[UPDATE BELOW] Police are currently deploying a tall ladder to forcibly remove a demonstrator named Jessica Sunflower (if that is in fact her real name!) from a tree in City Hall park. Sunflower and other activists converged there this morning to protest a change in city rules that would cost community gardens legislative protection against housing developers. These rules will replace a 2002 agreement that allowed some gardens throughout the city to thrive over the last decade.

Garden activist Susan Howard says, "Contrary to the City's statements, the proposed rules are not identical to the 2002 settlement agreement, which required the City to do a State Environmental Quality Review of the gardens before bulldozing and required the City to preserve 198 gardens under the Parks Department or land trusts. The proposed rules would violate this agreement and open all the remaining gardens to development. Since the agreement was reached in 2002, the City has destroyed over 130 gardens. Department of Housing Preservation and Development has moved all gardens under their stewardship to development, with only 20 remaining now pending development."

UPDATE: Check out the video below of the tree climbing activist getting arrested. Though she'd said she wouldn't come down until Mayor Bloomberg made a personal appearance, Ms. Sunflower was easily escorted down via a ladder, and didn't even spit any seeds on the cops.

In a statement, the group Times Up! explained the demonstration:

In 1999, Matt Power donned a sunflower hat and occupied a tree which he said he would not leave until Giuliani firmly committed to preserving the endangered community gardens. In 2010, the Sunflower returned with a similar message. At 10 AM on August 2, 2010 Jessica Sunflower climbed a similar tree in a similar park to call for the city to preserve the community gardens. Sunflower was surrounded by gardeners and garden supporters with vegetables from the community gardens as well as signs declaring: “Support the Gardens” and “Make the Gardens Permanent.”

Sunflower’s gesture of direct action to affirm the need for gardens hearkens back to decades of non-violent civil disobedience, from Ghandi’s Salt Sarataya to the Civil Rights era ‘sit-ins’ to ACT UP’s campaigns against drug companies. Garden activists are willing to use a range of creative tactics to make sure the city of New York preserves the community gardens. “If activists are willing to get arrested before the new Parks rules are in place, just imagine how creative and disruptive garden activists will be when the new rules give leave to the city to transfer, bulldoze, and develop precious gardens one by one,” explained Times Up! Volunteer Benjamin Shepard.

Last week garden lovers held a "Paul Revere" bike ride to raise awareness about the changes, riding through the streets shouting, "The developers are coming! The developers are coming!" Here's the video: