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Ten Neighbors Community Garden

Information about this lot

There are 2 lots grouped here:
  • Ten Neighbors Community Garden (658 SARATOGA AVENUE). More details at OASIS.
  • Brooklyn block 3536, lot 52 (89 BLAKE AVENUE). More details at OASIS.
Known Use: community green space
Address: 658 SARATOGA AVENUE, Brooklyn, 11212
Area: 0.11 acres (4768 square feet)
More information about this lot at OASIS

Political Boundaries

City Council District 41 represented by Alicka Ampry-Samuel
Community District Brooklyn 16 ( bk16@cb.nyc.gov / 718-385-0323 ), district manager: Viola D. Greene-Walker
Find all elected officials for this lot at Who Represents Me? NYC

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.
  • In MapPLUTO the city lists this lot's landuse as vacant.
  • In MapPLUTO the city lists this lot's building class as vacant.

Government Agency

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (public)
Contact: GreenThumb Deputy Director Carlos Martinez ((212) 602-5329 / Carlos.Martinez@parks.nyc.gov)

Steward

This land is being stewarded by the following group:

Ten Neighbors Community Garden
organizers@596acres.org

News feed

Dec. 29, 2015, 10:22 p.m.
paula at 596 acres said

Thanks to amazing organizing by gardeners and supporters, this community space was taken off the list of potential development sites and TRANSFERRED TO THE PARKS DEPARTMENT TODAY!

Nov. 23, 2015, 9:57 a.m.
paula posted
Here is what this lot looked like before neighbors transformed it with 596 Acres’ help (google took this picture in 2007)!
July 26, 2015, 11:57 a.m.
Carlos Diaz said

Please help us maintain a beautiful community garden. We will be weeding and watering plants.

We will also be grilling hotdogs and have cold water.

Must e-mail or text to confirm.

Carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com
(347) 653 - 7366

Thank you,

Carlos Diaz

July 12, 2015, 3:44 p.m.
Carlos Diaz said

Work Day:

Join us

Saturday July 18th from 9AM - 12PM

We will be leveling the ground and watering plants.

We will have hotdogs, juice and water.

Please e-mail us to confirm: Carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com

658 Saratoga Avenue
Brooklyn NY

June 30, 2015, 10:31 p.m.
Carlos Diaz said

Help us to level the ground, move garbage, plant and much more.

Saturday July 11th 4:00 PM - 6:00PM

658 Saratoga Avenue, Brooklyn NY
(Corner of Saratoga and Blake Av)

June 2, 2015, 7:16 p.m.
Carlos Diaz said

Help Us Move Dirt and Remove Weeds.

Sunday June 7th
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Come with Gloves, Water, Breathing Masks and Sun Tan Lotion.

Any Questions Call Me:
(347) 653 - 7366

May 26, 2015, 10:18 a.m.
Carlos said

Second Clean up day:
Saturday May 30, 2015
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
We will be removing weeds so come ready to get dirty.
What to bring:
-Gloves
-Drinking water
-Breathing mask
-Sun tan lotion

May 10, 2015, 7:08 p.m.
Paula posted
The most important job!
May 10, 2015, 6:47 p.m.
Paula posted
April 15, 2015, 11:26 a.m.
Carlos Diaz said

Clean Up.

Ten Neighbors Community Garden needs your help. We will be cleaning the lot to get the garden started.

When:

Sunday May 10th, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Where:

658 Saratoga Avenue, Brooklyn NY
(Corner of Saratoga Avenue and Blake Avenue)

Make sure to come with gloves and comfortable dirty garden clothes.

Any questions contact Carlos Diaz. Carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com

April 9, 2015, 11:31 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Members of Ten Neighbors are holding a meeting Wednesday April 22nd at 3:30 PM at the garden to discuss creating a memorandum of understanding with Project Eats. If you would like to participate, reach out to Carlos who is listed as an organizer!

