones in your neighborhood? And uploading photos or notes to the pages for those lots? That would be great! We have a goal of getting this done by January 15. If you have any questions -- email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first 596Acres-initiated community determined green space opened its gate as a compost drop-off site a week ago on Saturday, December 3 -- the 462 Halsey Community Garden. Shatia Jackson, organizer and co-founder, had this to share about the journey so far and the path ahead:
Getting permission to use the lot at 462 Halsey Street has had its hiccups and has taken 4 months to see it through. My involvement started when 596acres put a sign on the fence, alerting us that there is so much vacant land in Brooklyn that it would be a crime not to try and utilize it for the betterment of our neighborhood and explaining that this empty lot is owned by Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), a New York City agency.
We started by gathering community members through fliers, a facebook page, a yahoo group and local publications. We got together a group of people who were interested in gardening. From there, we had our first meeting to discuss our vision and what we wished to accomplish in August. Through the 596 Acres network, we connected with Brooklyn Permaculture who have been instrumental in helping us plan out this garden using all natural, cheap permaculture methods.
We spread the word as much as possible about this garden venture by attending New York Community Garden Coalition meetings, passing out information at local festivals and leaving fliers at local businesses. Once we felt secure in the number of serious members we had on board, we contacted HPD and Green Thumb and tried to get ourselves registered.
This part of the process was the most confusing because we contacted HPD and they told us that we had to contact Green Thumb and then vice versa. We even had problems with figuring out exactly who to contact within both organizations since it seemed that each individual gave us incorrect information. Finally we were put in contact with the correct people and started our application process. Green Thumb has a protocol for managing HPD-owned land and will, if you are trying to start a project on such land, send you all the necessary info and applications and they serve as a middle-man between you and the agency.
While our application was being processed, we continued to network, meet and finalize our goals/blue prints and raise money. We had a very successful fundraising effort on IOBY.org and that is how we were able to buy all of our start-up tools. In addition to fundraising, we have applied for grants and have so far been approved for the "Love Your Block" grant totaling $1,000.
We have had two weekends of working on the garden thus far. and I can't believe how far we have gotten! We completed our compost station which has 4 bins, raked up all the dead leaves to use for compost, got rid of about 15 bags of garbage and pruned all the trees to optimize sunlight. The volunteer turnout was amazing: at our peak we had at least 20 people helping out. The community's interest is overwhelming! For anyone who would like to help out, we will have our gates open every weekend as long as weather permits.
I hope sharing our journey helps other upstart gardens!!
Here are some lots around which communities are congealing (join them! contact info after each link):
Bed Stuy - 776 Myrtle Avenue (Garden On Myrtle)
Bed Stuy - 462 Halsey Street (462 Community Garden)
Bed Stuy/Wallabout Village - 913 Kent Ave (Myrtle Village Green)
DUMBO/Vinegar Hill - Waterfront site
Gowanus - 487 4th Avenue (A Small Green Patch)
Greenpoint - 61 Franklin Street
Greenpoint - 59 Java Street (Java Street Community Garden Coalition)