Board meeting notes 3/31/19

La Plaza Cultural board meeting 3-31-19

Garden schedule:

  • Fence construction starts April 2ndwith the removal of our remaining mature willow, Krusty, which is hopelessly rotten. RIP. 
  • Official word is work will go on through June. Green Thumb has promised to speed things up where possible. There are a number of major events contingent on this happening (Great Small Works’ end of Ramadan spaghetti dinner, Loisaida Fest, etc.). 
  • Meanwhile, DoT will be installing a new sidewalk. It’s unclear how this will impact the permeable sidewalk we were maybe getting through Gardens Rising. The timeline also TBD. 
  • We will hold an official season opening party to coincide with the summer solstice (June 21), though the garden may be open before then (we hope!). The collection of membership dues will be postponed until we can open the garden. 
  • We need to coordinate garden access with the contractor. We’re compiling a list of reasons we need access, including watering trees (the trees that were dislocated from the fenceline are dying and need to be watered three times a week), caring for the new batch of bees when they come, watering Prima, making sure the pond pump is running, feeding the turtles, checking the rat boxes (we have at least 20 surrounding the perimeter). 


  • Our 10thAnnual fire jumping festival was a huge success. We got permission to hold it at La Plaza at the last minute (that day) following confusion over the permitting process (we heard different things from different officials, and it turned out there had been a revision of the rules, but Green Thumb helped expedite the process). For next year, we’ll work on improving the flow of people through the garden (people Instagramming made it less fluid) and getting the permit situation ironed out earlier.
  • Gratitude to Fireman’s Garden, which graciously and generously offered to host the event.
  • This year, we’ll Matt and Simin are joining Bill and Katie on the Events Committee. They’ll work on smoothing our process for community event requests (Katie triages most personal event requests, like kid birthday parties). 
  • Marga wants us to have more “curated” community days with all hands on deck and a more structured agenda. Even little things like making tea from the herb garden. 
  • For the events waitlist:
    • The LUNGS Spring Awakening event is April 14. They’re holding a costume workshop to prep for it on April 6. 
    • Felicia Young is coordinating a kids’ procession for fighting climate change on May 11 and may stage outside the garden. 
    • Loisaida Fest is May 26.
    • Bill’s bike workshop goes all spring/summer/fall. 
    • Barrier Walls event in July. 
    • Film festival in summer. 
  • Marga proposes that we have a poster with upcoming events outside the gate. Maybe we could build a template for easy input. 
  •   There was concern expressed about the new event’s guidelines from Green Thumb and how they could impact us as an events-based garden should we need to get sign-off for every event. Marga says this is a new project from Mara Gittleman, who put together how-tos. There’s a booklet online but they haven’t released official final rules. We need to see some outreach/dialogue with Green Thumb on this. 
  • We have two signature events per year – Halloween and Chaharshanbe Soori. We need more hands for both. Should we consider hiring people to work the event? We’ve paid stewards in the past but discontinued that. We can also be more organized about directing/training volunteers. 


  • There are approximately 30 plots. The plot letter will go out before the garden open. 


  • We technically have no members right now and we’ll have a shorter season. Simin will send an email to last year’s members updating them on the shortened season and how membership will work this year. 


  • The solar pavilion is moving forward through the confusing process slowly but steadily thanks to Jackson’s patient efforts. 
  • Unclear what’s happening with soil delivery this year, given the construction.
  • We’ll need to buy sod for the lawn if we don’t seed. We could try seeding since theoretically the garden will be closed and there won’t be anybody stomping around on there. 
  • Compost cans need to be changed. It’ll be around $200.


  • We really need a kitchen committee. There are issues around the grill, cleaning it up after use and ordering propane for it, getting sign-ups for use. Maybe one option could be to have it serviced weekly in season?

Open policy and etc.

  • The rule is that the garden can only be open if there are members present and needs to be closed at sunset except when there are events happening. Do we need to establish a rotation? We’re hopeful that new locks/keys/fences will solve the problem of unauthorized openings. 
  • A couple of weeks back some middle schoolers were throwing bricks and a planter and stuff in the pond and killed one of the young turtles. Diana chased them off and got pictures of a couple of them. 

Member meeting notes for 4-14-18

Member meeting notes for 4-14-18

This was our first general workday and member meeting of the season. The meeting was briefly joined by one of the turtles, who was wandering by, possibly looking for someplace to lay some eggs?

