Press ReleasePress conference at Campus Road Community Garden, Brooklyn College
Primary Contact: Madeline Nelson, Community Gardener (718)-421-1814 or (917)-538-7505
Secondary Contact: Tara Mulqueen, Brooklyn College Student, (646)-546-4564
March 25, 12:00 pm
Garden supporters will announce next steps in campaign to save the garden, and invite Brooklyn College’s administration to explain their intentions and timing
Flatbush, Brooklyn, March 24, 2010
The morning after many students, faculty and community members had taken part in a spring celebration and planting party at the Campus Road Community Garden, they discovered that Brooklyn College had planted stakes and twine demarcating its planned demolition of 3/4 of the existing garden, to be replaced by parking for 20 cars. The stakes make clear that under the college’s current plan, most of the trees and all of the common area of the 14-year-old garden would be destroyed.
At a Community Board meeting on February 24, College representatives had promised to make no moves until a faculty coordinator had been appointed and had finalized plans with gardeners. Professor John Van Sickle received an official offer letter yesterday, March 23, after the stakes were in the ground. He told garden supporters he has received no information on when the College administration plans its next moves. Spring break, when many garden supporters will be away from the campus, begins Friday.
College administrators had been invited to the March 22 event, but had cordially declined, without giving any indication of their immediate intentions.
“We figure they are sending us a message, and once again we wish they had had the courtesy to talk with us directly,” said long-term community garden coordinator Toby Sanchez. “But what the stakes really show is how much they are planning to take and how little they are leaving—certainly nowhere near enough for all the activities the college says will happen there.”
For the past year, garden supporters have tried to persuade Brooklyn College’s administration to “walk its talk” on the issue of sustainability. Students and faculty collected over 300 signatures to save the garden, but the administration rejected the petition, insisting that students must get the social security numbers of all signers in order to be recognized. Two CUNY-level sustainability task forces Brooklyn College have recommended keeping and even enlarging the garden. At two “town hall” meetings, participants recommended saving the garden, despite administration efforts to silence garden support.
Supporters of the garden have learned that Professor Van Sickle, when offered the appointment, questioned the college’s priorities. “Opting for parking over ecology seems singularly retrogressive: privileging the old paradigm and insulting the new,” he wrote, adding, “How will this play with alumni? With the press?” He also wrote to Borough president Marty Markowitz: “I am dismayed at the conduct of the college administration. They are betraying the best interests of the neighborhood and the borough and present and future generations of students by their plan to cut down a thriving community garden to make a parking lot.”
Related Content11th Hour for Campus Road Garden, 2010-02-22
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
LinksStop the Demolition of the Campus Rd Garden, online petition
College values cars over plants, say protestors, Brooklyn Ink, 2010-03-25
Gardeners' last stand: wall of flowers symbolically rises against threat of razing, Helen Klein, Brooklyn Courier-Life, 2010-03-23
Productive dialogue between gardeners and Brooklyn College, Helen Klein, Courier-Life, 2010-03-01
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