Thank you so much to everyone who has spent time with us in the last week to explore the online tools we are building to connect people to land-based opportunities and to help us think about how these online tools need to come back to our communities (in print! with signs! how else?).
Two ways you can get involved:
- Give us feedback on the site and the pathways to access. Email email@example.com if you need a password for the site and check out the pathways at the link.
- Help us collect successful land access stories on which to build our collective land access advocacy. Know someone who has gotten land from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority? Or through a New Orleans tax or sheriff sale? Is that you? Or a friend you want to interview over coffee. The questions are below and we are hungry for your answers. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org (suggestions for who we should talk to would be good, too).
How I got access to my lot...
How long has your community been stewarding your land?
What is your arrangement? Does a community group hold a deed? Lease? License? Verbal agreement?
Did the agreement come first or the use? How long did one pre-date the other for?
If you or your group has a lease or a license, what is the term?
If you or your group has a lease or a license, who are the signatories?
If you have a deed, how did you get it?
Did you have legal representation for the transactions above? Where from?
Do you have insurance?
Was it a required part of the land access process?
What is insured? How much does it cost? Who is your provider?
Does your use of this land feel secure?
Are there other things that you think people who are trying to start land-based projects like yours should know?
We are working on describing the pathways to land access in New Orleans. These pathways are set by the specific characteristics of the lots -- who owns them, have they been paying taxes, where they are located, etc. Take a look at our draft pathways descriptions. Have you gotten access to land in the city? Does one of these routes describe what you did? We'd love your feedback and thoughts about how to make these more helpful.
The online map of New Orleans' vacant lots / organizing opportunities is coming to you so soon. Come to either event on November 19 or 20 get a password to access the map and be among the first people to give us feedback on how it works for you. The map will go live to the general public, with your comments incorporated, in early December. RSVP for the launch events here.
Even if you can't join us this week, we'd love to know what you think about the new Living Lots NOLA as we put the finishing touches on it. Shoot us an email (email@example.com) and ask for the password and we'll share it with you.
In exchange, we'd love to get the answers to the following questions, by December 2:
- What did you learn from using Living Lots NOLA?
- What did you like about the site?
- What did you find difficult or confusing?
Thanks so much and enjoy!
Since we met, we sketched the city. The green lots are owned by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (and seem vacant); the blue ones are owned by Habitat for Humanity and available for community use. Click here to see the full map.
Some other useful links: NOFFN Land Access Handbook (It's a little dated and will be getting updated in the coming months) & NOFFN's guide to financing. NOFFN also has a resource for folks who are working with private land owners, too! A draft lease that you can use (click the link to see it). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you do use it or if you have other feedback on it.
To help us form our co-support network, by October 21, please email us at email@example.com and answer these 2 questions:
1. What successes or resources can you share with NOLA's land stewardship community?
2. What resources are you looking for or what can we help you with?
If you'd like support working on your own application to use NORA land, join Dominique Adansi-Bona (email firstname.lastname@example.org), she's working on hers now and would love a buddy!
Keep your eye on Livinglotsnola.org for updates before November. We'll be posting maps of NORA's properties, HANO properties and Habitat for Humanity's available lots. If you would like to share a community land access success story on the site, as a model the others can follow, let us know!
And save these dates for the next gatherings at which we'll be looking at a first version of the Living Lots NOLA interactive map:
- Living Lots NOLA beta launch at Propeller, 4035 Washington Ave, on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, from 1:30 to 3:30pm.
- Living Lots NOLA / Farm City Community Dinner Meeting at NOFFN, 1838 Feliciana Street, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, from 6 to 8pm - we loved having dinner with you all and are looking forward to doing it again!
If you're a member of a group - like a Neighborhood Association - that would like a presentation on Living Lots NOLA between November 17 and 21 as the beta version of the site goes live, email email@example.com and we'll set something up. We'd love to train as many people as possible in using this new tool!
The New Orleans Food and Farm Network (NOFFN) is a New Orleans-based food justice organization that supports the transformation of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, accessed, and eaten to ensure equal access to safe, nutritious, enjoyable food for everyone and to build the local food economy.
596 Acres, Inc. is a non-profit founded in Brooklyn, NY, that builds online organizing platforms for land access advocates and facilitators. 596 Acres has partnered with the Garden Justice Legal Initiative at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia to launch Grounded in Philly (http://groundedinphilly.org) in June 2013. In May 2014, 596 Acres will partner with Community Health Councils in Los Angeles to test the prototype developed in New Orleans in a new municipal context (http://laopenacres.org). 596 Acres, Inc. is a project of the Fund for the City of New York.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The Prototype Fund helps journalists, developers and tinkerers take media innovations from idea to demo.
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