In attendance: Felicia, Sarge, Sarah, Jon, Marga, Matt, Cassandra, Rita, Cathy, Maddalena, Bill, Pedro, Sam, Michael, Ross and Bob. Facilitating: Marga

Committee notes: Landscape

  • For the workday, Bill’s volunteer crew moved trees and the hot tub planter away from the area where the solar pavilion is going in (right by our last remaining willow, ahead of the entrance to the plot area). The big hole there was dug for soil samples per city requirements. The pavilion framing will proceed as soon as we get an OK from the city, which could be any day now. Then the panels will be installed. We’ll need to fundraise for a battery – may approach local businesses. The pavilion will be a 20×20 structure supplying power to the garden and granting us independence from the grid. We can have a solar-powered movie night, use it to power amps, and ride out the zombie apocalypse in the garden.
  • This season we’ll need to move the Hügel beds in to allow for the installation of the new fence (which will happen at or after the end of this season, in the fall).
  • Bill got us a genius donation of sod from Loverboy (the bar/pizza place around the corner), which had held a “Garden party” event with sod covering the bar. Nearly covers the lawn – Bill seeded the remaining patch. for sod.
  • We agreed the dome can go on the lawn since it’s an open latticework structure and won’t shade the lawn. It will remain fenced in for one month and will be open to the public for one day, May 12.
  • Water is a critical issue. The rain barrels were empty and that new sod will need watering. We have put a request in with Parks to get it turned on early. Have to be conservative with water until that happens.
  • Prima is doing really well – the moss is catching on. We agreed that we need a workshop with her installers on how to take care of the moss and the pump system.


  • Cylinders will be changed and as of the next member meeting (moved to Sunday, May 13 because of the Earth Celebrations Ecological Cities event on Saturday, May 12), old keys will no longer work and new keys will be distributed to members in good standing.


  • We’re pretty broke once we’re done paying for the pavilion (which came from a grant). Should explore grant opportunities, though it’s late in the year for many. We can also do more MERCH – T-shirts, etc.


  • For the April 22 LUNGS Spring Awakening they asked if we could make hats.
  • We need volunteers for the May 12 Ecological City to portray a flood – 7-10 adults and kids should do it. Bill, Sarge, Ross and Felicia said they’re game.
  • We agreed to host an NYC Civic Corps Program event on May 24 with 80-100 attendees. Rita and Felicia will steward.
  • Felicia wants to do a fish fry in August.


  • Will include compost, along with pond, bees, etc., and activism/outreach.
  • Having their first meeting this Saturday, the 21st, at 11am.
  • Focus will be on sustainability and permaculture, in keeping with the garden’s historic mission. We have space, can host panels and events, etc.
  • We had a discussion of the Albany march (Monday, April 23) demanding that Cuomo do more on climate change, shared some terrifying projections and statistics.(13ft sea level rise by 2040 in NYC), talked about how climate change is tied to America’s foreign wars and the war at home against communities of color, etc. Jon made a beautiful banner for Albany, needs help carrying it. Sarge said he would go.


  • Last year we talked about getting tents for the BBQ area but there was no follow-through. Proposal coming soon.
  • Remember to vote on April 24.

Board meeting minutes for 3/13/18

Board meeting minutes for 3/13/18

    • There was much discussion of the permitting situation for the upcoming Zoroastrian fire jumping festival. Responsibilities were assigned for tracking down pols and fire department officials.
    • We named executive officers for the year: Marga Snyder will serve as our executive director, with Jackson Gilkey as deputy director and Matt Arnold as secretary.


      • We’ve been asked if we can host a geodesic dome – ala the one that Buckminster Fuller installed in the garden forty years ago – for a couple of weeks around the time of the Loisaida Fest. We all love it, but it can’t be on the meadow – it would destroy the grass that we bought sod for – so we just have to figure out where to site it.
      • We’re one of the host gardens for the Ecological City pageant coming up in May, and they need volunteers.


      • “Still want your plot?” nudges have gone out. Let Rita know in writing! Available plots (there are three now) will be assigned to folks who have been members for at least a year. New members can always take on a community plot while they wait for plots to open up.
      • Let’s all keep the paths in front of our plots clear this year!


      • Voted to fund eco-printing of a climate change raising banner Jon Keller designed, and to explore building a climate change library (i.e., a weatherproof bookcase to house info on climate change – Green Oasis has a nice one).
      • Prima’s keepers, Todd and Terry, installed a new pump and tubing. We need to be aware of when it’s unplugged and make sure to turn it back on to keep the moss happy.

Landscape and maintenance

      • There are now seven mushroom beds that will soon be sprouting bluets, nameko and shimeji fruit – all edibles. They’re great for woody waste disposal and decomposing weeds – Jackson built them with prunings from trees. They’ll be marked with crumbled brick and signs will be posted.
      • Fence and pavilion update: test pit for the pavilion will be dug soon; the new fence will be installed in the fall, post-season.
      • Also, we’re getting new locks, and paid-up and hours-logged members will get keys.


    • We’re pretty much broke, though fees will replenish our coffers a little. The film crew shooting on the block said they’d contribute something for hosting their very lost Bowery subway stop (thanks to Sarah Ferguson for negotiating that and shooing them away from the gate!). Our inability to host weddings serving alcohol has hit our revenues pretty hard.


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