I recently bought bee pollen at the Greenmarket because I am bi-curious about bee products. It is termed a SUPERFOOD! Meg Paska, the infamous Brooklyn Homesteader, who keeps bees (among other things) right here in Greenpoint, is kind enough to school us on bee pollen.
Meg: Pollen is a reproductive matter created by angiosperms (ground-dwelling flowering plants) to aid in species propagation. It’s made up of many small grains that contain the male gametes that are required for plant fertilization. Bee pollen is just pollen that has been collected and prepared by honeybees.
As Greenpointers reported on Monday, a duo of designers on India Street is attempting to raise funds to create a community space where a parking lot is destined to go. The deadline to raise the last $2,000 of the needed $22,000 is today, at 2:00pm.
Trish Anderson and Maureen Walsh, of Domestic Construction (a design studio), live across India Street from the lot and have spear-headed the design.plot effort to create a community space with the lot for agricultural, educational, artistic and community endeavors.
A recent Greenpoint Gazettearticle chronicled the duos’ efforts to save the space from becoming a parking lot, by leasing the lot and hoping that it could be made into a community garden.
The space is located on the stretch of McGuinness Boulevard above the split off from the Pulaski Bridge, making a quieter and more secluded area than further south. But with the bridge to the west, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to the east, and Newtown Creek to the north, having a little oasis of green community space might mean no small amount of respite from urban pressures.
I exchanged some emails with the ladies from design.plot, who were more than eager to tell the tale.
Q. How long have you been in Greenpoint, and why is this effort important to the neighborhood?
A: We have both lived and worked in Greenpoint for about 5 years. We are both transplants. Maureen’s from Ohio and I’m from Georgia. As many people can relate, we have been living and working in an area but felt a disconnect with the amazing community that surrounded us. One thing we always missed about our lives before Brooklyn was open green space. We missed the opportunity to get dirty. When the lot entered our lives we knew we needed to save it so that all Greenpointers could have a space to explore and learn from nature.
Q. What other Greenpoint/NYC (or other) organizations have been supportive of design.plot? Have you been in contact with local groups that could use the produce?
A: We are in talks with several organizations that are in full support of the project. We are also open to any others that would want to get involved. We want to give away the food that is grown to whomever needs it. This isn’t a money making venture. We are just very passionate about building something beautiful and educational for our community to experience. We have a network of growers and farmers with shovels ready and willing to make this happen once design.plot is funded.
Q. Are there any large/corporate donors?
A: Not yet! But for us that is why the Kickstarter platform has been so inspiring. It has been amazing to meet people that support and believe in the project. The idea of design.plot being funded little by little only solidifies the sense of community that we desire.
Q. Has there been any resistance from the space’s owner? Or are they supportive?
A: Our landlord is in full support of the project. He was only turning it into a concrete lot because frankly that is the normal thing to do on an industrial street in Brooklyn. Our neighbors (which are all auto shops and metal scrap yards) are in complete support as well. We are the only artists on the block so we stand out a bit but we have never met so many friendly and open people.
Q. What kind of film screenings do you have in mind? Have any organizations/artists expressed interest? Do you also foresee the space as a music venue?
A: For October we are in talks with thegreenhorns to have a screening of their documentary [The Greenhorns]. We plan to have plans to have fully curated outdoor exhibitions. We have a ton of talented artist friends excited about the possibility of an alternative to the typical Gallery space. We hope this interest keeps growing and growing, We imagine a multitude of different performances. As long as they are positive and can serve as a respectful meeting ground.
Q. Why the August 24th deadline? Is this because the owner wants to sell NOW? Or because the project wants to beat the cold Winter? Both?
A: We are working against the clock! The lot fell in our lap just after prime planting season. We want to be able to use this fall and winter to prepare for next spring.
Got an email tip from reader Michelle about this final push for funds on a totally amazing project to turn an empty piece of land located on India between McGuinness and Provost into a community garden.
This is a block that definitely ain’t one of the prettiest in the neighborhood, but the ladies of Greenpoint design business Domestic Construction took it upon themselves to save the land from being paved over in concrete and made into yet another parking lot, by purchasingleasing this unused space next door to their studio. It’s now up to the community to help them raise the funds to complete it. While I can only imagine the toxins in that soil from years of industrial zoning, at some point we need to start nursing it back to health and a community garden seems like a great way to do just that.
Kickstarter projects are a dime a dozen. Everyone seems to start one for a million and one useless reasons, but there are a select few that are special and worth your hard earned dollars. This project one is one of those.
The video is adorable and even if the ladies may seem slightly stoned or something, they made a real nice save by purchasing that lot. There are too few green spaces left in Greenpoint. Check out their detailed Kickstarter page and all the cool things you can get just for donating to their cause. For just $10 you get a plant named after you!