To: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Arielle Goldberg, Office of Neighborhood Strategies, HPD

Stop El Garden From Being Developed & Keep The Garden Growing!

El Garden, at 120 Jefferson Street, is a new community garden opened in April 2014. In addition to successfully developing communal gardening (no private garden beds!), El Garden is home to growing community of local residents working to create a dynamic, accessible public green space. After less than a year, the city has already identified the site for possible development and we need your help to keep this space for public use. By developing this land, we will lose an extremely important asset to the community: a place where neighbors old and new learn and teach each other how to grow healthy food, develop knowledge and appreciation of the natural world, spend time just sitting or attending free cultural events, and offering free resources to Bushwick’s larger community (such as trees, food and soil).

El Garden has been a home for projects that have positive impacts in our community. Each Sunday our garden hosts BK ROT, a local composting service that processes up to 2 tons of food waste into usable compost each month and employs local youth at fair wages carry out this work. Additionally the garden hosted the Green Guerrillas summer urban agriculture program in 2014, hosted an extremely successful NYRP Tree Giveaway (a part of the city's Million Trees Initiative), participated in the World Book Night book giveaway, and was a recipient of a Citizen's Committee Grant. Lastly, the garden has offered space for artists to showcase their works, including a piece by artist Kurt Steger.

Why is this important?

The EL Garden community is in support of affordable housing but not at the expense of open public space. Bushwick deserves BOTH affordable housing and open green space. Less than half of these new developments will be "affordable" units, severely limiting the potential of relieving NYC's housing crisis. Instead, we strongly urge the Mayor to actively protect Bushwick’s existing rent stabilized units in support of longtime residents impacted by Bushwick's wave of development while supporting our fledgling community gardens and our grassroots environmental programs. Building over a much loved and much needed public green space is a loss for all.

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