In December 2011, Bed-Stuy residents Shatia Jackson and Kristen Bonardi Rapp .
Without knowing each other, the two had begun inquiring about a vacant lot at 462 Halsey Street between Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Lewis Avenue. They had both noticed a sign outside the fence posted by an organization called 596 acres encouraging residents to “take back the land.”
So they both called, and soon enough were put in touch with each other.
“Paula, who is the founder of 596 Acres introduced us,” said Jackson. “From there, we decided to be partners and to make a community garden happen.”
“And we have been working together ever since,” said Rapp.
After months of toiling the soil at 462 Halsey and with the help of volunteers, on Sunday, April 22, Jackson and Rapp celebrated the grand opening 462 Halsey Community Garden.
Dozens of local residents trekked in the rain to celebrate the birth of the new Halsey Street green space, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who presented the two founders with a notice of recognition.
It was a very wet, very wonderful day, as the excitement was evident in all who attended.
And according to Markowitz, the springtime rain was a blessing: “I’m a Jewish guy, and when it rains on an event like this, it is truly lots of mazel, which means lots of good luck! So hey, I think it’s fabulous.”