Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation's new community garden.
With financial support from Brooklyn Community Foundation donors and with the guidance of urban planners at the Pratt Center for Community Development, three groups representing three distinct parts of Brooklyn—Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, El Puente of Southside Williamsburg, and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation—are reporting on three years of actions in their neighborhoods (successes and lessons learned) to develop a comprehensive set of best practices and strategies to inform our efforts in making Brooklyn the greenest city on the planet.
They’re advocating for more open space, training residents for “green jobs,” promoting healthy living habits and access to fresh food, and making our public buildings and homes safer and more energy efficient. In March, they hosted Brooklyn’s first-ever sustainability conference, “Greening from the Ground Up,” which drew over 200 urban environmentalists from government and nonprofit who share our goal, including EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck.
Additionally, Brooklyn Greens partners have leveraged our initial financial support to secure over $1.5 million in additional funds from the likes of the NY State Brownfield Opportunities Area Grant Program, Green Jobs Green New York, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund to launch projects that will continue past the initiative’s three year grant period.
And in order to track long-term progress of the initiative, Pratt Center has completed a baseline analysis of all three neighborhoods and established a comprehensive set of indicators to measure and track the sustainability outcomes of Brooklyn Greens' work.
Here are a few further highlights of their recent work—stay tuned for more green good news to come!
In Cypress Hills:
CHLDC successfully acquired a temporary license to use an affordable housing site for urban agriculture. In July, they officially unveiled El Jardin del Pueblo – The People's Garden – which features 30 raised garden beds and East New York's first community-run chicken coop! In addition, CHLDC has installed a green roof on 168 Hendrix Street, which includes 17 units of affordable housing.
In Bedford Stuyvesant:
BSRC recently launched Houselift by Restoration, an accredited Home Performance contractor specializing in small home retrofits and repairs, which thus far has created six new local jobs. The business focuses on hiring from BSRC’s Green Construction Training Program, as well as Nontraditional Employment for Women and Solar One.
In Southside Williamsburg:
In April, El Puente convened Floresta, a stewardship event featuring local greening projects, to advocate for more green acres in the community. Floresta included demonstrations of sustainability projects, tours of community gardens and vacant lots, and workshops related to tree planting, water quality and transforming vacant lots into public and accessible green spaces. Nearly 75 people attended including school children, local afterschool programs, gardeners, long-time residents and newcomers.
Taste of Brooklyn
Head to the Brooklyn Childrens Museum this weekend for their annual foodie celebration. Drop in to delicious workshops run by local Brooklyn cooks and restaurants where you are encouraged to play with your food! Some of the participants include Sun In Bloom, Brooklyn Swirl, Super Foxy Sweets, Tasty Kids, and Annie Mae's Cheesecakes.
This September and October at the Brownsville branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, residents, community groups, associations, and start-up nonprofits will have the opportunity to learn valuable organizing, fundraising, and outreach techniques to make their community stronger. See the flyer here for full details. Starts Saturday, September 15th! For more information and to RSVP, please contact Arif Ullah, firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-822-9580.