Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Dear Neighbors and Friends of the Garden,

WE NEED YOUR HELP. Yesterday, we were wrongfully evicted from the garden without due process in court. Today, thankfully, we got a judge to stay the eviction, meaning we can continue to access the garden until at least the next hearing. That hearing is scheduled for FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 AT 10:30 AM at the Kings County Courthouse, 141 Livingston St., Room 603, in downtown Brooklyn.

Friday's hearing will determine, essentially, whether we get our fair chance to defend ourselves against this eviction in court. So it's CRUCIAL that we come out to the hearing in numbers to show our support. This could be the last chance the legal system gives us to assert our right to the land. Hopefully it won't be, but there's a lot riding on the outcome of Friday's hearing.

A little background for those who didn't know: last Fall, the garden was sold to a private real estate developer. We did not become aware of the sale until February this year, and the circumstances surrounding the sale are dubious. At the time of the sale, we had been operating legally with the permission of the non-profit organization that used to own the land. The Brooklyn Attorney General's office is currently investigating whether the sale was conducted illegally. Recently, certain members of the non-profit have come forward saying the sale was not conducted properly.

Regardless of who owns the lot, the fact is that we have tenancy rights, and the only way those can be taken away is through a proper eviction hearing where we get our day in court. That's what we'll be fighting for this Friday.

Here's the eviction notice brought by the Marshal when they took possession of the garden on Tuesday. Following that is a copy of the court order staying the execution and setting the next hearing for Friday. PLEASE COME OUT AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Take a Tour of the Garden

If you haven't had a chance to visit, let us show you around the garden. Just inside the gate, a stone footpath winds around our ornamental beds--plants that are not grown for food, but there to provide you with lush, attractive company! Here you'll see shrubs, flowers and ferns rubbing shoulders in dense, eclectic arrangements. We try to feature native flora as much as possible--plants native to the natural landscape of what is now New York City.

On the other side of the path is a lawn with two fruit trees where people can relax in front of a beautiful mural. The mural was painted by neighborhood kids and their parents based on a sketch by Rodrigo Gonzalez, one of the co-founders of Eldert Street Garden, and was made possible by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council. The mural-painting project took place at a barbecue party that featured performances from local musicians and an open mic where kids showed off their talents. This gathering is just one example of how the garden cultivates engagement with the arts on our block. There are many artists and musicians in the Eldert Street Garden community, and we strive to make the garden a welcoming space for creativity of all kinds!

Going further into the garden, you'll encounter our raised-bed vegetable plots. Garden keyholders can have their own vegetable plot to grow whatever they like. Keyholders are garden caretakers who pay a small annual fee and agree to take on some responsibility for the upkeep of the garden as a whole. You'll find a wide range of fruits and vegetables growing in these plots, everything from classics like tomatoes, collards and chard to more adventurous delicacies like chili peppers and purple heirloom beans.

In the back of the garden, behind a shelter that holds some garden supplies, you'll find our compost bins. These bins are an important source of healthy, nutritious soil for our vegetable plots. Gardeners and other neighborhood residents collect their food scraps and drop them off in the bins, where they are transformed into a rich compost with the help of some resident worms. Compost collection sites are few and far between in southeast Bushwick, so Eldert Street Garden plays an important role in reducing food waste in our community and contributing to a more sustainable urban ecology.

Composting is just one of the sustainable methods we employ in cultivating the garden. We've also created a rainwater catchment system that helps supply water to our ornamental beds. 

Like berries? We do too. A large mulberry tree hangs over the back of the garden, casting cool shade on those hot summer days over our composting and barbecuing area (yes, we have a grill!), and plentiful mulberries. We've also got blackberry and red currant bushes.

Any tour of the garden would be incomplete without seeing some local wildlife. The garden attracts a surprising variety of insects, some of whom pollinate our plants so that they'll bear fruit. From colorful beetles to majestic swallowtail butterflies, you'll never believe you don't have to leave NYC to see these guys.

That concludes our tour! We hope you've enjoyed it, and we invite you to visit in person sometime for the real deal. Today's Eldert Street Garden represents years of hard work to convert a rubble-strewn lot into a lush green oasis for everyone in our community to enjoy.