Wednesday, January 4, 2017

NEW FUNDRAISING DRIVE: Help us keep our gates open in 2017! Next court date is Jan. 11

Happy New Year!
In 2016, our wonderful community helped us to fund a successful campaign to purchase materials and supplies to help the garden grow and improve. There was an incredible outpouring of support, and we reached our fundraising goal much sooner than anticipated. With that money, we've been able to put in a shiny new shed, a beautiful koi pond, and even more vegetable planting beds.
While the garden is looking better than ever, we're facing another big hurdle in this new year: the garden is still under threat of illegal closure, and we need immediate funding to help us pay for legal counsel in the fight to keep our doors open. In short, we are attempting to reach our emergency fundraising goal of $3,000 before our January 11th court date. We are also raising funds to become a 501c3 nonprofit, which will allow us more long-term rights and give the garden access to more grants and partnerships.
Click here for the link to the campaign. (a note: If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, please click here to donate through 596 acres. Follow the form instructions to earmark the money for the Eldert Street Garden campaign. You will receive acknowledgement of your donation in the mail from 596 acres.)

And if you live in the Brooklyn area, please come join us at our January 11th court date at the Brooklyn Supreme Courthouse at 360 Adams street in downtown Brooklyn. We need to show the judge that the garden has a strong community behind it! For details, please reach out to us by email:
Every dollar counts. We can win the case, if we can stay in court. We need all donations, great and small. And whether you feel you are able to donate or not, please share our campaign via facebook, email, twitter, or any other social media platform that you are able to.  We can reach our goal quickly if people share our campaign. If 200 people donate just $15, we will succeed!
Thank you for your time, and your support at this late hour.
With gratitude,
The Eldert Street Gardeners

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

HELP OUR GARDEN GROW! Spring Update + GoFundMe Campaign

Hello, and happy spring!

We have some great news to share: our eviction was overturned in court last fall! That means we can look forward to another season in the garden this year, and our gates will remain open to the public as a place to relax, grow food, and reconnect with nature.

Now that we're back on the land, we're even more stoked to make the garden better than ever! There's a real chance we could become eligible to become a land trust garden in the next couple years, which would permanently preserve the space as a community garden. But to do that, we need your help.

We are excited to announce the launching of our GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the Eldert Street Garden's 2016 growing season. Anything helps, big or small. We're working to raise $1,500 in two weeks to help us pay for making basic repairs in the garden, and building new raised beds for neighborhood residents to grow in. Please help if you can!

It's been a challenging year, and there's no way we would be where we are today--looking forward to another great season in the garden--without our amazing lawyer, Paula Segal of 596 Acres. Paula generously donated her time and expertise and worked tirelessly for us in court. We are also grateful for the support of our community members and Council Member Rafael Espinal.

For more about our plans for the garden and to donate, check out the GoFundMe page:

Thank you for your continued support!

-The Eldert Street Garden crew

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.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What's up Newsletter for these final days of Summer.

Greetings everyone! It's been a while since we posted, and we've got a lot to talk about.
For starters, we'd like to invite everyone to our fall barbecue/performance fundraising event on Sunday, October 4th. Come by and see the garden's progress, watch the show, eat, drink and be merry with us. More details in our next posting.

We'd also like to send a few thank you's out to some businesses and individuals who've been really helpful to us this summer:

-Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Greenbridge program donated a lot of plants to us which are now filling the garden with much-needed greenery.

-A shoutout goes to our generous neighbor arborist Venola, who donated a truckload of mulch to us this summer.

-Thank you to Jeff Bialas and Bialas Farms of New Hampton, N.Y. for donating herbs, vegetables and a couple carloads of beautiful healthy soil for them to thrive in.

-Bushwick's own community board 4 director Nadine Whitted has been instrumental in assisting us with rubbish removal.

-We'd like to thank the Overboard Longboard Crew for doing lots of heavy lifting and cleanup in the garden and donating materials, time and labor to build us our big composter. Which brings us to our next point:

COMPOST! We started filling our new composter up right away and it has already turned into wonderful soil for the new garden plots and flowerbeds we've constructed. We've also placed a compost bin in the garbage area of 345 Eldert street. (So if you live in the building, please contribute!)

Our first veggie harvest was delicious, and it's still going. We grew tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, basil, mint, peppers and a bunch of other herbs.

Garden contributor Miriam Betancourt harvested the mulberries from one of our two resident mulberry trees and made a batch of delicious beer out of them. We can't wait for the next mulberry harvest so we can drink some more of her creations!

Now, as always, we are looking for new garden volunteers. The plots we're building now will be open to neighborhood residents in the 2010 season. If you or anyone you know wants to cultivate their own plot, contact us to find out more about it.

We wish everyone a wonderful September.

More to come...stay tuned!