I am writing to you to inform you of the death of the Senior Garden located in the Queens Botanical Garden (QBG). The Senior Garden has been in existence for 45 years and has 45 members. Our ages range from 55 to 90 years old.
I am 79-years-old, but I will not continue my membership for 2011. This is not due to any physical situation; I will not be part of the financial extortion policies of the QBG.
Each gardener receives a plot of five by 15 feet devoted to growing organic vegetables. We pay $10 yearly membership to ourselves to purchase seeds, vegetable plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, leeks, onions and garden tools. (Each member paid a senior membership of $30 to the QBG and we were not charged for parking in the QBG parking lot. Many of the members contributed additional funds to the QBG).
In addition to the vegetables we grow, fruit trees, figs, rhubarb and raspberry plants have been by the members. And a row of perennial flowers has been planted along one side of a fence, which surrounds the garden.
We have a constitution stating the rules of the Senior Garden, and we hold yearly elections of officers. Our members consist of a multi-ethnic and racial group. We are Caucasian, African America, Korean, Chines and Sikh. Our motto is, “Don't grow old- grow vegetables.”
Most of the members live in apartments, and the garden provides us with an opportunity to grow our own vegetables, engage in physical activity and horticultural therapy. Previously we did not pay a fee for a garden plot, which was constructed by the members.
I recently received a letter from the QBG, dated 1/19/11, stating the new financial policies. From a zero cost for the use of a garden plot, it will now increase to $150.
In addition membership will increase to $45. We will also be charged $1 for parking, when we were not previously charged anything. Many of the spots in the QBG parking lot are empty all day.
All of this is financial extortion at the expense of seniors. It is unconscionable what they are seeking to do to us.