April 2008 Meeting Minutes

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Meeting at 459 Vanderbilt Avenue


In Attendance:

Mark, Cara, Leslie, Marisa, Roma, Mei, Emerson, Vlada, Michael, Lon, Suzanne, Charlie, Frank, Pat, Kriko, Kate, Gabe, Andy, Christine, Dave, Ingrid, John Ryan, John Spinks, Stephanie





Money Spent so far this season:


– $40 to test for lead and heavy metals in the soil at PS11

– $35 for the Hollenback Compost lead test – we are considering selling our compost as a fundraising effort at the Fort Greene Park Farmers market, and so as a priliminary step, we tested the compost. We also started talking about how much to sell the compost out, with a basic figure of $5 for a gallon bag, and $15 for a 5 gallon bag. There was some discussion of the nuances of selling compost – for example, if we sell it for a one time fundraiser, do we still give it away for free when people come by the garden and ask for it? And if we do give it away for free is there a limit to that? In light of all of the decisions to be made at this meeting, it is proposed and seconded and voted to table this conversation.

– $50 for a consultation on the solar panel with a solar panel expert


Workday with PS 11


– There is a tentative save-the-date for May 17th


Compost Parade


– We are supporting our local Clinton Hill Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, by donating some tools, labor and compost for the planting beds that they have in front of the library. The date is Friday, April 25th at 10am. We were approached by a group called the Friends of the Clinton Hill library for this project. We are also planning on working with them later in the season for a reading series of nature themed books in the garden.


The New Composting System Location is a Go!


– Charlie spoke to Don, our neighbor, and he gave a supportive thumbs up – though if you’ve been to the garden, you probably already know this from the work done at the first work day.





May 10th the morning


There is a conference at the UN (yes, that UN) on Food, Agriculture and Sustainable Development happening the week before and and the week after after Saturday May 10th. On that Saturday, 60 delegates signed up for a tour of four community garden/urbans farms – fellow BQLT garden Hattie Carthan Community Garden, East New York Farms, Bed-Sty Farms and our very own Hollenback! We are the first garden on the tour, and we are expecting the delegates (and their translators) in the 10 to 11 o’clock range. They are interested in seeing our rainwater harvestor, our compost system, our composting toilet. And they are very interested in meeting our dedicated garden membership. If you can, please save the date and come to the garden to meet people with similar passions from all over the world!


May 10th the evening


Later that very same day (!), we are having our first community BBQ event to celebrate the unveiling (the awesome power of the now fully operational battle station known as) the composting toilet.

In terms of the toilet, we talked about getting a hand sanitizer pump, which Emerson said that he would look into. Mark is also planning on having some kind of a garden library in the toilet house. Kirk is working on getting a photo book together of the process.

In terms of the event, it was proposed that we open the floor for sugggestions about the shape of the event and then form a planning committee to make the final decisions. Some of the ideas suggested were: having just a regular BBQ, having some kind of ribbon cutting (maybe done by the Park Avenue Co. who donated their trucks to bring us the 700 pound tub), having a raffle to determine the first toilet user, making a mini educational presentation and then have a person standing by the toilet with talking points throughout the rest of the event, seeing if the block association wanted to be involved, using some of Kirk’s photos of the process on the invitations.

God bless Kriko and Vlada who stepped up to oversee the planning committee. They need help and are looking for recruits. If you can do anything to help out, no matter how small, let them know – krikomichaels@hotmail.com and vlada@vladatomova.com. It’s like that 700 pound tub under the toilet. For a few people, it is incredibly heavy. For a couple dozen of us, we can tip it over, carry it halfway across the garden and lower it into a six foot deep hole.


The Amendments to the Hollenback By Laws and Membership Commitment


– At our October meeting last fall, the garden voted overwhelmingly to support a new By Laws & Membership Commitment. There were a few issues that were brought up for fine tuning. Those were dues, quorum, emergency sabbaticals. This being our first season with our new by laws and commitment, there were a few more issues that have already come up this season: friends joining, wait list rank, keys and open hours.

– The Sunday before the meeting, all interested garden members met at Mike’s house to discuss these issues. In attendance were Maggie, Mike, Michael, Charlie, Kate, Cara, & Mark.

– At the April garden meeting we broke into groups and the the members of the Membership committee sat and answered questions. We came back together and discussed any concerns or additional fine tuning and then voted. The vote was 24 in favor of adopting the new amendments and no abstentions or votes against. We said that we would leave the vote open one week, until the following Thursday the 24th, for any members not present to vote.

– The Post-meeting Update: After the additional week for members not at the meeting to vote, the proposed amendments passed.  The final count was 35 votes in favor of adopting the amendments, 2 votes opposed, and 6 gardeners abstained from voting.


The meeting ran a little over and we ended with a vote to change our May meeting from Saturday May 24th to Thursday May 22nd. This was due to the fact that no one noticed that Saturday May 24th is Memorial Day Weekend. 


There are still some unfilled jobs that need dedicated volunteers just like you…

Water Barrel Key Masters – We have 3 and need one more.

Trash Master – We need one.

Tree Pruner – (this is a learning job, so don’t ask yourself if you know how, ask yourself if you want to know how) – We have one , we need one more

BQLT Communications Committee Rep – We have one and we need one more

Phone Tree Calling Buddies – We have three and we need three more (this job involves people with internet access being matched up with people who don’t and passing on information)


Please email Mark/Cara to let us know if you can help out with any of these jobs.



These minutes were respectfully submitted by Mark.




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