Feb. 18, 2015, 4:51 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

I heard that the meeting between neighbors and Project EATS went really well! The garden is going to be licensed under Ten Neighbors once again and everyone is going to collaborate. Hooray!

Feb. 5, 2015, 12:55 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

GreenThumb would like to host a meeting between Project Eats and the neighbors. If you'd like to attend and have a preference of a date or time the week of February 16th, please email carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com or call Mary at 718-316-6092 ext 3.

Jan. 29, 2015, 10:52 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

We're still waiting to hear back from Nancy at GreenThumb. I checked in with her again this morning....

Jan. 16, 2015, 4:22 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

This site was included in a list of sites that developers are being asked to apply to build housing on by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. (see http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/developers/NIHOP-NCP-RFQ.shtml).

The list was published on January 14, 2015 and developers' responses are due on February 20, 2015. The fact that this site was included DOES NOT necessarily mean that housing will be developed here, but it does me that HPD is encouraging housing development and is not likely to consider other uses for the time being. If no one applies for this site, it may again be available in March!

The list and RFQ are products of HPD, under the direction of the Mayor's office. Development is not certain - this is simply a request for developers to apply to become qualified to build in these sites.

This site has been slated for the "homeownership"' program:
1-4 unit homeownership OR
up to 14 unit coop program

with a preference given to developers who propose to have 1/3 of the units going to people making 80-90% of the Area Median Income (AMI; about average income for New Yorkers) and the rest being market-rate or affordable to those making more.

This article sums things up pretty well (and has the voices of folks from across the 596 Acres network): http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150116/morningside-heights/community-gardens-threatened-by-de-blasios-affordable-housing-plan

You can let your City Council member, the mayor's office and HPD know if you have feedback about the program or the selection of this site.

Jan. 16, 2015, 4:21 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

This site was included in a list of sites that developers are being asked to apply to build housing on by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. (see http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/developers/NIHOP-NCP-RFQ.shtml).

The list was published on January 14, 2015 and developers' responses are due on February 20, 2015. The fact that this site was included DOES NOT necessarily mean that housing will be developed here, but it does me that HPD is encouraging housing development and is not likely to consider other uses for the time being. If no one applies for this site, it may again be available in March!

The list and RFQ are products of HPD, under the direction of the Mayor's office. Development is not certain - this is simply a request for developers to apply to become qualified to build in these sites.

This site has been slated for the "homeownership"' program:
1-4 unit homeownership OR
up to 14 unit coop program

with a preference given to developers who propose to have 1/3 of the units going to people making 80-90% of the Area Median Income (AMI; about average income for New Yorkers) and the rest being market-rate or affordable to those making more.

This article sums things up pretty well (and has the voices of folks from across the 596 Acres network): http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150116/morningside-heights/community-gardens-threatened-by-de-blasios-affordable-housing-plan

You can let your City Council member, the mayor's office and HPD know if you have feedback about the program or the selection of this site.

Dec. 26, 2014, 2:39 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

Last week we heard from Carlos (organizer above) that the neighbor who lives next door to this lot received a letter and packet from GreenThumb about re-registering this garden! Here's the email that I sent below which also gives some back story:

"From: Mary Elizabeth Prall mary@596acres.org
Date: Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 2:26 PM
Subject: Ten Neighbors Garden Re-registration (Brooklyn Block 3536, Lot 51)
To: "Kohn, Nancy (Parks)" nancy.kohn@parks.nyc.gov
Cc: Carlosdjdiaz carlosdjdiaz@gmail.com, Marva Pascall marp614@gmail.com, "Hislop, Rasheed (Parks)" Rasheed.Hislop@parks.nyc.gov, "Paula Z. Segal, Lead Facilitator, 596 Acres" paula@596acres.org, 596 Acres organizers@596acres.org

Nancy,

In October 2013 I started working with Carlos Diaz (CC’d), a neighbor who lives around the corner from the piece of vacant, City-owned land at 658 Saratoga, Brooklyn Block 3536, Lot 51.

