April 23rd “Back to the Garden” Benefit Supports NYC Community Gardens — honoring Karen Washington and featuring Garland Jeffreys

InvitationNew York City Community Garden Coalition’s (NYCCGC) is hosting its annual Back to the Garden fundraiser on April 23, 2015. As part of this year’s benefit host committee, NYC Foodscape invites you to join us for an exciting evening of dining and dancing – come celebrate with us!

When: Thursday, April 23, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: DCTV, 87 Lafayette Street in Manhattan

Ticket Prices

Basic Ticket – $ 50.00
Seedling – $ 100.00
Pollinator – $ 250.00
Sponsor – $ 250.00
Taproot – $ 500.00
Community Gardener & NYCCGC Member – $ 25.00

Get your tickets here

Founded in 1996, New York City Community Garden Coalition’s mission is to promote the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.

Note: NYCCGC also needs sponsors for food and beverage: Contact Executive Director Aziz Dekhan at 973.222.5413 or eighty20group@gmail.com.


Benefit Honors Karen Washington

IMG_9485Join the NYCCGC, the host committee, and New York City community gardeners in thanking gardening and food justice activist/advocate  Karen Washington for her almost twenty years of service to NYCCGC – she will be leaving the organization’s board this year to pursue her farming dreams. Karen has been called the Godmother, the Queen, and the Grande Dame of community gardening. For over 25 years, she has worked tirelessly, on top of a professional career as a physical therapist, turning empty lots into productive community gardens.

Karen previously served as NYCCGC’s board president and on the board of the New York Botanical Garden. She also co-founded the Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country, and in 2014 she was awarded with the James Beard Leadership Award. She has advocated for food, land and social justice for all, and has inspired thousands of residents of New York City and food and gardening activists here and throughout the country, who work to grow and bring healthy food to families, especially in low-income or urban areas.

Karen will be receiving NYCCGC’s annual Activist Award, which best exemplifies the unrelenting spirit of Pete Seeger, whose commitment to taking back local control of significant decisions that affect social and physical landscapes, helps us to stake a claim to our public land.

Music Headliner–Garland Jeffreys!

Garland Jeffreys.1 photo Mary Ellen Matthews
Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews

What’s a party without music and dancing? And this year’s benefit has a great musical guest: Garland Jeffreys! Garland’s latest album, Truth Serum, has been nominated for an Independent Music Award. From NYCCGC’s website:

He’s been called an edgy urban poet, the sound of New York, a confessional singer-songwriter, and an explorer of the links between rock, race and rebellion whose work should be taught in schools. With songs covered by artists as diverse as punk pioneers The Circle Jerks (“Wild in the Streets”) and the neo-folk band Vetiver (“Lon Chaney”), Garland Jeffreys is truly unclassifiable. Long known for his amazing roster of supporting musicians, with names such as Dr. John, Sonny Rollins, James Taylor, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Phoebe Snow, and Sly and Robbie, and forty years into his storied career, Jeffreys has no intention of slowing down.

Maybe we can get Garland to play Coney Island Winter, in solidarity with NYCCGC’s efforts to save Coney Island community gardeners’ longtime Boardwalk Community Garden, which was bulldozed in late December 2013 without notice to gardeners, to make way for a $53 million City-funded amphitheater. The parkland on which the garden sat remains vacant and fenced-in and the Coney Island community continues to be denied access to one of the few open green spaces in the area.

For more news on Garland Jeffreys, his upcoming tour dates and locations,  and to hear songs off of Truth Serum or his other albums, visit Garland’s website.


Photos from Recent NYCCGC Rally to Save Community Gardens

For such a small organization in terms of budget, NYCCGC’s packs a lot of grassroots power. It moves fast to get the word out to its large network of gardeners when their action is needed to help preserve gardens that are threatened with development or destruction. On Tuesday, February 10th, NYC Foodscape joined NYCCGC at its Rally to Save Community Gardens  at New York City Hall. At the rally, NYCCGC, community members, partnering housing organizations, and various elected representatives protested NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)’s the lack of transparency and community involvement in issuing an RFQ to developers to build affordable housing on “vacant” lots throughout city’s five boroughs. For more on the HPD plan, see NYC Foodscape’s February 8, 2015 post , Protect Vital New York City Community Gardens from Redevelopment

Here are a few photos from the rally:



Council member Robert Cornegy
Council Member Rosie Mendez
Council Member, Antonio Reynoso
Reverend Billy Talen of the Church of Stop Shopping
Paula Z. Segal, 596 Acres
Ray Figueroa, NYCCGC

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