Monday, November 23, 2020

Groups petition city officials to protect NYC's community gardens

On Nov. 18, the New York City Community Garden Coalition, environmental law organization Earthjustice, and 52 allied groups submitted "From the Ground Up: A Petition to Protect New York City’s Community Gardens," which urges New York City government agencies to provide greater legal protections to community gardens, including the several dozen in the East Village.  

Here's more about the campaign via the EVG inbox...

To preserve and protect community gardens, Petitioners are requesting that New York City agencies designate City-owned community gardens as Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs) under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Currently, there is only one CEA in New York City: Jamaica Bay in Queens.

CEA designation will help to ensure that projects and activities likely to affect community gardens are subject to consistent and rigorous environmental review that accounts for their exceptional characteristics and provides ample opportunities for public participation. CEA designation of community gardens represents a significant step toward recognizing and preserving community gardens as critical parts of the City's landscape.  
Equally important, by designating gardens as CEAs, the City would acknowledge community gardeners as stewards of sustainability and resilience and ensure that they have a meaningful — and necessary — voice in any future decision-making processes that could affect community gardens. 

The Petition makes the following three legal requests:
  • First, City agencies with jurisdiction over 40 community gardens identified in the Petition designate those City-owned gardens as CEAs under SEQRA within six months following the submission of the Petition, or by May 18, 2021;
  • Second, Within 12 months following the submission of the Petition, or by Nov. 18, 2021, the Department of Parks and Recreation's GreenThumb Program conduct an assessment of all remaining community gardens on City-owned land and confirm, in consultation with community gardeners, that these gardens meet the regulatory criteria for CEA designation; and
  • Third, Within 12 months following the submission of the Petition, or by Nov. 18, 2021, City agencies designate as CEAs all gardens within their respective jurisdictions that meet the regulatory criteria for CEA designation, based on GreenThumb's assessment, in consultation and coordination with community gardeners.

Last year, community gardens on city-owned land were in danger of closing or relocating due to the ongoing dispute over the licensing agreement from the department's GreenThumb program.

Photo from the Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the petition.

You could also argue these community gardens play a part in flood protection. Several gardens were heavily damaged when the floodwaters of Sandy made their way through the neighborhood east of Ave B. It's possible the gardens absorbed a lot of that water and possibly could have aided in sparing nearby properties.

These gardens are taken for granted too often. Every few years, they are in danger in one way or another of development. Don't sit by an count on other people saving them. Once they're lost, they're not coming back so speak up now. We can't afford to lose these gardens, which are necessary and unique to our neighborhood.