Brooklyn Block 3536, Lot 51 was the site of Ten Neighbors Garden for many years prior to the 2002 garden litigation settlement. It was slated for “Immediate Development” through the New Foundations program at that time but that development never materialized.

At Carlos’ request, we hung a sign on the fence explaining that the land was City-owned, it might again be a gardening opportunity and that there would be a meeting for neighbors. Carlos saw the sign and got in touch and I started organizing with him. The meeting happened on October 19, 2013; I helped Carlos facilitate and we collected dozens of signatures of neighbors walking by who were interested. We also met several members of the former Ten Neighbors Garden. They confirmed that nothing had happened on the property since 2002, when the garden was bulldozed. According to members of Ten Neighbors, had it been made clear that reestablishing gardening on the site was a possibility, they would had started their garden back up immediately.

The community was healing and getting ready to plant new seeds when Micheline Brown from Active Citizen Project’s Project Eats reached out to us by phone in January 2014. She explained that Project Eats had a license for the land through GreenThumb for the “Saratoga-Blake Garden” and was planning to start building on the site as soon as resources were available. We decided that working with Project Eats would meet the community’s goals of once again gardening on the former Ten Neighbors site and so no independent GreenThumb application was ever submitted.

The Ten Neighbors and their neighbors have still not heard from Project Eats but they did get a letter inviting them to re-register the Ten Neighbors Garden, addressed to the neighbor who lives next door to the lot, Margaret Chaplin, who was a member of the original garden. They would love to do so and Carlos is putting the registration paperwork in the mail today. I have also attached the forms in a PDF.

It does not make sense for the community to keep waiting for Project Eats to act. Carlos repeatedly reached out to Micheline in the Spring, until he learned that she was no longer at the organization. At our request, this summer Rasheed connected Project Eats with Carlos and neighbor Marva Pascall (CC’d), who were then eager merge the support of the neighborhood, the history of Ten Neighbors Garden and with the plans of the organization. Project Eats’ director Linda G. Bryant (212.612.1528) stated that a community planning meeting would occur in August 2014 to gather input from neighbors about this garden. No meeting has occurred that they know of, and no garden has been established in the space.

Please let us know how we should proceed. We're excited at the opportunity for these neighbors to regain use of this vacant space on their block!
Best,
Mary Elizabeth Prall
Organizer | 596 Acres' NYC Community Land Access Project
596 Acres, Inc.
540 President Street, 2E
Gowanus, Brooklyn NY 11215
718-316-6092 x 3
mary@596acres.org"

We're not sure if Project Eats has plans to re-apply for registration or not. Their director will be giving a talk at the Brooklyn Museum on January 3rd:
"http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/visit/first_saturdays.php?m=1
Community Talk
6:15–p.m.
Crossing Brooklyn artist Linda Goode Bryant leads a conversation with other urban farmers about the joys and challenges of growing food in New York City. Free tickets (25) at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m."

Nov. 4, 2014, 12:19 p.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

As far as we know there's still nothing happening on this site. Anyone have an update? Anyone reached out to Project Eats lately?

July 30, 2014, 10:10 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

After neighbors and I attempted to follow up with Project Eats we received this email from the director:

"Hi Mary,

Thanks for following up. The condition of this site has made it the most difficult site we at ACP/PE have faced with regards to its viability as a garden given the resources it will require to build. I may have mentioned this in my earlier email. Since that email, we were able to secure the help of the City to remove the large "hump" on the site. What they and we discovered from their work is that there is significant brick and other debris just beneath the surface of the ground. So, as they began to clear the debris and level the space so raised beds can be built, they had to stop because the equipment they provided could not remove the amount debris there and because they questioned whether removing the next layer would just reveal another layer of debris.

Our team, developed a plan for preparing the site for a garden that took all of the above into account. It will, however, it calls for the very top layer of debris to be removed by hand and leveling the ground with wood chips and mulch on which beds can be built, filled, and seeded.

Once we had this in place, we had to convince our source(s) for wood chips, mulch, and compost (which we will top off with purchased top soil) that the site is viable. We just received word last Friday that we will be able to get these materials to build the site.

