Speaker Night on Wednesday 24 July, 2013
The Greening of New York City
New York City might not yet be the big green apple but there are many signs of green shoots! Farmers markets, community gardens and a host of progressive environmental policies show that NYC is slowly but surely changing. Following a recent visit to the city, Richard Hil, Jennifer Grainger and Mat Grainger will report on the greening of NYC and the lessons this holds for the Gold Coast and Australia more generally.
New York’s community garden movement began during the 1970s. It was a difficult era, when the city’s population was declining and many city-owned lots were trash-filled, rat-infested eyesores. The city offered to give the lots to organized groups in exchange for improving and maintaining them. A milestone in the movement was the creation of Operation GreenThumb. It’s a program within the city’s Department of Parks that offers free gardening classes and light equipment like shovels and rakes. Still, in leaner times, many communities have had to fight to keep control of their gardens when the city wanted to auction the plots to tax-paying real estate developers. Some green spaces have been lost this way because people couldn’t maintain them properly.
Diversity of gardens
The diversity of plants in the city’s community gardens reflects the variety of New Yorkers themselves. For example, there’s a bed of special red peppers planted by a Mexican immigrant family growing next to a stand of flowering peonies tended by a homesick Chinese gardener. Tight budgets have been a fact of life for New York City’s parks since the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. From the formation of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980 to the recent battles to save community gardens, New Yorkers of all backgrounds have met this challenge with dedication and ingenuity. Today, New York is a laboratory of innovation, as new gardens, greenways and waterfront parks take shape while existing parks develop new models of management.
Gecko’s Speaker Night is on Wednesday 24 July 2013 from 6.30 pm in Gecko house, 139 Duringan Street, Currumbin QLD. Bites and drinks for a donation. It might be a good idea to reserve a seat for this special event by ringing Gecko on 55341412.