Despite its name, which suggests a broader scope, Columbia County Habitat for Humanity has for the past decade focused on building new houses in Hudson—five on Mill Street and six so far on Columbia Street, two in the 400 block and four in the 200 block. Now it seems that Habitat wants to build four or five more of their passive solar houses on the land that is now the community garden.
Awkward as it may seem to oppose the altruistic efforts of Habitat, the members of the Hudson Community Garden have launched an urgent campaign to save the garden. In an informational letter received by Gossips yesterday, garden directors Vanessa Baehr and Sarah Faulkner make the case for the garden:
For 20 years, the Hudson Community Garden has provided its members, the general public and the city of Hudson with a modest but meaningful place to practice and achieve both food justice and urban environmental sustainability. Each year, up to 40 families and individuals depend on the garden for serious food production--often for a significant portion of their diet. Many of the Bangladeshi community grow vegetables they cannot even purchase in a store in the area.
In the past two years, with a new small but focused and energetic volunteer Board that was consistently active through the 2011-12 & 2012-13 seasons, the Garden has seen many rapid improvements, including newly designed and better maintained common spaces and communal beds, overall improved infrastructure, as well as new programs such as public composting and both youth and adult educational, arts and culture programs for the public. In 2013, the Board crafted a new mission and vision statement for the future that further expands all these programs to serve an even broader audience. The Garden consistently has a waiting list for plots beyond its 40-family capacity, and the community feels it would benefit from expanding to include other green spaces as satellite gardens.
But amidst all this progress, we now have learned that Habitat for Humanity would like to purchase the city lots the Garden occupies, which the city has leased to us on an annual basis for 20 years.
While we feel Habitat's overall mission is also very worthy, we feel that destroying the existing Garden to make way for Habitat's new development would be a total waste of resources as well as a shameful punishment of all the people who have contributed 20 years of sweat equity, hard-earned resources and community spirit in order to build this amazing resource.
. . . An organic garden is a delicate ecosystem that cannot be easily replaced or moved, and to replicate it elsewhere--even if a suitable site could be found--would require a great amount of money and labor.Garden supporters have created a petition, appealing to HCDPA to preserve the garden. If you agree that the Hudson Community garden is "vitally important and . . . should stay exactly where it is," click here to show your support and sign the petition.