May 2010 


Saturday, May 15, 2010


In Attendance:

Gina (and Khalil), Deema, Roma, Heather, Tom, Jennifer, Hannah, Margaret, Cody, Judy, Dana, Claire, Peter, Lizza, Tony, Kate, Suz, John Ryan, Joe, Ellen, Vera, Anabelle, Greg, Mohammed, Rachel, Ruth, Michael, Mark


As has become our routine at meetings, we started off breaking into pairs and doing ice breaker interviews.  

The questions this month were:

1) Did you have a favorite childhood song/story?

2) Do you have any collections?

3) What was the last kind thing you did for a stranger?/What was the last kind thing a stranger did for you?



What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening.

Beekeeping at Hollenback

Michael, from the Brooklyn Beekeeping Club (, came to our garden to share his knowledge of beekeeping with the garden.  He first came by our garden during last year’s Triple Threat, and Lizza has kept in touch with him since and invited him to our meeting.


Michael spoke of his own experiences with bees (he has been doing it for 8 years and currently has 4 hives) as well as speaking to the benefits and issues often surrounding bee keeping.  He said keeping hives would probably not take up more space than one of our rain water harvesters.  He said that from a single hive, one could expect 30 to 200 pounds of honey, and that a pound of locally produced honey goes for about $10.  He said we would probably be looking at a start-up cost of around $300 to $400.  He also spoke about his club, and the NY Beekeepers Association, as two excellent organizations who provide training and assistance for novices and newcomers to the wonders of beekeeping.


To follow-up and research more about this issue, a bee keeping committee was formed – Lizza volunteered to coordinate the group.  She will be joined by Dana, Claire, Cody, Rachel, Deema, Tony, Khalil and Mark.  If you are interested in participating in this group, contact Lizza at


The question was brought up about whether or not the garden should continue to participate in the study we were part of last season, led by LIU professor Tim Leslie, Wild Bee Diversity in Brooklyn Community Gardens.  Since Professor Leslie and his students are hoping to do a presentation in the garden, it was proposed that the decision be held off until Prof. Leslie is in the garden and can speak to the benefits, hopes and goals of his research to address some of the issues raised by Joe in opposition to the research on the grounds that it may actually be more harmful than helpful to our local bee population.


To see a poster created by Prof. Leslie’s students on their results from last season’s efforts, check out: Wild Bee Diversity in Brooklyn Community Gardens

To learn more about “The Great Pollinator Project”, check out Bee Watchers and sign up for some “citizen science”!



Where will we plant the cherry tree?

Continuing the conversation from our last meeting, there was a long discussion of the pros and cons of planting the tree in various locations.  Eventually we took a vote of whether to members wanted to plant it in the garden or in one of the nearby empty tree pits on the street, with the understanding that if the garden decided to plant the tree within the garden, a committee would then be formed to figure out an ideal location for the tree.  Of the members present at the time of the vote, 19 gardeners voted to plant the tree in the street tree bed, 3 gardens voted to plant the tree in the garden, with 1 abstention.  


It seemed like the largest concern about having the tree in the garden was the 15 foot canopy to be expected, even from this dwarf variety, that would cast a lot of shade on whatever part of the garden it was planted.  Claire also shared the fact that cherry trees grow such a way that we would not be able to pass under it for many of its middle growth years. In the course of the discussion, we learned from Margaret that many years ago, there used to be a cherry tree in the garden, that had been removed.


To begin to put the cherry tree plan into action, Deema mentioned a friend who has an organization called “Brooklyn Shade” that might be able to help build a tree guard around the tree.  Gina offered to see what could be done to get the city to remove the stump that is in the tree pit.  Ellen, who is a member of the Block Association, said she could talk to them about our plans.


Weighing the Food We Grow

In following up with the idea of weighing the food we grow in our garden, Mark found a newly evolving project called Farming Concrete that is helping gardens all across the city measure how much food they grow and to assign the total volume a monetary value.  


For a copy of the handout given out at the meeting, which contains more information about the goals of the project, the requirements for Hollenback’s participation, and some thoughts about why such an endeavor might be important, click on the Microsoft Word document below:

weighing food at hollenback.doc


At the meeting, the following plots committed to weigh all of the produce they grow for this season:

1) Kate & Peter

2) Suz and Lon

3) Dana

4) Cody

5) Mark, Cara & Kirk

6) Margaret

7) maybe John Ryan, Maggie and Melissa

8) Ellen thought it was something that the Apprentices could do with the food grown in the Apprentice plot



Our Relationship to the BQLT

Following up from our last meeting, Cara scheduled a meeting with some representatives from the BQLT.  That meeting took place last Thursday night in Emerson’s office space on Vanderbilt Avenue.  


In attendance from the BQLT were BQLT Board President, Co-chair of the Operations Committee, and Classon-Fulgate gardener, Demetrice Mills and former BQLT board member, current Co-chair of the BQLT Operations Committee, and Patchen Aven Garden gardener Brothel Dean.


In attendance from Hollenback were gardeners Mark, Cara, Ruth, Sarah, Cody, Hannah, Free, Kirk and Lorne.


The gardeners who were present at that meeting, who were also present at today’s meeting, talked about their impressions from the meeting.  After some follow up discussion, the garden took a vote.  On the issue of whether or not to sign the licensing agreement with the BQLT, 18 gardeners voted to not sign the licensing agreement, 0 gardeners voted to sign, and there was 1 abstention.  Because of the magnitude of this decision, the vote will stay open for one week, so that gardeners not present at this meeting have had a chance to vote.


The overwhelming concern expressed was for the long-term sustainable survival of Hollenback as a protected green space.  Though 18 gardeners voted to not sign the licensing agreement, there was a lot of interest in being active in the BQLT by attending BQLT Board Meetings (held on the first Thursday of every month at the Magnolia Tree Earth Center , 677 Lafayette Avenue).  Several members also expressed their interest in reaching out to other BQLT gardens to hear what they are thinking about the future of our gardens.  By not signing the agreement the garden is voicing its concern as to whether the BQLT as it is structured today could be financially stable and sustainable enough to protect the 34 gardens in perpetuity.  Hollenback intends to maintain its active role in the community of the 34 gardens that make up the BQLT.


The following two links are to learn more about this issue:

To view the licensing agreement

To view a brief history of working with the BQLT



Wrapping Up

Towards the end of the meeting, Greg Merryweather appeared, like a conquering hero, with the vegetable seedlings from the GreenThumb seedling give-away earlier in the day.  The gardeners present took some of the seedlings and the rest were placed on the table in the back of the garden for gardeners not present to claim over the next week or so.


Then the meeting broke up and Peter and his saw set to work on the lumber that was obtained through Gina and Jennifer’s participation in the GreenThumb workshop on raised bed building.


Respectfully submitted, 

Mark Trushkowsky


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