Community Green

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Growing Up Morrisania

We are the soil we grew up in. Mine was Morrisania. Morrisania was the Negro neighborhood in the Bronx. Thelonius Monk lived in Morrisania for a time and the Boston Road Ballroom was as popular as Roseland. When I started Jordan L. Mott – Jr. High School 22, I remember someone asking in amazement if I lived in the “Colored Neighborhood”. Funny, I had just “moved up” literally from an unlicensed basement tenement apartment on Franklin Avenue and was then living in the Claremont/Webster Butler projects.

Most of the folks in Morrisania were Colored. We became proudly Negro when I was about 10 years. By the 70’s, I had become Black and I’ve remained that way though some folks have moved on and become African Americans. My 93 year old mother is still Negro though. She isn’t stuck in time. She is a product of the social crucible that is America and her self image and politics make her Negro just as mine make me what I am.

I remember The “Colored Store” owned by Miss Martha and her sister. It was a luncheonette but with a very special feature. It doubled as a candy store. There was a breakfront in the back filled with all manner of penny candies and kids would stand patiently in front of it until they caught Miss Martha’s eye. She would glance over to her sister who would scowl, wipe her hands on her apron, come around from the lunch counter and attend to the sugar greedy children. Each kid would wait their turn to point to the candy of their choice which would be dropped into a small brown paper bag and paid for with assorted pennies, nickels and an occasional dime.

As a child I believed the world was negro with an interesting mix of other ethnicities. That changed when I started Jr. High and was one of the 6 or 7 “coloreds” in my class. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered when I was in Jr. High School. They told my class, and several others, the news and released us before they told the rest of the school population which wasn’t originally, but was now mostly Black and Hispanic. I remember walking several of my classmates to the Grand Concourse, the opposite direction, from my house, before heading home. I remember the odd looks and nervous conversations. Many things changed over the years but I didn’t see that look again until 9/11 when the world made another monumental turn.

Filed under: African-American, Blacks, Morrisania

GreenThumb Summer Festival June 21st

Summer Festival
Saturday, June 21st
10:00 a.m.4:00 p.m.
Marcus Garvey Park

GreenThumb invites you to join our community gardeners and partners for the 2014 GreenThumb Summer Festival! This festival is a celebration to recognize GreenThumb community volunteer gardeners throughout New York City. This event will feature live music and dance, gardening workshops, children’s activities, food demonstrations and much more. Come meet GreenThumb’s many partner organizations and learn about the resources we offer to help New Yorkers grow successful urban gardens.
More info

Filed under: Community Green

Bronx River Run May 3rd

Screen beans character running

Shoelace Park 10K Fun Run & Walk May 3. Don’t miss running along the Bronx River!

Filed under: Community Green

New York Restoration Project in East Harlem

You COGs (Colors of Green) out there know that during the season you’ll often run into the hard-working folks from New York Restoration Project. The photos below were taken at the Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden with the fabulous foodies from Harlem Seeds and during a street tree planting near by.

You can also find these photos in my NYRP Flickr Photo Set.

Filed under: Community Green

Bronx River Alliance Winter Assembly 2013

Filed under: Community Green

Spring at Bissel Gardens!

Andy King, Council Member & Alisha Freeman, New Cares

Andy King, Council Member & Alisha Freeman, New Cares

We’ve been busy at Bissel Gardens this Spring. We have hosted a Tree Giveaway with Million Trees and NYRP and a New York Cares Volunteer Day and we are looking to do a whole lot more this year. Below are some of the pictures of the two events mentioned.  We you there? Don’t see yourself in these shots, click on the link on the bottom of the page to go to the Bissel Gardens Spring 2014 Album on Flickr.

Enjoy the photos and be sure to come out and visit or volunteer. Feel free to contact me about Bissel Gardens activities. See you there.

Yes, Erin Clarke, NY1 and Council Member Andy King were at Bissel Gardens for the New York Cares cleanup!

Bissel Gardens Tree Giveaway & New York Cares Day

Filed under: Community Green, , , , ,

Community Greens – The Newsletter

For those of you that like print media, welcome to Community Greens – The Newsletter. It captures some on the topical posts from the past month and puts them on a handy, printable page. Enjoy!

In This Issue:

  • Bissel Gardens: More Than A Community Garden
  • Why We Need Community Gardens
  • Create Your Own Butterfly Park
screen beans paper

Community Greens Vol. 1 Issue 1


Filed under: Community Green, ,

Brooklyn Sewage Bike Tour Saturday May 10

NYC H2OJoin sewage enthusiasts Matt Malina and Adam Schwartz on a tour of the sewage plants of Southern Brooklyn. Before the 1880’s, Brooklyn’s sewage was piped into the bay and ocean untreated. During Brooklyn’s fast growth after the Civil War, science led to a clearer understanding of the adverse health effects of untreated sewage. As Coney Island was becoming a popular beach destination, the first sewage ‘purification’ plant was built there in 1885 to protect bathers. Other plants followed in the 20th century, leading to current system of 14 Water Pollution Control Plants we have today.

