@SmilingHogshead Ranch Celebrates 3 years

I sent out this newsletter to all the Smiling Hogshead Ranch email list. I figured I would go ahead and post in on my blog too. Really good stuff. If you like what you read and want to get involved please RSVP to our FB events and come have a drink with us on March 20th (the real 1st day of Spring ;0) https://www.facebook.com/events/792328174128998/
Hello friends and supporters,
It may not feel like it quite yet, but Spring is officially here! And we are excited to share a story, our Spring calendar and some news! Please read on…
In the late winter of 2011, a dozen gardeners convened on a trash strewn parcel of land in an industrially zoned area of Long Island City. Then and there, we quietly decided to transform the place into an urban garden. Since then, working together with so many collaborators, we have done just that. Smiling Hogshead Ranch is the result of three years of planning, organizing and hard work. Today, March 4th is a day that we celebrate three years of shared achievements. As we gear up for our fourth growing season we heed the advice of the calendar and “march forth” together in the important work of restoring the commons, connecting people with soil and creating the world that we choose to live in.
It has been a long, cold winter. The ground is frozen and crops are dormant. But that has not stopped us from organizing and preparing for spring. The Hogshead organizers have been busy and are proud to announce that, with the help of our pro bono legal team at DLA Piperand the Lawyers Alliance for New York, we recently registered Smiling Hogshead Inc. as a non-profit organization with the State of New York. As we have not achieved federal 501c3 tax status, we also applied for fiscal sponsorship and hope that it will come with an insurance policy. If that application is accepted, Smiling Hogshead Ranch will have all the pieces in place to enter into our Garden License Agreement with the property owner. We would like to thank the folks at the MTA/LIRR for extending this agreement and for all their patience as we get all the necessary structures in place to sign this agreement. Hopefully it will be on the books by the growing season really kicks in.
We are also busily putting together a business plan, a real newsletter, a new logo, creating a web page to link with our newly purchased domain name (www.SmilingHogsheadRanch.org) and looking for grant opportunities to fund some of the progressive community projects we have in the works. If you would like to get more involved with Smiling Hogshead Ranch and help with any of these behind the scenes activities, please send us an email:SmilingHogsheadRanch@gmail.com
We would love to work with you!
Already filling up with great skillshares, events and workdays; and always accessible on our events page with more to come, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for invites. We could also use support in providing this programming. We are a completely volunteer run organization and your expert knowledge, organizing skills and/or other support for these events would be greatly appreciated. Click the dates below for links to the events.
March 23 (tentative date) – As soon as the ground thaws we will turn under cover crops and process compost.
March 29th – A couple Hogshead Members are tentatively scheduled to present our project at Pratt’s Sustainability Crash Course.
April 19 & 20 – Garden expansion & lot clearing weekend. We have applied for a “Love Your Block” grant from CCNYC but this event will happen even if we don’t receive that support. (rain date is the following weekend 4/26+4/27)
April 27 – Fruit tree and berry shrub care 101: Spring nutrients, pruning and pest/disease ID + management (potluck lunch)
Late April – Bed raising workday. We will partner with one of our members employers (a large construction management firm) to host a corporate workday and build raised beds for our new season. 
April 22 & 23 (tentative) – Hogshead presentation at Vacant Acres symposium. 
May 3rd – GrowNYC seedling planting and Compost Awareness Week activities (& a movie)
May 17 (Mostly off site) – Group bike ride to tour Greening Queens LibraryGardens and Compost infrastructure with Queens TA. Final stop is tentatively schooled to be at SHR for a BBQ and social hour (still being planned)
May 11 – Biodynamic farming skillshare, workday and potluck. 
June 7 (off-site starts at Socrates Sculpture Park)-Smiling Hogshead Ranch will support NW Queens Food Day & LIC Bike Parade in solidarity with Queens Action Council (QuAC) & Recycle-A-Bicycle.
NEWS : : :
In case you missed it, Smiling Hogshead Ranch got a good bit of press after announcing our existence at a Community Board 2 meeting last Fall. Here are some links:

LIC Post “Guerrilla farmers will soon be allowed to put down roots in LIC

Finally, we are thrilled to announce two exciting projects for 2014. The NYC DOT has announced that they will complete the bike lanes on Skillman Ave. and make a connection to the Pulaski Bridge, making our garden frontage a well traversed bike corridor. Plus, the Parks Dept. has responded to ourrequest for street trees along the opposite side of Skillman Ave. from the Ranch and they will be excavating tree pits and installing up to seven street trees there this year! 
Thank you for your support, we hope to see you down on the Ranch soon!
In peas & SOILdarity,
The Smiling Hogshead Ranch Crew


* Please come prepared to garden. Suggested items include water, gloves, closed toe shoes, full length pants, a hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, food scraps to contribute to our compost, rain gear and/or a jacket if the weatherperson says so, extra hand tools if you have them. Snacks or something to share for lunch is also encouraged.


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