Bed-Stuy Gardeners, Brush Your Shoulders Off!

Did you know that Brooklyn is home to 50 percent of the city’s community gardeners, many of whom live right here in Bed-Stuy?

Much of it can be owed to the late Hattie Carthan and the foundation Ms. Carthan laid in forming the Green Guerillas, now a citywide organization.

Ms. Carthan's legacy of environmental protection in Bed-Stuy set the groundwork for the plethora of community gardens that grow and flourish around Bed-Stuy, gardens that are slowly becoming the neighborhood's claim to fame.

However, because community gardens typically are not registered as nonprofits, they don’t qualify for traditional funding and so depend heavily on community support and resources to thrive.

For this reason, the Brooklyn Community Foundation – the borough’s largest foundation that advocates giving back to the borough – created the micro-grant Brooklyn Community Garden Fund with Green Guerillas and the Spring Match with iob.org.

One of the foundation’s goals is to fund efforts to promote green communities from large open spaces –Prospect Park, Brooklyn Greenway, Navy Yard – to community gardens and urban farms.

The fund is part of a collaboration with Green Guerillas, a citywide organization that empowers community garden groups, and provided 29 grants ranging from $250 to $500 for new tools, sheds, wheelbarrows and chicken coops, as well as events and programs for garden neighbors.

“As a community foundation, one of our primary giving areas is Green Communities,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber.

“Although Brooklyn has the lowest percentage of land devoted to parks in New York City, half of the city’s community gardeners are here and more than 70 percent of them live in low income neighborhoods. Our residents are motivated to improve the health of their communities, literally taking on this issue at the grassroots level, and we back their work wholeheartedly.”

Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation announced the recipients of two funding initiatives, and several of the grants’ recipients are in Bed-Stuy!

Brooklyn Community Garden Fund’s Bed-Stuy Recipients

Community Gardens all around Brooklyn applied for project-specific funding at the $200-$500 level. It received 14 applications from Bed-Stuy gardens, and here are the winners:

- ABC/A Better Community Garden, $240 for arts and crafts supplies and community movie night

- Greene Acres, $200 for musicians for community jazz event

- Madison Street Block Association, $400 for a brick path and the children’s flower garden

- Phoenix, $300 for innovative green mulcher and event support

- T&T Hancock, $200 for event supplies

- Vernon and Throop Block Association, $300 for supplied for children’s program

- Vernon Cases, $300 for tools and supplies for renovation

Spring Match Projects

From April 11-May 6, 2011, the Foundation matched online donations to eight ioby Brooklyn projects dollar-for-dollar, up to $5,000 total. Six of the projects were fully funded, including 500 Hancock Street Block Association’s Spring Cleaning and Planting Week.