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Brownsville Residents Fight To Save Community Farm: 'We Are Not Going To Give It Up So Easily'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's a battle brewing in the Brooklyn over whether a community garden should be chopped down.

Surrounded by auto body shops and warehouses, the greenhouse might be the last thing you'd expect to find on the Brownsville street corner, but it's been a staple of the community for nearly 20 years, CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported.

Inside, even in December, there is fresh produce like eggplants, squash and even honey from the bee hives in the back.

Now, members of the community are standing unified to save the garden from being closed by the city over the holiday season.

"They want to tear down this garden, and basically uproot it and move it to a different location. But there's no other locations out here," one woman said.

Gardeners at Green Valley Community Farm were told by the city to vacate 80 percent of the land by December 31 in order to make way for affordable housing units.

Council member Inez Barron said the notice came as a surprise since just last year the city designated the space a permanent park.

"Once a farm is transferred to parks, it's protected. So we were all rejoicing, and happy, oh this is wonderful. Low and behold a few months ago, they were told, 'oh no, we didn't intend for you to have all five of the lots," Barron said.

However, the city argued that the garden never had the rights to the whole property and that they will be able to stay on one small area that was preserved.

"That single lot is 20 by 80 feet," community garden activist Paula Segal said.

Segal said that would take away most of the garden, including the green house.

Now, the garden that normally supports the community is getting support from that community as gardeners, local business owners, students and health food activists stand linked together to save their garden.

"This garden means a lot to the poor people of Brownsville and we are not going to give it up so easily," one man said.

Community activists hope that city officials will see just how important the garden is to the community and have a change of heart so that space for both food and housing can be found.

CBS2 reached out to the city's department of housing and preservation, but it declined to go on camera to answer questions about the story.

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