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Author Topic: GROUND SHIFTING UNDER COMMUNITY GARDEN IN ASTORIA  (Read 2414 times)

Offline skoullias

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GROUND SHIFTING UNDER COMMUNITY GARDEN IN ASTORIA
« on: March 13, 2009, 08:21:01 AM »
Guiliani-era design proposal threatens unique green space

March 12, 2009 – Two Coves Community Garden has done everything right, from securing a city license through Green Thumb to building huge neighborhood support, but this beneficial addition to Astoria could be lost forever.

We were recently notified by Parks Department of plans to change the nature of Two Coves Community Garden,” said Renee Edwards, gardener and resident of nearby Astoria Houses. “But the waterfront neighborhood surrounding the garden is already blessed with several parks and recreational areas. What this community needs is healthy food, grown locally.” 

At the first of two emergency meetings to discuss the news that an antiquated proposal might be resurrected, gardeners were passionate in their commitment to saving the largest community garden in Western Queens.

We want the garden to maintain its ability to allow local residents the opportunity to garden and grow together,” said Stacey Ornstein, gardener and Astoria CSA President. “Two Coves Community Garden provides space for hundreds of people to cultivate their own food, reverse damaging obesity and unhealthy nutritional trends, interact across cultures and generations, and harvest a lifelong love of urban gardening—all while reducing municipal costs, crime and pollution!”

Two Coves Community Garden is located in Astoria, Queens at the intersection of 8th Street and Astoria Boulevard. Although a fence was installed, grass was sown and paths were paved in 1998, the site was eventually left vacant and quickly filled with weeds and trash from illegal dumping. In late 2006, a vibrant grassroots movement turned the neglected lot into an urban oasis that today sustains and nourishes its members while beautifying the surrounding neighborhood. 

Public parks require significant funding for development and maintenance,” said gardener Garrett Ramirez. “But Two Coves is maintained by volunteers who not only garden, but do everything from pick up trash to shovel sidewalks in the winter. We’re a public space that pays for itself, that the entire community can enjoy.”

One member tossed out the idea to contact First Lady Michelle Obama who recently told the USDA that she is “a big believer in community gardens, both because of their beauty and for providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables to so many communities across the nation and the world.” 

Others mentioned that community gardens are known to increase property values, reduce waste through composting, provide access to healthy food, and serve youth as an outdoor classroom teaching math, science, the environment, health, nutrition, social skills, leadership, responsibility, and more. 

Those are among the many points gardeners will make as they contact the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and local elected officials in the coming weeks. For more information, or to get involved in the campaign to save Two Coves Community Garden, visit www.twocovescommunitygarden.org or call 718-512-8649.

The meeting closed with words of inspiration spoken by gardener Vanessa Jones-Hall, a resident of Astoria Houses: “As I sit under sunshine, I smile lilies, daffodils and roses.  The scent of my breath hints fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits.  My body curves, outlined by beautiful tress and sunflower stems.  Collecting sweet sounds of individual chatter and laughter.

You turn to see who am I?  Two Coves Community Garden, welcome!”

About Two Coves Community Garden
Two Coves Community Garden is a diverse community of more than 200 active urban gardeners including the elderly, the disabled, and young children (even babies). Gardeners come from all over the neighborhood and the world, including a large number of Astoria Houses residents, those born in Armenia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru.

Offline Harlan

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Re: Ground Shifting Under Community Garden in Astoria
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2009, 08:31:26 AM »
1. ALL-CAPS IS ANNOYING.

2. What's the proposal? There's not even a link to it. Your web site has similar text, but no actual proposal for what the Parks Department (quite a good agency these days, incidentally) has in mind. Are there maps? What does Parks say about the community garden?

Offline lanseaux

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Re: GROUND SHIFTING UNDER COMMUNITY GARDEN IN ASTORIA
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2009, 11:53:29 AM »
It's my understanding that there are two competing interests for this space -- one as a community garden called Two Coves, which it is currently, and the other as a landscaped park called Goodwill Park.  If you go to the Parks Department website you will find reference to this space as Goodwill Park (see here).  That the Parks Department may be a good organisation is irrelevant to the fact that they have a proposal to change the use for this space.  Here is NYC information regarding the current valid and licensed use of the space, obtained through the Green Thumb program of the NYC Parks Department.

I, too, would like to see more information about the Parks Department proposal linked to or listed.  It also sounds like you can get more information about the proposal at the next Community Board 1 meeting:

Community Board 1 Meeting
Tuesday, March 17th
7:00 pm
Astoria World Manor
2522 Astoria Blvd


 

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