The New York Restoration Project (NYRP) has launched a petition to turn more than 360 lots deemed unbuildable into parks, gardens, and other green spaces, often in underserved neighborhoods. These lots are considered unusable for building because of their odd size, shape, or proneness to flooding. Rather than leaving them abandoned, the NYRP is offering to transform these patches of land into usable green spaces. They are petitioning the Mayor's office to place this land under their care. Public parks are an incredibly valuable part of a neighborhood, with benefits to quality of life for residents as well as potential for urban farming and use as a community space. Parks are often few and far between in the neighborhoods that need them most, while those in more affluent neighborhoods tend to have more resources available for maintenance. By acquiring this otherwise unusable land from the city and relying on volunteers for labor, the NYRP would be able to provide an essential service to underserved neighborhoods in all five boroughs at a low cost, as well as cleaning up the vacant lots. The NYRP just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding by Bette Midler in 1995. The non-profit organization revitalizes neglected parks across the five boroughs, specifically in underserved neighborhoods. In 1999, Midler and the NYRP led a coalition to save 114 community gardens being auctioned off by the city for commercial development. They now maintain 52 of those community gardens with the help of volunteers. The organization also completed their MillionTreesNYC initiative on November 20, 2015, two years ahead of schedule. With the help of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the NYRP planted one million trees across the five boroughs. They also offer free trees for New Yorkers to plant in their yards. Sign the petition here, and find more opportunities to donate or volunteer on the NYRP website.
Posts tagged with "Community Gardens":
For artists living in a city that thousands of creatives call home, finding space to showcase your art is a never-ending struggle. Added to the pressure of paying rent and putting food on the table, it can feel like an impossible undertaking. But visual artist Mary Mattingly has discovered a unique (and legal) way to create her own space: calling the Hudson River its home, "Swale" will be a community garden erected on a barge. Its soil will contain an assortment of vegetable and fruit trees; all of the plants on board will be edible. Mattingly also envisions a mobile greenhouse where the public can harvest and cultivate their own crops. Expected to run in the summer, the 80 x 30 foot structure will travel to different piers in the five boroughs. Mattingly is aware that the project is a risky endeavor. Since "Swale" is a vessel open to the public, it will be regulated by the US Coast Guard. On top of the community garden will be a 12 x 12 foot pavilion built by Sally Bozzuto of Biome Arts. The triangular prism will be an open meeting place for performance artists, activists, and visitors. Digital sensors embedded in plant beds will capture temperature rates, soil moisture and pH content to give visitors an idea of the inner workings of the nautical garden.
Farming Detroit: City considers expanding urban agriculture to include raising and slaughtering livestock
Adding to its normal population of lions and tigers, Detroit may be gaining a whole new demographic of furry inhabitants if proposed legislation passes in the spring allowing urban farmers to keep livestock in the city limits. In many American cities urban agriculture means community gardens set up in empty lots. Detroit is no exception in this respect, but things might be getting a little more rural soon in the Motor City. After a year-long initiative to discuss the potential of urban farming throughout urban centers in Michigan, new legislation may be put before the local government as early as next spring concerning urban agriculture. The issue at hand is a question of raising, breeding, and slaughtering livestock in city limits, greatly expanding the definition of urban agriculture. Currently keeping livestock in the city of Detroit is illegal. This has not stopped many from keeping chickens, ducks, and occasionally a few goats. Advocates of urban livestock point out the many advantages of urban agriculture, along with the addition of benefits that only come with keeping animals. Though community gardens have the capacity to produce no small amount of fresh vegetables, as well as providing a community developments space, livestock are able to produce meat, eggs, and milk, all while keeping overgrown abandoned lots trimmed through grazing. Opponents to the idea of keeping animals in the city cite concerns about health and safety of the public as well as the animals. With empty lots often strewn with litter, broken glass, or building ruins, some have concerns that animals will be in danger. Addressing the concerns of both sides of the issue was the task of an urban livestock working group set up in 2014. The 20-member urban livestock working group was formed specifically to discuss the possibility to allowing livestock in urban centers around Michigan. Cities such as Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti already allow limited livestock, and were used as examples by the group. Made up of state and local government representatives, farmers, environmentalists, and veterinarians, the group looked at economic, health and welfare, and land use issues. One of the pressing concerns of all sides of the discussion was the care of the animals. With many urbanites not familiar with raising and caring for animals, the future legislation is planned to have considerations for ensuring that animals are not neglected or mistreated. The legislation will also most likely set limits on the types and numbers of animals allowed. The large number of empty lots in Detroit, as well as in other post-industrial cities, have long been a discussion for urban planners hoping to revitalize blighted neighborhoods. With new ideas of how cities can define themselves through local production and self-sufficiency, many feel urban agriculture is a logical solution. And many also believe there is nowhere better than Detroit, a city built on production innovation, to experiment with an ancient occupation in new ways.