Community garden seeks new roots in Ridgewood
by Patrick Kearns
May 10, 2016 | 4396 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The former site of the Ridgewood Community Garden still sits vacant since the MTA evicted the group last year.
The former site of the Ridgewood Community Garden still sits vacant since the MTA evicted the group last year.
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Last year, the Metropolitan Transit Authority evicted a community garden that was occupying its property under the elevated train at Woodbine Street between Onderdonk and Woodward avenues.

While that property still sits vacant, green space advocates are looking for a new place to plant roots.

Matt Peterson says they are looking to build off the lessons learned from last year.

“Last Saturday we had our second open public community meeting because I’m trying to kind of reform or reorganize the working group to get the community garden going,” Peterson said.

Peterson said he wanted to focus on getting a more organized group together this time, and says about 30 people have shown interest.

“This year we really wanted to focus on having a more functional community-led working group,” he said.

Peterson said the Ridgewood Community Garden has been working with Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s office, Friends of Rosemary’s Playground and members of the Ridgewood Property Owner’s Association.

The group will meet again in May, as well as attend the Community Board 5 meeting this week to introduce their group and seek advice.

So far, they’re heard a number of suggestions.

“Some people are interested in trying to grow food themselves that they could share or eat in the neighborhood,” he said. “Other people were just interested in having more green space for them or kids, or just a space where we could do a teaching garden, teach ourselves and teach each other how to use some of these garden skills and tools.

“Other people are interested in beautification, green projects,” he added, “all kinds of things.”

He also hope a future garden can explore the ideas of soil remediation and pollution, especially as it relates to Ridgewood specifically.

“It could really be a big community initiative or effort for people to take on some of these questions together,” Peterson said.

The next step is to explore potential spaces. Peterson said typically community gardens utilize city-owned lots, but those are at a premium in Ridgewood.

One possibility is privately-owned lots slated for development that are currently stagnant, or maybe forming a partnership with one of the religious institutions in Ridgewood and using church grounds.

“The Department of Education owns some lots in the neighborhood that aren’t being used or could be used for a garden project,” he said. “We’ve been looking at those and trying to figure out how to have meeting with some of the people involved in the neighborhood on that level.”

For more information, visit their Facebook page at “Ridgewood Community Garden.”
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