New York City is threatening to throw gardeners out of community gardens!
Since 1978, community gardeners and GreenThumb have enjoyed a very fruitful relationship. Gardeners have voluntarily given their time, labor, and money to be stewards of the City’s property so that the entire community can benefit from these much-needed green spaces.
In April, community gardeners were given a new four-year license agreement that substantially changes that relationship.
Under the new license, GreenThumb becomes an enforcement agency rather than a garden-friendly helpmate. This new license imposes new regulations, restrictions, and obligations on garden groups.
It was written by lawyers with no sense of the historical and cultural significance of the gardens and their communities. Now we are being told that we are being allowed to garden on city property and if we don’t like the new license we don’t have to garden.
Gardeners have voiced great concerns. At a Town Hall in May, gardeners voted unanimously to not sign the license. In the past 40 years there has never been widespread opposition to garden licenses.
We have tried to negotiate changes to the license; we want to continue to work toward a better license. But the City is threatening garden groups with a lockout. We have grave concerns about these items in the new license:
- There are three sets of regulations that gardens are required to follow, these regulations are inconsistent, contradictory, and confusing.
- Liability issues remain unresolved. The term “Licensee” in the agreement is not defined, what does it mean for the person signing the license on behalf of their community garden?
- Gardens are required to hold two free public events a year but must obtain written permission far in advance from GreenThumb to hold these events.
- Many of the new rules will be impossible to effectively enforce given the size of GreenThumb’s staff. This can only lead to arbitrary, discriminatory enforcement. Gardens will be lost because of developers’ greed not garden infractions.
They are kicking us out of their own gardens? I DON’T THINK SO!!
Join us Monday, August 19 at 10am on the City Hall steps.
Wear your flowers in your hair! Vegetables welcome!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lungsnyc.org