Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mapping Publicly Owned Vacant Lots, Brooklyn-Based Project Could Revolutionize Community Gardening

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

A birds-eye of Brooklyns vacant lots.
  • 596acres.org
  • A birds-eye of Brooklyn's vacant lots.
Small-scale urban farming in Brooklyn is old news, but we've never seen anything like this: 596 Acres, a Bed-Stuy based Brooklyn community project, has mapped out all of Brooklyn's publicly owned vacant lots. Where one community garden might pop up as the result of an entrepreneurial group of people stumbling upon an empty lot, 596 Acres organizes these spaces as part of a borough-wide master plan—or at least one comprehensive map that will allow a directed effort to open them all up for food production. So, how much potential space are we actually talking? That's where the project gets its name. There are 596 acres of publicly owned, vacant land in Brooklyn.

The information could not only revolutionize how urban farming enthusiasts approach their work, but also how communities access green space. Two of 596 Acres' founders, Tia Jackson and Kristen Rapp, met when opening up a vacant lot that had been neglected for more than 20 years. Now the organization helps communities regain control of empty plots by navigating local government, as well as the issues of fundraising and insurance. As a result, 596 Acres has made it easier, perhaps more than ever, for the self-motivated to start a community garden. To check out the map or find your nearest publicly owned vacant lot, click here.

[via Grist]

You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone

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