BUG wants to talk

October 6, 2006
By

JOHN RUCH

The new version of Boston Urban Gardeners (BUG) has agreed to engage in mediation with the organization’s old leadership, which still controls BUG’s cash and land.

BUG has been sitting on more than $400,000 and ownership of six community gardens since the organization, once based on Chestnut Avenue next to the Southwest Corridor Community Farm, went mostly defunct in 2000. Frustrated activists seized control of BUG in a public vote last month.

Judith Lennett, BUG’s longtime clerk who was among the old leadership recently voted out, reportedly offered to participate in mediation sessions with the activists prior to the Sept. 16 coup meeting.

The new BUG board decided at its first meeting on Sept. 25 to accept the mediation offer, said board member Greg Murphy in a Gazette interview.

“We’re going to mediate about the transfer of control and assets, and not mediate about the future of the organization,” said Murphy, adding the new board is requesting that mediation begin very soon.

It is unclear if the old leadership overthrown by the vote considers the coup legitimate, and Murphy has acknowledged that it’s an open question. Key members of the old BUG leadership, including Lennett, have not returned Gazette phone calls. Murphy said those leaders also have not contacted any of the new board members.

The new BUG board also elected officers. They include Laura Sylvan, chair/president; Jon Ellertson and Juliet Stone, vice-chairs; Wendy Stander, treasurer; and Kathleen Clancy and Toy Lim, co-clerks.