First blooms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Image courtesy of Pabo76/Flickr)
This week, as we spring our clocks forward and say fuhgettaboutit to the last snowflakes of winter, we can’t help but feel excited. We’re anxious to get back into our borough’s beautiful gardens, farms, and parks, to sow new seeds and help make Brooklyn bloom.
From companion planting to composting to cultivating sustainability, every action we take in beautifying our borough adds up to creating healthier communities. We’re believers in greening from the ground up: it’s grassroots change that really starts with grass! And the more grass and open space we grow, the better Brooklyn becomes as a place to live, work, and play.
Through our Green Communities Fund, Brooklyn Community Foundation donors are supporting these efforts in dozens of ways you can see around you: public parks, community gardens, urban farms in schools and public housing, CSAs and new food co-ops. But we’re also investing in programs to implement energy efficiencies, reduce waste, and educate around behavioral change.
At Brooklyn Botanic Garden this Saturday, hundreds of greenthumbs will gather for the 32nd annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference. This year’s theme, “Gardening for a Resilient City,” shows how far we’ve come—from viewing gardening as a hobby to a tool for social change. As backers of the GreenBridge program at BBG, we’re helping to empower every Brooklynite to raise a trowel and take part in this movement.
And through our Brooklyn Greens initiative partners, environmentalism is growing like weeds in Cypress Hills, Bed-Stuy, and South Williamsburg:
- Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation won a national Promise Neighborhood planning grant. They will be able to build upon their Cypress Hills Verde program, to design a stronger, healthier community for local children and families.
- El Puente in South Williamsburg are taking their fight against climate change nationwide. Last month they launched the “Save El Coqui” campaign, to protect the coqui tree frog, the national symbol of Puerto Rico, against the threat of extinction and to raise awareness for environmental impacts of rising global temperatures.
- Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is building sustainability block by block. In addition to retrofitting homes and free green jobs training, they’re educating residents about food-related issues affecting communities of color through their Partnership for a Healthier Brooklyn.
As we approach the most beautiful time of the year, we encourage you to not simply stop and smell the roses, but to dig in and get involved in making Brooklyn even better!
Ways You Can Do Good Right Here
Brooklyn Recovery Fund Convening Series
Last Friday, leaders from a dozen community groups joined city, state, and federal agencies at the Brooklyn Community Foundation to discuss the post-Sandy challenges of mold remediation and rebuilding. With a focus on Canarsie, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, and Sheepshead Bay, participants shared resources and coordinated efforts to help speed a successful recovery in Brooklyn. Read the story here.
Sandy Hit New York's Poor Hardest
This week, NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy released a report on Superstorm Sandy's effects on housing in New York City. It determined that the storm surge covered one-sixth of the city, damaging 62,300 properties. Among residents, 300,000 New Yorkers were directly hit by the storm, over half of whom were renters. The median income of the renters who applied for FEMA disaster assistance was $18,000. Read the story here.
Brooklyn Love: A Work of Art
We would like to extend a special 'thank you' to Brooklyn Flea artist Michlle Han, who generously created and donated a limited edition wood cut print for our "Brooklyn Love" benefit. See the print, and how she made it, here. There are a few prints left, yours for a suggested donation of $35. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.
Tickets are now on sale for the annual "Tasting Brooklyn" on April 16th at the Green Building. Sample culinary treats and more than ten varieties of cuisine from over twenty-five food and drink vendors under one roof. A portion of the event's proceeds will benefit the Brooklyn Recovery Fund!