|If you haven’t made it to The People’s Garden yet this summer, come by this weekend when we will be celebrate 20 years since Hernan Pagan became the steward of the Garden and 35 years since the lot at Greene Ave. and Broadway became a one-of-a-kind gathering place for people in the community.
You may not know that the land upon which The People’s Garden exists was once 3 residences that burned to the ground on July 13 and 14 1977, when an historic electrical blackout sparked rioting and destruction in Brooklyn, the epicenter of which included the blocks of and around The People’s Garden.
In 1981 the city took posession of the lot, making it a Green Thumb space. Mr. Leslie Cooper, Mrs. Camille Lloyd, Fr. Edward Breckles, Rev. Linda Hunt, Hernan Pagan and other members of the Green Avenue Block Association were provided tools to make something of the space. As the founders of The Green Avenue Block Association Green Thumb Garden, they worked to create a garden that would be useful to the young ones growing up on the block and their families, who had no place to play and socialize. However, around 1994 Mr.Cooper fell ill and entrusted the Garden to a neighbor named The Cowboy who, rather than nurture the space, did little more than to pick cherries from the cherry tree to sell at local markets. Shortly after, the garden to fell into neglect.
On September 9 1996, with the Garden locked and abandoned, Hernan jumped the fence and began digging out mattresses, syringes and other debris from the ground. He changed the name to The People’s Garden, and resumed working for a vision of the Garden that is still active to this day.
In 2004 The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust bought the lot from the City of New York, making The People’s Garden a permanent space for the community, and entrusting Hernan with official role of steward for the Garden, which continues to make all the difference to the families and dwellers in our neighborhood. Today The People’s Garden has over 15 volunteer members, providing shade, fruit, and a sense of belonging to numerous families and transients. In addition to gardening, we pride ourselves on offering music, culture, and a healthy place for meeting, contemplation, and discourse.
The shows this weekend are free and open to the public, with dontations accepted all weekend for the musicians and also to help support The People’s Garden and it’s basic yearly operating expenses. Also, Saturday will include a POT LUCK MEAL, so bring something to share if you like, or just bring yourself!
The Peoples Garden Members