After many months of discussions, meetings and on-the-ground organizing, the Gardens Rising Steering Committee came together for the first time on Sunday March 13th at the Sixth Street Community Center. A full house of community gardeners, environmental activists and Lower East Side neighbors gave a warm welcome to our team of elected garden representatives and selected specialists. Over the next six months, these volunteers will be working to realize the Gardens Rising goals. By expanding natural “green infrastructure,” we will be beautifying the Lower East Side and helping our community cope with increased stormwater flooding and other predicted impacts of climate change.
This event marked the first time the entire group was able to meet, and the energy and optimism was palpable. The Steering Committee members were introduced by NYC Community Garden Coalition Executive Director Aziz Dehkan, who is leading the Gardens Rising Project. The Steering Committee discussed their interests and accomplishments, and the challenges and opportunities ahead. Gardens Rising Program Director Charles Krezell showed a short film, followed by an extended question-and-answer period, where issues ranging from the potential use of solar panels to the impacts of winter salt on garden soils were discussed.
Toward the end of the afternoon, the Steering Committee outlined the plan of action for the Spring. As the weather warms and the gardens come back to full active life, Gardens Rising will be organizing a series of walk-throughs to explore the issues each garden faces. We want to identify possible stormwater management projects in and around the individual gardens. These walk-through tours will explore each Garden Group on consecutive Saturdays throughout April, including a special day on Saturday April 16th, when we’ll all be joining in the annual LUNGS Spring Awakening celebrations.
Additional details on Gardens Rising activities and events will be shared via the newsletter and posted here on the website, so please sign up to receive the latest updates. And rain or shine, take the time to look closely at our gardens, gutters and street trees, share your ideas for improving the neighborhood, and help make Gardens Rising a success.