project leader
Tami J
346 Bergen Street
Brooklyn (Gowanus)
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A letter from Tami to HPD...let a garden grow

the project

Lots number 344, 346 and 348 Bergen Street - 3 contiguous lots are currently empty and people often dump their trash there. I'd like to clean up the lot and create a space for gardening and education.

the steps

Waiting to hear from the NYC Housing Preservation and Development to use the land - Researched what insurance is needed to cover any liability needed to allow people to use the space - Currently raising funds to buy materials to create a movable garden and benches - We have a couple of nurseries that would like to donate trees and other plants - Currently contacting neighbors and other interested people on creating events for the community.

11/22/11:We have met and decided on an official name of A Small Green Patch :: FEEDback Farms for the Bergen Street lots we will be working. The Green Thumb Application has been sent and accepted. We have signed and are mailing in two copies of the HPD Interim License Form and we are waiting for the Private Lot Owner to send his signed copy of the permission letter. We will be contacting the Sanitation Department to ask for help clearing the lot as well as maybe renting or using an empty container from them to keep a home base near the lots. If anyone knows of where we can get 1 foot of soil for a 75' x 100' top cover to the lots please contact

why we're doing it

This space will allow the community to tend a mobile garden at  344, 346 and 348 Bergen Street. We are looking into education for kids on how to grow things, milk crate organic produce if allowed, community space for outdoor gatherings and acoustic music events with local Latin, Polish, Czech, Italian and other local living genres.


top fill $3,000 dirt / soil / clean fill Clean middle lot ? clean out - there is still a foundation leftover in the middle privately owned lot Removable SIP beds $13,000 top grade soil for farming, wood and hardware to create collapsible SIP beds - Example but not exact - Felcos $135 pruners x 3 Fork Lift ? Field Harvesting Knife $22 x 2 Scale $450 x 1 Bags $100 as many as needed Cultivators $105 x 1 Trowels $50 x 5 Planting trays, all sizes $80 x 80 plastic tubs $100 x 10 Plastic Utility Tub - 36" x 24" x 8" 5 gallon buckets $40 x 10 plastic 5 gallon buckets kneeling pads $50 x 10 shovels $100 x 5 rakes $50 x 5 watering cans $50 x 5 clear polyethylene $100 x 2 rolls gardening gloves $60 x 5 rain harvesting barrels $160 x4 hoses $80 x 4 hose nozels $16 x 4 cordless drill $88 x 1 cordless skill saw $70 x 1 hammer $60 x 5 screwdrivers $30 x 2 crowbar $6 x 2 wire clippers $40 x 2 staple gun $30 x 4 hardware cloth $16 x 1 box Compost bins! $100 x 1 compost sifters $44 x 2 wheel barrow $110 x 2 potting soil included in sip bed total broom $24 x 2 bamboo stakes $40 10 packs remay garden blanket $60 x 2 twine $9 x 10 metal stakes for remay $30 x 10 packs pvc pipe for row covers $160 x 10 packs project total = $18,665 ioby fee: $1493 total to raise = $20,158 new project total = $4152 new ioby fee = $332 new total to raise = $4484


A letter from Tami to HPD...let a garden grow


UPDATE 08.25.11


Dear Mr. Hammer,


Brooklyn, block 1028, lot 7 - Vacant Lot: 487 4 AVENUE - Agency = Housing Preservation and Development


I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Tami Johnson and I would like to set up a meeting with you to discuss the conversion of the vacant lot on the corner of 4th Avenue and 12th Street, (487 4th Avenue) in Brooklyn NY into a movable community garden/space for the neighborhood and community.

I say movable because I do not want to take over the vacant lot permanently but would like to coordinate a symbiotic relationship between the lot and the community for as long as you will let me. I am in the process of collecting signatures from my neighbors and should have over 10 people to sign on in the next couple of weeks.

I am raising money to pay for insurance, maintenance and other costs.

I have raised over $1135 thus far with a goal of $3780 needed to make the movable community garden happen and I have a few nurseries in the area that would like to donate trees and plants. I am also prepared to get the ground tested to ensure it’s safe for people to enter the lot. If the lot is not deemed safe yet because of pollutants from the Gowanus Coal and Gas companies that were in operation prior - I would like to grow the type of plants that will help filter the pollutants out of the soil to decontaminate the lot.

I have lived in this neighborhood  for 10 years now and also have a music studio that is a couple blocks away from this vacant lot. I’ve walked past the empty lot on the corner a thousand plus times on my way to rehearsal and to and from work. On one of these walks I had the idea of helping tend to the lot while at the same time providing a temporary movable community garden/space for the neighborhood.

I would like to ask for your permission to proceed forward with this project and would like to know what you need from me to begin the process. Would it be possible to create a movable community garden/space at 487 4th Avenue, Brooklyn?

Some ideas that could be done if you approve this project:

  • A movable garden with wooden planters built for trees, shrubs and flowers.
  • Organic Gardening where 1/2 of what is grown is given to a local soup kitchen each week (using milk-crate type food growing techniques)
  • Community classes teaching children how a tree grows or how a plant is planted.
  • Compost classes to educate the community about composting and  help recycle the polluted ground in the lot
  • Free monthly music events.
  • Allow artists that live on your block and in the area to show their work.
  • A  painted "public service announcement" mural on the side of the building next door designed by local and experienced mural painters

This idea would help the Housing Preservation and Development by:

  • Lot maintenance: all trash would be picked up and the sidewalks maintained around the lot weekly.
  • Snow removal - I will personally ensure that all snow is shoveled each year.
  • A sense of satisfaction knowing that the lot is well attended, provides a nice space for the neighborhood and improves the environment.

I have been coordinating with 596acres, ioby and have tried to tend to another lot by contacting Craig Hammerman at Community Board 6. I am also working with some of the local businesses in the area to help make this happen.

Please contact me to meet and discuss this project through any of the information below:

Tami Johnson


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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