After MTA ousted them, Ridgewood Community Garden group continues the search for green space

Photo via Facebook/Ridgewood Community Garden

The search for green spaces in Ridgewood continues.

After the MTA ousted the Ridgewood Community Garden group from the 2,250-square-foot lot of unused land beneath the M train at Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street last summer, members have continued to search for new green spaces across Ridgewood as a place to build a community garden.

“It was disappointing we couldn’t reach an agreement with the MTA on the lot last year, and we’re open to still trying to work something out with them, but we also want to be ambitious together as a group and identify a number of different possibilities for the group to pursue,” said Matt Peterson, member of the Ridgewood Community Garden. “These also include lots owned by the Department of Education, lots on church grounds, school grounds, etc., and we’re trying to reach out to people to work out something to collaborate.”

The group held a meeting on Saturday, May 7, to discuss further actions to finally bring a secure green space into the neighborhood.

“There’s been such a huge desire and need in the neighborhood for something like this, we got so much support and feedback last summer,” Peterson said. “We got close to 1,000 signatories on our petitions to save the garden, and we know the Friends of Rosemary’s Playground group also heard from their own surveys that additional green space was a huge need for the neighborhood.”

To aid in their search for green space, Ridgewood Community Garden has reached out to several major players in the neighborhood including Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s office, the Ridgewood Democratic Club, Friends of Rosemary’s Playground, Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA), Woodbine and the Ridgewood Tenants and Neighborhood Association, among others.

“We think there’s a collective knowledge among all these groups that can help us identify and negotiate community access to a lot where we can design and build a community garden together, and make sure it can continue in the long-term,” Peterson said.

The problem with finding vacant space in Ridgewood is that there just isn’t that much of it compared to in other neighborhoods. Most properties are already built up, and if they are not, they are privately owned lots, many of which are scheduled for construction, Peterson noted.

“We’d like to work with the owners to reach an agreement for the community to set up gardens in these lots while they’re just sitting there, and we think there’s a lot of neighborhood interest and support for something like this,” Peterson said. “In the not-too-distant future, we would love to see the neighborhood working together to set up green spaces in all of these vacant lots, to really set an example as a neighborhood to the whole city.”

Representatives from the group will be at the Community Board 5 (CB 5) monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 11, at Christ the King High School to continue to reach more people and grow their coalition.

Anyone interested in joining the Ridgewood Community Garden can visit their Facebook page, or email them directly, at ridgewoodcommunitygarden[@]gmail.com.

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