What We’re Up To Lately

Meeting At WoodsOn Tuesday, July 6, we held our monthly NAG ACTION meeting at the Woods. The subject was “Why Shop Local?” I presented some policy research from the Pratt Center for Community Development. To read the policy brief or download a PDF of the presentation, visit Pratt Center’s Local Retail website. Caitlin Dourmashkin from the Northside Merchants Association discussed local issues, and representatives from the Brooklyn Torch talked about their efforts to start a local currency. We brainstormed ideas for projects to support local retailers — stay tuned for more information about a project in the works!

On Sunday the 11th, NAG then teamed up with School of the Future to present three workshops! School of the Future is an inter-generational free school for the community around Sgt. Dougherty Park, at Meeker and Vandervoort. From solar-powered lighting to experimental food sculptures, the School of the Future is an invitation to experiment and analyze learning through the arts.

Guerilla GardeningThe first NAG workshop was Guerilla Gardening, where participants created seed balls to distribute in vacant lots around the neighborhood.  Seed balls consist of red clay, compost, and seeds — when they dry, they can be easily distributed (i.e. thrown over fences).  Did you know that North Brooklyn has themost stalled construction sites in the city?  For more information about how to make seed balls, check out this step-by-step guide. Special thanks to Kate Zidar and the North Brooklyn Compost Project for compost and to Kimberly Sevilla at Red Rose and Lavender for the discount and tips on local seed varieties!

Newton CreekUp next, Ryan Kuonen led a School of the Future class on her “Newtown Creek: the Gunk Under Greenpoint” bike tour.  Participants visit a number of sites along the creek, and learn about its history, the current industries there, and efforts to add the creek to the Federally-designated list of national Superfund sites designated for remediation.  Among the sites visited was the Newtown Creek Nature Walk (pictured).  Designed by George Trakas and opened last year, this interesting site is a must-visit for North Brooklynites. The City even has a fun scavenger hunt you can do.

Urban PedagogyFinally, Ryan led a discussion about affordable housing, using the Toolkit developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy.  This interactive, felt board allows participants to visualize how many people in their community can afford available housing types, at what salaries.  Participants asked great questions, and a discussion ensued about how to protect artist housing in NYC.

Thanks to everyone who came out this week and brainstormed and learned with us!

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