LEGISLATION AND PUBLIC POLICY
The development of community gardens has led to the beautiﬁca-tion and greening of many neighborhoods and has fostered a spirit of community cooperation. Social policies such as the promotion of health and welfare, economic development, education, youth employ-ment, and tourism are consistent with the operation of community gar-dens and logically require a degree of continuity of place andparticipants. Nevertheless, the permanence of community gardens isvery much at issue, as illustrated by the recent case
New York City Environmental Justice Alliance v. Giuliani
In addition to the issueof permanence, community garden organizations routinely face anumber of problems, including both the difﬁculty of obtaining accessto resources and the threat of legal liability. It is this article’s conten-tion that designing and implementing effective statutes could solvemany of the problems that confront community gardens, thereby en-hancing gardening as a tool for community development.
Part I of this article discusses the stark reality of urban blight,emphasizing the success of community gardening as a means of ad-dressing the problems associated with vacant lots.
It also exploresthe diverse values involved in a community’s effort to transform un-used land into productive gardens. Part II examines the current issuesfacing urban gardens and the institutions that have evolved to addressthem, such as land trusts and other nonproﬁt organizations. Part III of the article presents an in-depth analysis of current state, District of
New York City Envtl. Justice Alliance v. Giuliani, 50 F. Supp. 2d 250(S.D.N.Y. 1999). For a discussion of this case and the controversy surrounding it, see
Part IV.C.4.4. Of course statutory support alone is insufﬁcient. Implementation requires citi-zen participation. One community garden program staff person observed:[A]ll of the statutory protections and government support our Programenjoys depends on the continued activism of our gardeners and groupslike our non-proﬁt support group, the Friends of P-Patch. Governmentalsupport may decline over time and the statutory language [may] be ig-nored except for the pressure brought by organized volunteers.E-mail from Richard Macdonald, Program Manager, P-Patch Program, Seattle, Wash.,to Jane Schukoske, Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law (Dec.8, 1999) (on ﬁle with author). Community garden activists observe that statutoryschemes are often not followed.
E-mail from Judy Tiger, Executive Director,Garden Resources of Washington (GROW), Washington, D.C., to Jane Schukoske,Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law (Dec. 24, 1999) (on ﬁlewith author);
E-mail from Andrew Stone, Director of the New York CityProgram, Trust for Public Land, New York, N.Y., to Jane Schukoske, Associate Pro-fessor, University of Baltimore School of Law (Dec. 13, 1999) (on ﬁle with author).5. This article focuses on vacant lots on which buildings were razed or never built,rather than on abandoned structures. Additionally, the article’s primary emphasis ison community development through gardening in low-income neighborhoodsalthough it applies to mixed-income and prosperous communities as well.