Our vision for the hands on component of this club has evolved over time from our original conception of partnership with a community garden, to the current plan to add cold frames to Jennifer Berg’s plot in Washington Square Village. We have not given up on the community garden concept: it is important to the goals of our club that we work with people outside the NYU community as well as NYU students. However, right now we are focusing on the most practical, albiet temporary, option — cold frames!
We have proposed the addition of six cold frames to the Washington Square Village site. Some of you joined us weeding the existing cold frames there, and so are aware of the possibility for pretty incredible yields even in these small spaces.
Why cold frames? Working in the garden the other day, I was asked this same question by a resident of Washington Square Village who has a lot of experience with gardening and farming, and is on the board of Greenmarket. She pointed out that typically cold frames are for extending the growing season, not use as containers for the entire growing cycle. However, this woman also shared the understandable concerns of WSV residents that their lawn remain a tidy and quiet spot. We propose to use cold frames because it is the most likely option to get approved — the WSN board would not approve any more drastic alteration of the lawn. Cold frames are very temporary, but will provide us with a location to begin planting and build our club.
What is the time frame? We are waiting on approval of this proposal. We had hoped to plant some late fall/winter crops but are beginning to think that the approval of the board rests on our continued cooperation with their decisions, and we don’t want to begin using the space in a rogue way before we are legitimate. Cross your fingers they approve us soon!
What are the community garden options? We are in contact with GreenThumb to find a community garden that would welcome the involvement of the NYU community. It is not our intention to force anything upon an existing community, but rather seek to partner to better understand the existing urban agriculture structures in the city. If anyone has any ideas about good gardens to work with, please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, we are offering regular trips to East NY Farms! in an attempt to integrate our efforts with community agriculture in the larger community. Come with us, taste the hot sauce at the farmers market, volunteer working with their compost or mulching, and meet some really motivated high school students — we only hope to be as dedicated and confident as they are. E-mail us for more information on this Saturday’s trip.
I hope this gives you a clearer idea of where we stand garden-wise. The advances we have made on this front have been slow — but they are happening, and we will plant this spring for sure! Look forward to a big kick-off of the gardening part of the club in February at the latest, with a seed starter event combined with a big urban agriculture session outlining the vision for NYU.
All the best,