Hawkins Ask Why AG Cuomo Is Failing to Protect Community Garden Agreement Reached by Prior AG

Howie Hawkins - Green for Governor
Media Release
www.howiehawkins.org - www.gpny.org

For Immediate Release: August 10, 2010
Howie Hawkins, 315 425-1019


Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, asked today why Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has failed to step up to protect the agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, to protect community gardens in NYC.


Howie Hawkins and Gloria Mattera, the Green Party's 2010 statewide Gubernatorial ticket, said that they strongly oppose the efforts by the Bloomberg administration to gut the 2002 Community Gardens Agreement between the New York State Attorney General and the City, which threatens the status of hundreds of community gardens.


"Eliot Spitzer agreed as State Attorney General to step in and protect community gardens after listening to community garden advocates at the annual Earth Rally in Albany. He called upon a young woman dressed as a sunflower, who gave an impassioned speech about the importance of gardens. Why hasn't Cuomo stepped in as Attorney General to protect the 2002 agreement? Even the state Department of Environmental Conservation spoke today against Bloomberg's effort to gut the agreement," asked Hawkins.


"Community gardens are an oasis in our neighborhoods, the product of hard work by local residents. They represent all that is right about our city, when neighbors roll up their sleeves to make their communities a better place to live. Too often developers seek to profit from the hard work by taking over these properties once they have breathed live back into the neighborhood, making them a target for gentrification and economic exploitation," said Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for Governor.


Under the 2002 agreement, the NY Times reported that roughly 200 city gardens owned and run by city agencies (mostly the Parks Department and the Department of Education) would remain as gardens, in addition to those run by the nonprofit groups. Another 200 gardens were offered to the Parks Department without charge, or to nonprofit groups for a ''nominal fee.'' The agreement grew out of a series of lawsuits filed against the city by the AG and private individuals.


The Greens said they supported the changes sought by Community garden advocates to the proposed NYC Parks & Recreation and Housing Preservation and Development rules, including:

  1. The Proposed Parks Rules must state that all gardens in good standing will remain as community gardens.
  2. The Rules must include a process for community gardens in good standing to be transferred to Parks.
  3. The Proposed Parks/HPD Rules threaten community gardens because they do not extend the protections established in the 2002 “Community Gardens Agreement”.
  4. Rather than preserving community gardens, the Proposed Parks/HPD Rules assume all gardens are subject to development.
  5. The City Administration needs to recognize community-controlled green spaces and provide long-term solutions for making community gardens permanent.
  6. The Rules need to provide processes and procedures for creating new gardens and urban farms.

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