Because of the Corona pandemic, community gardens are closed by order of GreenThumb, effective immediately “and until further notice community gardens may remain open or closed to garden members only at the discretion of each garden group, and only for absolutely necessary maintenance and season preparation.“
This is in the best interest of everyone, we must protect each other and stay safe. Gardeners know well enough how to give each other space but you never know how interaction with the public may be dangerous given the current crisis.
There is no guidance to what constitutes “absolutely necessary maintenance and season preparation” but it would seem that this would include protecting, nourishing and watering plants.
However, last week it was announced that “Parks was directed by GreenThumb to not turn on internal water at unlicensed gardens. Internal water access (along with deliveries and supply and plant distributions) is another form of material assistance that is not available to gardens that are unlicensed .“
In the midst of a global health emergency this is of grave concern.
This license impasse began last April. Since September the Parks Department has refused to meet with us to negotiate. We believe these issues can be resolved. We have been acting in good faith. We want to get back to gardening.
On March 13, at the City Council Parks budget hearing Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver was presented with a petition signed by more then 500 folks asking the Department to return to negotiations. Please join us and sign the petition below and share it with your friends and neighbors.
At the hearing, Commissioner Silver agreed to have the Parks Department meet with garden groups to discuss the license. See the video of the hearing HERE.
However, no meeting has yet to take place or be scheduled. Now is it the Parks Department policy to deny water in the midst of a public health emergency?
Surely this is a bureaucratic misunderstanding or oversight. We implore GreenThumb to correct this policy immediately, there is too much at stake
We have watched as GreenThumb’s tactics have devolved into threats, intimidation and reprisals. Now they are turning off the water?
Retribution is not an appropriate public policy. We have legitimate concerns about the GreenThumb license which many find confusing and repressive.
LUNGS and the New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC) are asking you to join us and support our efforts to correct the GreenThumb License Agreement. We have been trying to bring the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Mayor’s Office, and the Office of the Corporation Counsel back to the table to negotiate in good faith and resolve the outstanding issues in order to achieve a fair and just GreenThumb community garden License. We have been requesting a meeting since September and gotten no response.
The program has been an extraordinary example of a City agency working hand and hand with 10,000 volunteers. Now these gardeners who steward city property are being denied a voice.
We also urge our elected officials to support the thousands of volunteers who have spent years working for to improve their communities and enhance the health and well being of their people.
Petition to negotiate the GreenThumb License Read the Petition