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Dozens of NYC community gardens could close over contract dispute

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Plus, heat and hot water woes return for NYCHA—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

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Contract disputes threaten community gardens.

Some 100 community gardens across the city could close because of contract disputes with the city’s Parks Department.

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, many of the people who run community gardens have balked over a new licensing agreement that GreenThumb, the program that operates those green spaces, has asked them to sign. The new agreement includes some provisions that garden operators find onerous, including an “updated liability policy, a limit on the number of fundraisers and a rigid approval process for all events,” according to the Eagle. Those regulations may threaten the survival of some of the smaller, volunteer-run organizations.

Some city and state legislators have now gotten involved, sending a letter to Parks commissioner Mitchell Silver asking the agency to reconsider the new regulations, saying they effectively make the city “an agent of enforcement rather than a garden-friendly working partner.”

As we previously reported, community gardens often have rocky relationships with the city; the fact that none are technically permanent (their agreements must be renewed every few years, and some are located on land that’s not owned by the city) makes them especially vulnerable to outside forces. Councilmember Rafael Espinal has proposed a comprehensive urban agriculture plan that he believes could alleviate these issues.

And in other news…