Now that the questions regarding "the site can be built with the resources at hand" we are in a position to tweak the build plan and move forward.

We plan to host a community meeting in August. We plan to contact residents within the next week or so with date, time, and place. I'll also keep you posted.

In the meantime, I will personally spending days a week in Brownsville starting next week and encourage and will reach out to the residents you've been involved with to meet them and personally introduce myself and PE. We are very interested in learning from their past experience with this site and their interest in it once again being a farm/garden.

Please be in touch if you have additional questions, ideas, or concerns.

Best,

Linda
212.612.1528"

May 7, 2014, 11:57 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

We were apart of an email chain involving neighbors who were surprised and frustrated to realize that Project Eats had a license for this space without the community (& members of the former Ten Neighbors Garden):

"I am the Director of Active Citizen Project (ACP), a small non-profit
organization that shares your belief and I suspect your passion: people
should be able to grow and eat fresh nutritious food where they live.
Project EATS is ACP’s primary program.

Micheline Brown and Michelle Hodges no longer work at ACP. If any emails
or communications have been addressed to Ms. Brown, I have not received
them. Ms. Hodges forwarded your email to me. In the future, please feel
free to contact me directly regarding Saratoga. In addition to email, my
phone number is 212.612.1528. The office has not received any messages
from Mr. Carlos so I want to make sure everyone has the correct number.

We have two PE Brooklyn farmers that will be working at Saratoga to
support its build and operation: Manny Poy and Shayna Lewis. Feel free
to introduce yourself to them if you see them in the neighborhood prior to
their formal introduction at a community meeting we plan to host towards
the end of May.

ACP/Project EATS

Since our beginning ACP has partnered with residents, schools, and
community-based organizations to help support the development and
operation of safe, healthy, and sustainable neighborhood spaces for
growing, obtaining, and eating chemical-free, fresh, nutritious food. We
work to increase the ability of people to live healthy lives and pursue
well-being where they live.

The spaces we help develop are designed to benefit everyone in the
community. There are growing beds for people who want to garden. There
are training beds for neighborhood youth and adults who participate in PE
training programs to develop skills in urban agriculture. There are beds
where food is grown for people who want to eat fresh food but who are not
able or inclined to grow their own.

This year, we plan to introduce “human energy hubs” at a farm site and
partner high school in several communities. Families and individuals,
children, youth, and adults, will be able to generate battery-power when
they exercise at the farm or in their schools. These batteries will be
used to power tools and equipment needed to grow food on the neighborhood
site.

We are excited by the potential impact these hubs will have on supporting
the health of people in the community and on the level of care and
commitment we give to our natural environment. This year we will also be
offering community training programs in handmade manufacturing of
agriculturally based health and body and prepared food products; community
garden and farm workshops; and art and farm events in your neighborhood.

ACP believes that the hard work that gardeners and urban farmers do in
order to grow food in cities should lead to agricultural sites that are
sustainable and able to support themselves. Since the start of PE, revenue
from food has moved these sites closer to sustainability while meeting the
needs of the community. Revenues from food have made it possible for
community youth and adults in PE training programs to have paid,
part-time, seasonal work and trainee stipends for growing food in and for
their communities.

Status of 658 Saratoga

ACP thoroughly analyzed the site and discovered it presents many
challenges to making it safe and viable for growing food. Just a few
include: the soil, like most soil in the city, is toxic and cannot be
used to grow food in. Compost and top soil will have to be secured and
purchased for beds at this site. There is a 4.5’ high, 20’ wide or more
mound of what appears to consist of buried bricks, concrete, and rubbish
of all sorts (toys, appliances, trash).

This mound takes up a significant amount of space located in the sunniest
part of the site and cannot be grown on top of. There is a large boulder
that takes up more sunny space in a corner of the lot. While not
impossible, it would be very difficult for a large group of people to move
the mound or the boulder with their hands. Two large sections of the fence
are breached and unstable. One section of fence has been jeopardized by a
dead tree that has grown in the fence.

