2006-05-24 Back to the Gardens – Villager

The Villager
May 24 – 30, 2006

A Roving Party to Save the Community Gardens wound through the East Village and Lower East Side on May 13, calling attention to the threat to community gardens, specifically 65 in the Bronx at risk of being destroyed. The procession started at Tompkins Square Park and included stops at La Plaza Cultural on E. Ninth St., the Whole Earth Bakery on St. Mark’s Pl. — which is fighting to keep its space — the site of the former Esperanza Garden on E. Seventh St. and the old P.S. 64/former CHARAS/El Bohio community center on E. Ninth St. For years, Earth Celebrations led the Annual Rites of Spring: Procession to Save Our Gardens, featuring a re-enactment of the mythic drama, “The Birth, Marriage and Kidnapping of Gaia.” But Earth Celebrations reportedly went bankrupt, so Time’s Up!, the East Village bicycle-advocacy group, led the event this year. Taking a page from the early Green Guerillas, marchers tossed seed bombs — made of cat litter, dirt and wildflower seeds — into vacant lots. They also handed out seed packets. The march didn’t have a permit. “We don’t need a permit,” said Bill DiPaola of Time’s Up! “The gardens and the streets represent public space for the people. People have a right to use them without a permit.”