Information about this lot
Why is this lot here?
We posted this lot because:
- The lot is being used as a community green space.
- Neighbors got access to it with the help of 596 Acres.
John Coyne is the MTA real estate fellow.
This land is being stewarded by the following group:
Q Gardens Community Farm (“Q Gardens”) consists of a group of neighbors in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, NY, who have joined to convert an unused lot into a productive and welcoming community garden.
How did this all begin?
In the fall of 2012, Anne Schoeneborn, a new resident to the Prospect Park South neighborhood, engaged 596acres.org to add this lot to their online map of NYC public, unused land. She subsequently engaged MTA, the owner of the lot, to request authorization to convert the lot into a community garden. Prescott Vann, MTA’s Deputy Director of Leasing & Acquisitions, assigned Arturo Espinoza to help seek approval from New York City Transit. Through 596 acres, Ali Jacobs, a resident of neighboring Lefferts Gardens, also soon joined the project.
Together, Anne and Ali visited a number of community gardens around Brooklyn to begin to learn the ropes; reached out to community stakeholders; got the official support of Community Board 14 and a range of local businesses, residents, and organizations; and built a community of 50+ neighbors who are interested in actively participating in the garden (as well as a core group of organizers leading the overall planning process).
The Q Gardens group decided that their best strategy for long-term stewardship of the lot would be to join the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (http://bqlt.org/). After plans created by Hilliker Landscape Design (https://www.behance.net/hillikerlandscape) under the supervision of Grain Collective (http://graincollective.com/).
BQLT singed a lease with the MTA that allows access to the site and access became official on December 8, 2014! Q Gardens has a license to operate the garden at the site from the BQLT.
What a a fabulous collaboration!
From the group's event flyer!:
A new community garden for Flatbush, by Flatbush
On Saturday, June 21st at 2pm, Q Gardens will be having a bake sale and tree pit beautification event!
WHERE: On E. 18th St. between Church and Caton.
Street Tree Care: Join us to put up tree guards, add mulch and compost to the tree pits, and plant around the trees.
Bake Sale: Buy some delicious baked goods to benefit out neighborhood tree
projects and care for the neighborhood cats—i.e. meet Lil'Sebastian below!
For more information about Q Gardens:
• Call Anne at 503-866-7195 (se habla español)
• Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Visit our website at: qgardens.org
• Like us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Qgardenscommunity
After submitting a proposal to Citizens Committee for 3K last month, we are on a roll and are also putting together a composting proposal to Citizens Committee. A letter of support/permission was required and MTA came through and signed a letter for us! All the documentation from BQLT has now been submitted to MTA and the design drawings have received an informal 'looks good to me' from MTA and our landscape architect is conducting his final review before stamping them for final submission. Really in the home-stretch now!
Thank you to http://graincollective.com/ (a local architecture firm) for helping this group get the drawings under seal that they need to move forward with a lease from the MTA.
We have officially launched the Q Gardens website, please check it out for upcoming events: http://qgardens.org/
Check out some great photos of the community fence occupation here: http://qgardens.org/2013/10/19/81913-q-gardens-sign-making/
Q Gardens looks like it's becoming a reality -- we have connected them with the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, who will be signing an agreement to let community use the land with MTA on behalf of neighbors.
This Saturday, October 19 from 12pm to 5pm join them in front of the lot (East 18th and Church Avenue) to decorate the fence, meet folks walking by and expand the group's organizing power.
