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SAVING A GARDEN

STOP THE BULLDOZERS!


RICK MANNING • SUSAN REDICH • CGR Spring 1983

ORGANIZERS OF COMMUNITY GARDENING programs have a responsibility


to protect the right of their members to produce food on community
land. Before doing ‘battle’, review this list of proven strategies:

• CONSIDER REDEFINING the • RESEARCH THE SYSTEM. How


way you state your objective. are decisions made? Who has the • FIND SPOKESPEOPLE who are
How about “advancing your power? Know your community’s effective communicators and
community’s basic needs” or petition procedures, special-use are representative of your con-
“organizing to resist a threat permits, zoning board, hearings stituency. Make statements that
to community welfare”? These that may be required, etc. connect the garden to the bigger
phrases give a more positive picture of neighborhood control,
tone to your efforts. • DO NOT RELY on one bureau- environmental health, etc.
crat to save the day. Cultivate
• CREATE YOUR OWN special- the support of many community • CONSIDER ESCALATING the
issue organization. Choose leaders. confrontation after you have tried
a name that directly com- your best to negotiate quietly.
municates the issue and your • TAP RESOURCE PEOPLE for This may involve legal action such
purpose. Elect officers. Do not leverage. For instance, get as seeking a restraining order or
depend on an existing organiza- support letters from important organizing a public demonstra-
tion to be the mainstay of your officials such as agency heads tion.
campaign; request support and and local elected officials,
ask for help from other groups and get resolutions passed by • GET THE MEDIA INVOLVED.
when you need to. local government and citizen’s Keep reacting publicly to ‘official’
groups. actions and statements.
• COMMUNICATION, both
internal and external, is impor- • WITH WHOM OR WHAT are • DEVELOP THE ART of negotia-
tant. Build a mailing list, circulate you battling? It may be with the tion. Know what you want – and
newsletters, form a telephone entire Real Property Department know your fall-back position.
chain, and keep enthusiasm at a or with the mayor, but it may be
high level. only one assistant administrator. • PUBLICLY AND WARMLY
To be successful, you need to THANK and recognize your
• HOLD INFORMATION meetings carefully apply pressure where it supporters, allies, and workers in
where you invite local officials in will do the most good. the campaign.
to your neighborhood.

• INVOLVE THE NEIGHBORS! • BE PERSISTENT!! • GET IT IN WRITING !!!


116 2004-2005 SPECIAL EDITION