Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Public Hearing on Spofford Redevelopment


Filed under: Community Green, Events, Housing, Hunts Point, It Takes A Village,

Harlem Grown

We need more organizations like Harlem Grown. They look at the welfare of children through an urban garden lens. Groups like Harlem Grown engage everything from healthy eating to obesity with fresh air and exercise.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Latonya Assanah, Greenhouse Manager, at the NYCHA Garden Conference about Harlem Grown and I’m looking forward to getting to know Harlem Grown better.

Filed under: Community Green, Food, Gardening, Harlem, Healthy Eating, It Takes A Village, Obesity, ,

Fordham University Students Cleanup Bissel Gardens

An absolutely wonderful group of students from Fordham University came out to Bissel Gardens on April 8 for our 1st Spring Cleanup this year. They did a fantastic job. We appreciate their help and realize we couldn’t get planting this year without them.

Bissel Gardens has Volunteer Cleanups every 2nd Saturday of the month thru November and opportunities for new gardeners, especially veterans. Why don’t you join us!

Email Chuck Vasser for more info.


Filed under: Bissel Gardens, CGGrows, Community Gardens, Community Green, Environment, Events, Gardening, It Takes A Village

Kale & Squash Soup on a Woolworth Spoon


I eat kale as often as I can so I am always looking for new recipes and experimenting with old ones. This Kale and Squash Soup came together since my GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box @ Uptown Grand Central included those items. The Patty Pan Squash added a wonderful flavor to the soup. Any squash will do. The taste will change slightly but the soup will still taste great. I also got a head of cauliflower. In food markets the greens are generally removed. In outdoor markets, the greens are usually still attached. I cut the tender greens from the stalks and used them as a substitute for the kale a couple days later with the remaining squash. Great switch! The poblano pepper came from my Milk Crate Garden.

I always eat soup with my Woolworth spoon. It reminds me that in January 1960 I couldn’t have eaten at a Woolworth Lunch Counter and by August I could because of the power of solidarity and non violent protest. There was a Woolworth’s on Bathgate Avenue in the Morrisania neighborhood I grew up in.

My grandmother would take me shopping with her and I’d watch her pick fruit and vegetables and haggle with vendors. We occasionally went to Woolworth’s to buy notions but I don’t ever remember eating there. My grandmother might have gotten service at the counter but I was probably “too colored”. My grandmother died in 1966. I am glad she lived long enough to see the world changing.

Kale & Squash Soup

1½ cups onion, diced
1½ tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock or water (plus a bit more to adjust liquid to your personal taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 poblano pepper, diced
4 cups kale, chopped
4 cups squash, chopped
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Sauté onions and pepper in oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Add stock, salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and squash and cook about 12 minutes or until tender. Add more vegetable stock if your soup needs more liquid, and warm through.
Check seasoning, adjust as needed, and serve sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese.

Makes 8 servings


GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box @ Uptown Grand Central

Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, Gardening, It Takes A Village, Morrisania, , , , , , , ,

Ruth A. Vasser: After the Comma

commaNever place a period where God has placed a comma. – Gracie Allen

Ruth A, Jones was born June 28, 1921 to Robert Jones and Cornelia Waters at the Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital on Fifth Avenue and 106th St. She was the first of two children. Her younger brother was named Robert and has predeceased her. Her mother, Cornelia, was one of three sisters from Baltimore that settled in New York in the early part of the 20th century. As a child, she was nicknamed “Babe Ruth”, not because of the baseball player or the candy bar, but because she was named after her mother’s oldest sister, her Aunt Ruth. Cornelia moved into Harlem as her sisters settled on Long Island. She spent her early years in Harlem in the 159st and St Nicholas area. One of her proudest achievements was her graduation from Wadleigh High School. He mother, who had worked her entire life as a housekeeper and cook was determined that Ruth would not become a domestic and worked even harder than she had to so Ruth could finish school. Ruth completed HS in 1939 and was always proud of her diploma and Penmanship Graduation Award.

Ruth was able to secure a position in the garment industry as an office worker. For a Colored woman, that was almost unheard of at the time and she eventually became assistant to the chief buyer. She loved to tell stories about how, when they were pregnant at the same time, there was a real competition to see who would wear the most stylish outfit. That was hard work in those days as everything from hat to shoes to belt to gloves to handbag had to complete the ensemble. Ruth loved dancing and the Savoy Ballroom was one of her favorite places.

She eventually worked for the Social Security Administration as a Case Examiner.  She enjoyed resolving problems with Social Security claims ensuring people received the benefits to which they were entitled. She retired when she was 67. Even in retirement she was active and for many years was a docent for the Wildlife Conservation Society. For years, once a week she would meet and greet school and other tour groups and show them the wonders of the Bronx Zoo.

Ruth is survived by 3 sons, Ronald, Charles and Robert, 5 grandchildren, Valdesa, Charles, Imani, Akela and Iyanla and great grandson Kai Aiden. Her oldest child, Barbara, passed away in 2006. Ruth raised her children in the Morrisania section in the Bronx after she moved there from Harlem in the early 50’s. She raised her children as a working single parent with the support of her mother until Cornelia passed in 1966. She was pleased that all of her children were HS graduates and that 3 of her children completed college, which was a dream she always had for them.

Conversations Overdue

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

About Community Greens

It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.


Chuck Vasser

Blacks In Green

There are more of us people of color out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our concerns, ideas and sit at the table!

Bronx River Sankofa

Morgan Powell

Smiling Bellies
The First Day of SpringMarch 20th, 2018
What are you planting today?

Upcoming Events

  • Bissel Gardeners Meeting July 7, 2018 at 10:00 am – 11:00 am Veterans Garden-Propagation
  • Volunteer @ Bissel Gardens July 14, 2018 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Veterans Garden-Propagation
  • Bombazo Dance Co / The Sabrosura Effect July 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm St. Ann’s Ave. & 146th St., Bronx, 11413

The CG Fit Chick

Cog Blogging

Bronx Fixed is Back! - BxFxd

Community Consulting

A green roof is partially or completely covered with vegetation, such as sedum, planted in a growing medium over a waterproof membrane. Green roofs are can help insulate your house, reduce water runoff, filter pollutants, and cool the air. The typical green roof isn’t meant to be walked on. A roof garden, whether or not it has flowerbeds, is meant to be visited and enjoy.

Green Tips


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“Even though this planet is round, there are just too many spots where you can find yourself hanging onto the edge, unless there’s some space, some place to take a breather for a while.” –Gloria Naylor


The Future of Spofford

Community Greens Photos

Chuck Vasser on


The Black Caucus Of IAABO

The Black Caucus Of IAABO

The Black Caucus of IAABO. originated at the Fall Convention of IAABO that took place in Atlanta, Ga in 1987. In Jimm Paull’s (Bd #42), room in the Colony Square Hotel were Buddy Keaton, and Ken Jordan (Bd #37) from New York City. .


Life & Basketball

Fried Chicken & Philosophy


The Butterfly Project