This group's aspirations were wonderfully summarized by http://theqatparkside.blogspot.com/2013/08/q-gardens.html
Community Garden Proposal
Site: Brooklyn; Block: 5078 Lot: 32 (behind the subway stop at Church Avenue and East 18th Street)
Ali Jacobs (email@example.com; 413-636-8042)
Anne Schoeneborn (firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-866-7195)
Goal: To convert this unused, overgrown lot into a productive community garden
In the fall of 2012, Anne Schoeneborn, a new resident to the Prospect Park South neighborhood, engaged 596acres.org to add this lot to their online map of NYC public, unused land. She subsequently engaged MTA, the owner of the lot, to request authorization to convert the lot into a community garden. Prescott Vann, MTA’s Deputy Director of Leasing & Acquisitions, assigned Arturo Espinoza to help seek approval from New York City Transit. Through 596 acres, Ali Jacobs, a resident of neighboring Lefferts Gardens, has also joined the project. Together, Anne and Ali have reached out to community stakeholders, gotten the official support of Community Board 14 and local businesses, residents and organizations, built a community of 30 neighbors and gardeners who are interested in actively participating in the garden as well as a core group of organizers leading the legal and financial resources of the group. On May 23rd Arturo Espinoza informed the group that the application has progressed to the next stage and the land is approved for our use. Currently the core organizers are seeking fiscal sponsorship and insurance to meet the MTA’s requirements to procure the leasing agreement to the lot.
Although the lot is small, we hope to turn this into a very productive urban garden. In the first year, we envision developing a shared, communal garden (without any individual plots), with a series of raised beds, rain barrels, and a composting bin. We believe the communal garden model will allow us to make the most of the space, and hope to grow a range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We hope to engage the local community, particularly children, as much as possible—and believe this high-traffic corner is an ideal location. Currently, the lot is abandoned, over-grown, and trash-strewn. Our goal is to see this corner transformed into a beautiful, green community space that provides:
A space for children and adults to learn about gardening
A space for children and adults to participate in the process of planning and carrying out garden-related activities, including: sowing, weeding, watering, and harvesting
A local source of fresh, organically grown vegetables and herbs
A place for children and adults to experience and enjoy a safe, green space in their community
Community supporters to date:
Community Board 14
DSJ Management, which owns the two large apartment buildings closest to the lot
More than Sevenlocal business owners
Flatbush Community Garden
Flatbush Farm Share CSA
Church Ave BID
Tools and storage space
Materials for raised beds (wood, tools, topsoil, compost)
Materials for compost bin
Potential sources of materials/technical assistance/ funding:
NYC Compost Project
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Citizen’s Committee for New York
Brooklyn Community Foundation - Brooklyn Community Garden Fund
Merk Family Fund
Phillip J Hahn Foundation
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Compost for Brooklyn
Hey E. 18th Crew,
Thought you might like to know about a City Council Candidate's forum for your district. It's relatively close to your soon-to-be-accessed site and it's great way to meet more folks in your community.
Also...we have tons of voter registration cards, let me know if you want some!
Welcome to the neighborhood! Please email me at email@example.com and I will add you to our googlegroup where all of the detailed planning has been happening as of late.
Just got to the neighborhood and was digging around hoping to start what you've already got the ball rolling. Very exciting! How can I get involved?
Great news!! We have received word from MTA that we can move forward!! Next our focus will be on filling out the necessary paperwork (and identifying the legal entity that will appear on the license agreement). We are working with 596 Acres to learn from others who have already been through this process ... Thanks, 596 Acres, for your support!
We are happy to invite folks to come help us clean in and around this lot on Saturday June 1st at 9am!!! The Church Ave. Business Improvement District (BID) is collaborating with MTA to access the lot for cleaning purposes -- a great first step! The meeting place is outside the Downtown Natural Market at the corner of Church and E. 17th. There will be a BBQ following the clean-up at 2pm.
We will be having our next general meeting on Saturday, May 11th at 12 noon.
Location: Backyard of 336 Westminster Rd. (near the corner of Cortelyou).
At the meeting, we will be preparing for our upcoming presentation to the District 14 Community Board's Environmental Committee (on May 23rd)! We will also be enjoying some food and sunshine.
I am EXTREMELY happy to report that we have now established a googlegroup, where we are busily planning and discussing the future of this space. I will make sure that we continue to share major updates here. If you are interested in participating in the planning process, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly add you to the group.
Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who came to the meeting. I couldn't be happier to have met all of you. To everyone who contacted us but wasn't able to come, we will be sending out a group email shortly. Also, some good news on the MTA front(!): I spoke with Arturo today and he said that someone went to assess the lot and that a formal memo is being put together. He should receive the memo next week and it will basically formally communicate the result of the assessment... he seemed to have a good feeling about it, so cross your fingers everyone!
We are happy to announce our first group meeting to talk all about the future of this community garden!! It will be held on Tuesday, March 12th at 8pm. For information on the location, please email me at: email@example.com
Hm. There must be a relationship between the two organizations on some level (and room for informal conversations, etc.). We will continue to follow up on all fronts.
Since this lot is owned and managed by the MTA, the best route to =
getting access is through MTA directly. GreenThumb will be helpful in =
getting materials and access to a larger community once the group has =
negotiated terms of access with MTA.=20
On Mar 1, 2013, at 1:27 PM, "596 Acres Lot 3050780032" =
One more update I forgot to post earlier: we have been in touch with Roland Chouloute from Green Thumb. On Feb. 11, he requested a brief proposal describing our progress to date and our vision for the garden. We submitted this proposal the following day, but haven't heard back yet. Paula or others, do you have any pull at Green Thumb to help get things going from their end? Thanks!
Ok, I spoke with Arturo. He says that, approximately 10 years ago, the owner of the adjacent parking lot wanted to expand into MTA's lot and that, at that point, an engineer said the ground couldn't hold that type of (vehicular) weight. He hasn't been able to locate the files yet, but is working on it. He also said that he assured Andrew Inglesby that the proposed use is as a community garden (and thus an altogether different scenario).
Hi all: I am a student at the New School. Parsons has a program in
architecture and sustainable urban design. There are lots of innovative
student minds there waiting to be let loose on problems like this. Let me
know if you are interested in really pursing this and I can send out a
I spoke with Andrew and he is going to circle back and discuss with Arturo. He mentioned that no "heavy machinery" could be on the lot...and I assured him that this would not be an issue. He also mentioned that a lot of entities have expressed interest in this lot in the past, and I assured him that we are conducting broad-based community organization efforts (and already have the support of a number of community stakeholders).
I spoke with Andrew Inglesby at MTA and he understands that the current situation is not a good one. Follow up with him? 646-252-2658.
Huh. I'm afraid I don't have any contacts in the architecture world (actually, I do know one person I could ask). Seems a bit bizarre that only this triangle of land wouldn't be able to bear a load, but the sidewalk etc. right adjacent to it could. Paula, do you have any ideas of who could help with this?
The folks at MTA real estate are concerned that the train tunnel beneath this lot is too close to the surface for the ground to be able to bear a load. They understand that leaving the locked-away lot is not in anyone's best interests and are willing to think about solutions. Maybe we need an architect to propose a load distribution mechanism here?
Ali just completed the beautiful sign that will announce this community garden project to the neighborhood (see below)!! It's beautiful!!!...and made from a piece of wood we found in the garbage. We plan to hang it on Monday :) Let's see how many people we can organize the old-fashioned way....
hi Anne, would be very interested in getting involved here. I've been looking for a local garden for a while and this year I intend to get serious. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help get the approval through the red tape!
Prescott Vann (Deputy Director, Leasing & Acquisitions) responded the same day saying that they will need to see approval from New York City Transit. He referred me to Arturo Espinza (MTA Real Estate Dept.). After following up several times, Arturo emailed me today saying that he is awaiting an answer from NYCT as to whether the use would be permitted.
Had a very helpful, pleasant conversation with John Coyne. He referred me to Prescott Vann, whom I have now contacted via email. John indicated that as long as there are no concrete plans for the lot, proceeding with the garden should not be a problem. He did mention a potential annual fee of $100 and some insurance requirements. Very exciting!!!!!!