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Local Heroes


Hattie Carthan Garden (left); Cedar Tree Garden  

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

1. Hattie Carthan Garden
Marcy Ave., bet. Lafayette Ave. and Clifton Pl.
One of Brooklyn’s largest community gardens (almost an acre) and always buzzing. Its 60 members tend individual plots but also oversee a multitude of activities—cooking classes, tastings, kids’ activities. I snapped a picture of Mrs. Olatunji the day I visited.

2. Cedar Tree Garden
Greene Ave. nr. Classon Ave.
Cecil Prince started clearing this lot 30 years ago with his father, not long after they arrived from Guyana, and he’s still hauling the rocks around. Today, twenty members garden there, producing vegetables, fruit, and flowers. He started planting peach trees twenty years ago; now there are four.

3. Target Community Garden
931-933 Bedford Ave., nr. Willoughby Ave.
One of two NYRP gardens sponsored by the retailer, this 4,000-square-foot garden is open to everyone during the day (unlike some community gardens which have much more limited hours). Local resident Judy Jones gave me a tour. “When you come through the gates, you just let go,” she says. The neighborhood uses it for cookouts, baby showers, dinners. There are 35 members; twelve have plots and raise vegetables.

4. Spencer Street Garden
Spencer St. nr. De Kalb Ave.
A sliver of a garden presided over by the redoubtable Lashon Allen, who, against all odds, staves off the circling developers and marshalls enthusiastic volunteers who lend their expertise in planting vegetable and flower beds.


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