NYC Parks’ Greenthumb Continues Support for Community Gardens



Madison Hill. Photo credit: NYC Parks

As New Yorkers start the New Year, NYC Parks’ GreenThumb is taking a look back at another successful community gardening season with a review of 2021. Over the past year, GreenThumb added three new gardens to its portfolio and completed significant upgrades and renovations at 24 community gardens across four boroughs, which included 10 projects installing ADA pathways, increasing accessibility by 1,000 linear feet; and eight renovations in partnership with NYCHA. The three new gardens include Sweetgum Garden in the Highbridge section of the Bronx;  and two soon to be named gardens in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens.

Greenthumb; Olive Street. Photo credit: NYC Parks

“Our community gardens, and the dedicated community gardeners that maintain and program them, are an intrinsic part of the fabric of our city, increasing greenspace access and equity for New Yorkers in every borough,” said NYC Parks Acting Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. “I am proud of the work that was accomplished by our GreenThumb team this past year, and I look forward to another great year of renovations, upgrades, and build-outs. We remain dedicated to supporting our gardens during the ongoing pandemic, and beyond.”

“Our community gardens continue to be a vital part of the social infrastructure of New York City. Today, more than 550 blossoming gardens across the city play a critical role as we recover from the pandemic,” said NYC Parks GreenThumb Director Carlos Martinez. “In partnership with our local volunteer gardeners and greening partners, GreenThumb expanded its support to assist vulnerable communities in their efforts to address food insecurity and redesign spaces that offer a respite during these challenging times.”

NYCHA Roosevelt. Photo credit: NYC Parks

“The community gardens renovated through the support of NYC Parks GreenThumb have provided an invaluable source of connection and social activity for our residents,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “We welcome the expansion of this vital program and look forward to continuing our partnership in the service of bringing their expertise, counsel, and material support to additional NYCHA campuses in the coming year.”

The expansion of the GreenThumb budget, due to PlayFair funding, played a key role in the growth of services and staff in support of garden groups in 2021: twenty-four garden renovations were completed in 2021, up from 10 in 2019, and 15 in 2020.

97th Street. Photo credit: NYC Parks

In 2021, GreenThumb continued to support gardens and gardeners with supplies, technical assistance, and needed upgrades despite the ongoing global pandemic. During the course of the year, GreenThumb delivered more than 300,000 seeds and 100,000 plants to gardens across the five boroughs and assisted in the renovation of 24 community gardens, adding hundreds of raised garden beds, and more than 7,000 cubic yards of compost and soil.

Established in 1978, NYC Parks GreenThumb is proud to be the nation’s largest urban gardening program, assisting more than 550 gardens and 20,000 volunteer gardeners throughout New York City. GreenThumb gardens create hubs of neighborhood pride and provide a myriad of environmental, economic and social benefits to the neighborhoods in which they thrive. GreenThumb’s mission is to support and educate community gardens and urban farming across the five boroughs, while preserving open space. By providing free garden materials, technical assistance, educational workshops, and seasonal programs, GreenThumb supports neighborhood volunteers who steward community gardens as active resources that strengthen communities.

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