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Trees for Life and Unity (Brooklyn)
Type of Memorial: Community Garden
Location: Community Gardens across Brooklyn
State: New York
Country: United States
Open to Public: Yes
Rebecca Ferguson, Associate Director of Green Guerillas, said "one of the great things about working for Green Guerillas is also one of the great things about this project, which is bringing people together on a very local level....Community gardens solve very local problems in the immediate neighborhood by the people that are affected. And that's not just open space and environment, it's other things as well, like taking care of kids, eating well, all these other things that gardens address in our communities. The Living Memorials Project is also that. In a time where people are feeling less safe, less secure, and less certain, just the idea that you can create community around trees and the environment and acknowledge those feelings with your neighbors--when normally you dont really know your neighbors. This provides the opportunity to deal with that. It's an opportunity for people with greening and through open space to express their emotions and to symbolize what they went through on 9/11."
Reason site was selected:
Green Guerillas is doing outreach to existing gardens and garden coallitions to ascertain which groups are most interested and capable of both accepting trees, planting them appropriately in their gardens, and caring for them over time. Ferguson said, "we really just want to put the word out there and make sure that the sites that are selected, the interest is coming from them--that's going to be the main criteria." She noted that groups are excited about the project and that there are opportunities for "working with schools and block associations. Working with block associations could potentially open up new opportunities not only to plant in gardens but to plant street trees as well."
Events planned for site:
They plan on incorporating species selection and tree care into the project, as well as potentially donating benches and signage along with trees so that gardeners can create "sitting tree" places that are visually linked throughout the borough. Green Guerillas has a few existing programs that they may try to wrap into the Trees for Life and Unity Project. Their "Harvest for Neighborhoods" program consits of growing food in community gardens and distributing it in the neighborhood. Many gardeners have expressed an interest in planting fruit and nut trees for this reason, so that they can share the harvest from their gardens in a "living and eating memorial," Ferguson said. Also, their "Healthy Neighborhoods" project has been piloted in Harlem, consisting of health fairs in gardens, services in gardens, and events not just about insurance, but also about preventative measures. They serve healthy food, have yoga, free tai chi, acupuncture, as ways to introduce folks to those lifestyle choices. They anticipate that some gardens will have a number of events (ranging from solemn vigils to celebratory barbecues) while others will not have as many, but if they create the program correctly, the gardens will be linked enough to invite each other to common events.
Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?:
"The sites are sacred places because they have become so through the fight for preservation and maintaining a garden site. It's not like people go and visit their park on a weekendd; they fight to create a space that is meaningful to them in their community. I think that that sort of proactiveness makes them sacred. And the fact that people have had to struggle to keep their sites. You know there is something about that, about the process of going through that. If in New York City, community gardens hadn't gone through what they've gone through in the last years, and the city just said "here's a garden, and we're going to put up a fence, and we're going to design it for you"' it would not be so sacred in the same way. People will still feel some sort of connection because they're growing food, but not in the same way that I think gardeners do now," Ferguson said.
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More Information: maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116241826929347583542.0000011373733525c0533&z=11&om=1
Web Site: www.greenguerillas.org