596 Acres: Reclaiming New York’s Public Land

596 Acres is a public education project aimed at making communities aware of the land resources around them. With the goal of a food sovereign New York City in mind, 596 Acres is helping neighbours form connections to the vacant lots in their lives — from the smallest allotment to public parks (see myrtlepark.org). Thanks to the Center for the Study of Brooklyn, we have learned that many of these lots are actually publicly owned and are developing a platform for negotiating interim and long term community uses for this warehoused public space.

596 acres is how much vacant public land existed in Brooklyn alone as of April 2010. If even a small portion of that was committed to neighbourhood food production, it could provide a significant supply of fresh, locally grown seasonal vegetables in the heart of New York.  It would marvellous to think this kind of project could spread to other cities around the world – encouraging the public to pro-actively engage with their urban environment, increasing the availability of green spaces for commuters and metropolitan residents around the world. See more at 596 Acres.