These conditions are extraordinary to ACP’s experience developing other
sites in the city and will require more resources and resourcefulness than
usual. Financial costs to prepare the site for growing include: top soil
(pre-tested for agricultural use), fence repair/replacement, dumpster
rental and removal for debris (whether moved by equipment or humans).

Prior to involving you, Mr. Carlos, and others in the community who want
to garden at that site, ACP had to make sure the site was a viable to grow
food in, today. For the past few months we have engaged that process. (We
had the wood we planned to allocate for making raised beds at Saratoga and
could no longer store it where we had been holding it. So we moved it to
Saratoga, as you mentioned.

We believe the site is worth meeting the challenges it presents. We hope
to meet them by the end of this month. At that time we want to begin
working with the community to build and operate the site.

If all goes well in addressing the challenges, we plan to notify residents
in the neighborhood about the (re)activation of the site as a garden/farm,
towards the end of May. This will be ACP’s first step in developing a
partnership with residents who want to be involved in this site. High
school and community organization partners that we are working with in
this neighborhood, continue to be excited and involved in seeing this lot
transformed into green space.

I hope this letter provides you have a good sense of who we are at
ACP/Project EATS and what we are doing to help make 658 Saratoga a viable
agricultural space in the Brownsville community.

All of us at ACP look forward to meeting and working with you and other
members of the community.

Sincerely,

Linda

Linda Goode Bryant
Executive Director
Active Citizen Project
250 West 39th Street, Suite 705
New York, NY 10018
212.612.1528"

Myself and Rasheed Hislop from GreenThumb will both be following up with Ms. Bryant regularly to ensure a community meeting happen before the construction and opening of this space.

Jan. 16, 2014, 10:35 a.m.
Mary @ 596 Acres said

An organization called Project Eats has a license to begin a garden here. They plan to begin working in the early spring.

If you'd like to join the group of neighbors participating contact
Micheline Brown, the site's farmer:
micheline@activecitizenproject.com
Active Citizen Project/Project EATS
250 West 39th Street
Suite 705
New York, NY 10018
(o)212-612-1528
www.projecteats.org

Oct. 21, 2013, 6:54 a.m.
Mary at 596 Acres said

On Saturday, October 19th the first meeting was held in front of the lot. Several neighbors come out for support, but also chatted with those just walking by. Members from Izabella Garden stopped by to offer advice and words of encouragement, and gave a tour of their space at the opposite end of the block!
In a few weeks the group will be hosting another meeting and be preparing to speak to their community board.

Oct. 21, 2013, 6:44 a.m.
someone posted
Carlos & his family held the first meeting on Saturday, October 19th
Oct. 14, 2013, 7:31 p.m.
someone posted
Oct. 14, 2013, 2:38 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

We got this note from Carlos today: "Just confirmed that this used to be a garden indeed. The person that maintained it passed away in early 2000 so I guess no one else continued."

Great to connect present-day organizing with the work that people did before us!

Oct. 14, 2013, 2:37 p.m.
someone posted
Carlos took this great picture of the lot -- so much sunny potential!
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

I put some signs on this lot today with the help of a young neighbor who promised that he would come back for the garden meeting and bring his grandpa.

First garden meeting will be Saturday October 19 at 4pm in front of the lot. Mary from 596 Acres will be there to share what we've learned from all the other sites in our network.

Aug. 5, 2012, 10:31 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

Prior to 2002, this was the Ten Neighbors garden.

Aug. 5, 2012, 10:30 p.m.
Paula at 596 Acres said

Prior to 2002, this was the Ten Neighbors garden.

March 1, 2012, 9:36 p.m.
Oksana said

This lot is owned by HPD. Visit http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/my_community.jsp to view any open Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the lot.

Feb. 24, 2012, 7:09 p.m.
Oksana said

This lot is owned by HPD. Visit http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/my_community.jsp to view any open Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the lot.