Back last fall, at the height of the Occupy movement, we blogged, not about sit-ins on Wall Street, but about another movement growing in New York. Though it also harkened back to calls to action of yore, this movement wasn’t demanding economic change, per say, it was demanding access to vacant public land in the city, of which there is a lot. At one point, 596 acres, in fact. Which is where the organization we wrote up about a year ago got their name.
596 Acres helps New Yorkers connect with vacant, public lots to create community gardens, active farming areas, and, more generally, a space in which to reconnect with one another in the midst of the City That Never Sleeps. According to their Web site:
“Hundreds of acres of vacant public land exist in New York City, hidden in plain sight behind chain-link fences in neighborhoods where green space and other public amenities are scarce. We are building the tools for communities to get the keys legally and unlock all these rusty gates—and the opportunities within them. These include:
• making municipal information available through an online interactive map;
• placing signs on vacant public land that explain each lot’s status and steps that the community can take in order to be able to use this land;
• visioning sessions for education about public land holdings by invitation from community groups;
• engaging the community when an interested potential leader reaches out; and
• direct advocacy with New York City agencies.”
After first seeing the posters on various chain link fences around Brooklyn, we reached out to 596 Acres to see how we could help. As luck would have it, they needed a hand in the design department.
We created the branding above for 596 Acres’ very first fund-rasier, being held at one of our favorite vegan lunchtime spots, Sun in Bloom, on the evening of Saturday, October 6.
The event will feature vegetables from Brooklyn’s own FeedbackFarms (which is actually the lot we shot—pictured below—in the original blog post), and fresh produce from upstate farms Lucky Dog Organics and Conuco Farms; an auction, featuring work by the street artist Swoon (one of the pieces up for auction is pictured below as well), archival prints from 596 Acres print library, and the work of photographers who have documented the Acres; and Music by DJ Stylus.
Tickets are $50 and proceeds go to further 596 Acres’ work to empower NYC residents to access and utilize the public land in the city. Find out more and purchase your ticket on the 596 site.
Hope to see you there!