On the tour we will;

  • Bike to 3 sewage plants, 1 storm water retention facility and 1 CSO outflow point
  • Explain the sewage treatment process and what is a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)
  • Explain the ad hoc way in which the sewage system initially developed

Tickets and more information can be found by clicking here.

Saturday May 10 at 11 a.m.
East New York

Filed under: Community Green, , ,

Come See Gardens of East New York on Sat., June 28, 2014!


I going on Morgan Powell’s tour of Gardens of East New York and I am bringing my camera. Hope to see you there!

Originally posted on bronx river sankofa:

The old towns of Brooklyn DSCN8495

Event: FREE public tour of diverse community gardens thriving with activity showcase traditional and non-traditional techniques and plants. Five sites in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood open their doors to you!
Date/Time: Saturday, June 28, 2014 from 10 a.m. – Noon. (Rain or shine).
Location: Tour will assemble inside UCC Youth Farm (600 Schenck Avenue, 11207) between Livonia and New Lots Avenues.
Tour leader: Morgan Powell –

Note: The actual tour will focus primarily on current conditions however the narrative below is an alternative way to imagine the richness of the route.

Visitors congregate within UCC Youth Farm (established in 2000) located at Schenk Avenue between Livonia Avenue & New Lots Avenue by the tracks of the no.3 train line.

Hello Neighbors and Friends:

My name is Morgan Powell.  I’ll be your host for the next two magical hours as we survey a few community gardens here in East…

View original 1,536 more words

Filed under: Community Green

The Need For Community Gardens

Living in cities removes us from nature.  It turns the soil that should be beneath our feet to concrete and the animals we should recognize into curiosities. As urban dwellers we begin to believe the food we eat should come in jars, cans, be frozen or given unnatural shelf life with chemical additives. Too many city kids grow up thinking cranberries are just a flavoring in a Thanksgiving sauce and a salad is iceberg lettuce and carrot shreds.

Parks are passive entry points to the natural world and invite people to stroll. Community Gardens demand engagement. Community Gardens foster intimate knowledge of nature as a food provider. Community Gardeners get to plant, tend, water, harvest and eat the fruits and vegetables they grow. Like me, you may have learned from your grandmother how to feel ripeness or smell freshness. You may remember the green grocer or open air markets. You may remember life before supermarkets but your children don’t. Our children need active connections and contact with what they put in their mouths. Having that context will also have an impact on what comes out of their mouths.

Green checklist

  • There should be a Community Garden in every neighborhood, one (minimum) every 10 square blocks.
  • Neighborhoods should be zoned for Community Gardens and land should be set aside for them.
  • Community Gardens are as beneficial as parks and play grounds and certainly cheaper to establish and maintain.
  • Become a member of a Community Garden
  • Start a Community Garden.
  • Support a Community Garden.
  • We need more Community Gardens!


Filed under: Community Green, It Takes A Village, ,

Shoelace Park 10K Fun Run & Walk

Run alongside the Bronx River!May 3rd, 2014

Community Green Photo

Community Green Photo

Community Greens

Certainly it takes more than a parent(s) to raise a child and prepare him/her to live in the here and now and to do well in the future. The world is more than the sun, moon and stars of our village but it's also the village on the other side of the river. It's not that they are different objects in the sky, but viewed from a different orientation. Community Greens

Food Tuesday

I have gone to bed fed but not nourished physically or spiritually. These days some folks call that being food insecure. Let's change that on a lot of levels. Lets start with healthy food that makes us happy. Welcome to Food Tuesday.

Garden Wednesday

Hyperlocal Food: Grow Your Own Fresh grown vegetables from your own garden is incredible. Nothing tastes better and it's not difficult to grow your own. Try some of the favorites like tomatoes, zucchini and collard greens. Strawberries are also pretty easy if you have the space and are willing to put in a little more work. While you could grow these on your apartment balcony,it's a lot more fun, and neighborly, to join the local community garden. Get started now and by the end of summer you'll notice you are saving money on groceries, reducing your environmental impact, and benefiting from knowing you are eating healthy food.Welcome to Garden Wednesday.

Blacks In Green

There are more of us out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our perspective, concerns and ideas. This could be called a seat at the table, a plot in the garden or a home in this hood!

CG's BIG of the Month:

Nilka Martell

Nilka Martell

Morgan Powell’s

Bronx River Sankofa

Kim Beazer’s Nature’s Nurses

Nature's Nurses
Harlem Seeds
Bronx River Alliance

Bissel Gardens

Bissel Gardens is a community garden that serves many purposes — It brings people together, beautifies the neighborhood, creates safe outdoor space, offers community gardening, grows food for donation and provides environmental and educational programs.

Find Your Community Garden

Anyone can join a garden. With more than 600 gardens across the five boroughs, potential members and volunteers should choose carefully. To aid in your search, GreenThumb has provided a Garden Finder from GardenMaps.
MillionTreesNYC - Make NYC Even Cooler

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Did You Know. . .

Capacity Fund Grants fund projects to strengthen groups’ outreach, membership, and program-planning capacity. Grants range from $250 to $5,000. Three grant cycles a year, with deadlines on February 1, August 1, and November 1. Projects must take place on NYC Parks property. - See more:

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