Last month I attended Making Brooklyn Bloom 2018 at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
It was their 37th event of this kind but for me it was my first time. It was a really wonderful experience so I want to tell you all about it, because events like this must be talked about!
The event started at 10 am and when I arrived I was directed to the Palm House, where we could register to the workshops and to the Keynote Address.
The Palm House is a large beautiful sun room and there the staff offering a nice little breakfast and several booths were settled. The booths were about different environmental related causes such as NYC Compost, NYC Recycling and Brooklyn Community Foundation.
It was delightful to be able to visit each booth and learn more about their projects in such a beautiful place while enjoying coffee and muffins !
Check out this guy demonstrating his system to capture rain water for community gardens. His little model was super dope and he was happy to demonstrate how it worked as many times people asked him to.
The morning workshops started at 11 am and I picked "Gardens Rising: Communiity Gardens and Climate Change" by Aziz Dehkan. He is the Executive Director of New York City Community Garden Coalition and he does an amazing job at promoting and protecting community gardens in New York City.
He talked about how community gardens and other green areas help mitigate extreme weather conditions in the city's micro-climate and shared research on how important is their role in sustaining a balanced urban environment.
He also pointed out several concerns that public areas currently being used as community gardens are constantly facing, such as how fast we are loosing land for the frenetic growth of real estate and the difficulties to deal with government's bureaucracy.
He proposed ourselves to take action by encouraging and supporting community gardens in our own neighborhood. He says we should actively advocate for them and keep ourselves informed so we can better defend our grounds.
Aziz also encouraged us to know the responsibility of our political power and pressure our governments to do the right thing in preserving green areas in the urban environment. We have to fight back to assure a more sustainable, healthier and cooler (temperaturewise and mindsitewise) city in the future.
He was really open to questions and answered everyone with a contagious positivism. I was inspired to see that even though Aziz deals with several challenges that could jeopardize his projects , he still remains certain that things can change for the better.
I left the workshop with a warm feeling of hope and call for action! I totally recommend to hear him speak, if you can.
At 12 pm the morning workshop was over and it was lunch time. I grabbed a delicious vegetable wrap at the Yellow Magnolia Coffee Bar at the Visitor Center, where I shared a communal table and had conversations with a bunch of very friendly people that were also attending the seminar.
After lunch I still had some time before the keynote so I visited the Rotunda on the second floor along the library hall, where more booths with exhibits were settled. There, seeds catalogs were being distributed, insects were being shown, and seedling were given away! All fun!
At 1:30 pm the Keynote speaker Malik Yakini started his presentation at the Auditorium. Maliki is the founder and executive director of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.
He is a strong advocate against racism and promotes empowerment of African Americans using Community Gardens as a tool for strengthening the food security and sense of community in African American neighborhoods of Detroit.
He is an amazing human being and his job deserves to be praised and he deserves to be listened to. For that I am going to leave you his TEDx talk, which is a brief of the presentation we watched at Make Brooklyn Bloom this year.
After the Keynote l speech, we went back to the workshops. My chosen afternoon workshop was "Planting a Micro-Oasis“ by Margarita Poulsan, the curator of BBG’s containers, interior displays, and the Washington Avenue Shade Garden.
She taught the attendees how to create a micro-oasis in challenging areas, more specifically dry shaded ones, commonly found in the city.
Margarita talked about how to use the right plants to get around the shade situation by using species that don’t require so much light, such as Hostas, Heucheras, and Astilbes. She also suggested Azelias shrubs and dwarf Maples trees.
As for the drought problem, Margarita said that even though the plants she suggested us can tolerate some some, they should never be in a dry bone soil. To avoid that, she recommended a timer attached to a soaker hose or sprinkler so you wouldn’t miss a watering day and your landscape would keep looking healthy.
Even though it was a nice class, it was very basics, mostly directed to beginner gardeners. There's nothing wrong with that, don’t get me wrong, but I wish this was in the description of the workshop. I wasn't too upset about it, anyway... (they gave us seedlings as hand outs).
When the afternoon workshops were over we were asked to answer a satisfaction survey and the staff gave us a gift bag with three super relevant books! Look at this titles, BBG totally nailed it!
The event was over after that but it left me with such a good feeling of positive change, call for action and sense of community, that it still with me today.
I feel proud of being part of this amazing movement because home and community gardens have a big role in the transformation of our society towards a more sustainable, equal and fair one. We are indeed impacting the world!
I loved attending Making Brooklyn Bloom 2018. I loved the people I've met, the way we are all supporting each other and we the fact that are many.
More than Gardens Community will attend the next Making Brooklyn Bloom 2019 for sure, as well as many other events of its kind, so we can keep making connections and strengthening our group of friends.
Together we make a better world where people garden, share and live harmonically with each other and with Nature! Always together!
If you would like to be part of these events too keep tuned in our More Than Garden Community on Facebook. We post garden/ earth related events, gardening tips, swap food and seeds and hang out together. You can also send us an email or direct message, we will be happy to hear from you!