11th Hour for Campus Road Garden

2010-02-23: Added a brief history of the Garden.

Last Fall, Brooklyn College announced plans to destroy the Campus Road Community Garden, located at the western end of Brooklyn College's athletic fields since 1997, for a parking lot. This Wednesday, February 24, the Brooklyn Community Board 14 Committee on Education, Libraries & Cultural Affairs is having a public hearing:
When: Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 7 PM
Where: CB14 District Office, 810 E 16th Street, Brooklyn, NY

1. Update on Brooklyn College Garden – Representatives of Brooklyn College and South Midwood Residence Association
2. Presentation on Brooklyn Public Library initiatives – Tambe Tysha-John, Cluster Leader, Brooklyn Public Library
3. Other business

If you would like to speak during any of the public hearings or during the public portion of the board meeting, please call the CB14 District Office at 718-859-6357 to register for time. You may also register to speak on the evening of the meeting.
The "Brooklyn College Garden" is part of Brooklyn College's greenwashing campaign. On February 3, they posted this announcement (since removed) on their Web site:
Brooklyn College announced today the creation of the Brooklyn College Garden that will serve as the basis for a broad spectrum of academic and sustainability initiatives for faculty and students. Members of the surrounding community will also be welcome to plant on individual plots, which will be assigned to them on a yearly base.

The garden, to be situated at the campus’s Avenue H entrance and bordering the college’s athletic field, is designed to be approximately 2,500 square feet.
which is where the Campus Road Garden, occupying more than twice the area, already exists.

View Brooklyn Community Gardens in a larger map

Brooklyn College's unilateral announcement is disingenuous, at best. They omit any mention of their plans to destroy the Campus Road Garden, or the parking lot that will take its place. Such is the basis for their "sustainability initiatives."

Campus Road Garden, South Midwood, Flatbush, Brooklyn

Not content with destroying a garden with decades of history in the community, they plan to pick at its bones for their private benefit:
Trees and bushes from a temporary community garden that made use of the area in previous years will be carefully replanted in front of the West Quad Center to create an inviting new garden. The college envisions the new green space as a "serenity garden" with comfortable seating for visitors to linger.
A garden that has been in place for 13 years is not a "temporary" garden.

Once again, the hearing is this Thursday, Wednesday, February 24, at 7pm, at the CB14 District Office at 810 E 16th Street.

Group Shot


A brief history

Provided by the Campus Road Garden:
  • 1970s: Brooklyn College Organic Gardening Club starts a garden on a vacant college lot on Campus Road, sustained by community residents and students.
  • 1980s: The City sells the lot at auction and evicts the gardeners. The developer defaults, and the lot remains vacant and overrun by weeds.
  • 1990s: New Campus Road Garden Residents negotiate with the bank holding the property, and successfully recreate the garden. The bank again sells the lot and evicts the gardeners.
  • 1997: Gardeners negotiate with Brooklyn College to relocate the garden to its current location. Then-President Vernon Lattin calls it "Brooklyn College's gain."

Related Content

Save the Campus Road Garden in Flatbush, 2009-10-07
South Midwood Garden Tour and Art Show, 2009-08-18
Other Gardens: South Midwood Garden Tour, 2006-07-30

Flickr photo set

Campus Road Garden


Stop the Demolition of the Campus Rd Garden, online petition

Education, Libraries & Cultural Affairs Committee, Community Board 14

Land of the Free, Home of the…Cars?, Dassa Gutwirth, Sustainable Flatbush, 2010-02-23 (Illustrated with my photos of Campus Road Garden)
BC issues plan for new community garden, stirring ire, Courier-Life, 2010-02-09
Saving the Campus Road Community Garden from Parking Lot Fate, 2009-10-19
Brooklyn College to pave over popular garden to expand track, Flatbush residents not pleased, Daily News, 2009-10-09


Meli said...

My best friend planted on her plot with all her heart and brought trees and plants that she paid for for others to enjoy. Even after she moved away, those plantings stayed behind to be nurtured and enjoyed by all who passed through. I know this is true of all the plots caretakers. It would be stealing private property to move plants into a new location, and not have the community garden in mind. Surely there could be other parking designs that don't destroy this amazing oasis for Brooklyn College students and nearby residents.

rkozbelt said...

I worked at the Brooklyn College preschool from 2003-2005, and we regularly took the 3 and 4 yr olds out to enjoy the garden, learn about the seasons, and see how things develop. What a tragedy to get rid of it for a few lousy parking spaces (and who wants to run or get exercise next to cars instead of flowers and plants?) Very short cited and a huge waste of funds.

mikey said...

Meli. We have suggested alternatives to Brooklyn College. They insist that this ten year old plan is the only one. There is ample parking at Target: the college could give vouchers for faculty to park there. Providing free parking encourages private automobile use and represents a form of taxation on those, the majority, who choose not to own cars.maikel Carder.

frank@new york city garden said...

Just throwing this out there: This a college in a dense urban area -why are they encouraging parking? Is it for the sports complex? Encourage mass transit! It doesn't appear that they will gain very many parking spots anyhow. I have a better idea: If they want parking (because they are so green!) they should put it under the track and field ground, in a garage.