New community garden — not at Brooklyn College

The front yard of the parsonage at the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church will become a community garden.

By Helen Klein

Flatbush’s newest community garden will be planted on property belonging to the neighborhood’s oldest church.

Sustainable Flatbush is joining hands with the Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church at Church and Flatbush avenues to develop the oasis in front of the historic parsonage, facing sleepy Kenmore Terrace, to encourage people who live in apartments to ply their green thumbs alongside their neighbors in one bountiful garden.

The new garden is about a mile and a half away from the Campus Road Community Garden at Brooklyn College, which the college will raze and replace with a parking lot, along with a promised smaller garden.

Planting at the church garden is slated to begin next month, said Anne Pope, Sustainable Flatbush’s founder and executive director.

“Even though we know it’s late in the season, we want to make something happen this year,” she commented, adding that the goal is to create a green space where people who live in the neighborhood can work and relax together.

As a result, the group is reaching out to community organizations and religious groups, in addition to schools and senior centers.

“We are hoping to get a full range of different kinds of people, who wouldn’t normally hang out together, getting involved,” said Pope.

And the church’s pastor is giving the garden his blessing.

“It’s a way of beautifying the neighborhood and the land,” said Rev. Daniel Ramm. “It’s way of strengthening the community.”

The types of plants to be used are still in the weeding stage, until Brooklyn College conducts a soil assessment, and an analysis is done to determine which plants are likely to thrive in the shady space which the garden will occupy, said Pope.

If things move ahead according to schedule, the first shovels should hit the soil at the church not long after supporters of the Brooklyn College garden learn that garden’s ultimate fate. Currently, the college’s plans are in limbo awaiting the resolution of a legal case brought against it by the gardeners after the college began dismantling the garden on May 21. The gardeners and the college go back to court on June 25. In the interim, a temporary restraining order prevents the college from completing the garden’s destruction.

Sustainable Flatbush will hold a planning meeting at Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church [Flatbush Avenue at Church Avenue], June 16th at 6 pm.; call (718) 208-0575, or e-mail info@sustainableflatbush.org.

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