(Not So) Secret Gardens

April 20, 2012

Above: Phoenix Community Garden on Fulton Street in Brownsville, recipients of a 2011 Brooklyn Community Garden Fund grant. Their 19,000 square foot site is an urban farm, a community garden, and an outdoor educational center.

(Not So) Secret Gardens

Community Gardens Add More Than a Touch of Green to Our Concrete Jungle

We’re proud to say that Brooklyn is New York City’s community gardening capital—over 50% of the City’s gardeners plant their seeds here, and there are 46 gardens in Bed-Stuy alone. Yet of the five boroughs, Brooklyn has the second least amount of parkland per person, so it’s no wonder that resourceful Brooklynites have taken on greening public spaces themselves to provide more places to grow, learn, and enjoy in our neighborhoods.

More than lush respites, community gardens are centers for organizing and coalition building. Great ideas for neighborhood improvement often take root among the gladiolas, sunflowers, and chicken coops.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re announcing renewed support through our Green Communities Fund for two terrific opportunities for both established and aspiring gardeners to grow more “green” in our communities:

  • Brooklyn Community Garden Fund: We’re partnering with Green Guerillas to provide grants of $250 to $500 for Brooklyn groups that manage active community gardens, to fund physical improvements to the garden, as well as outreach and education activities that get residents involved in gardening, urban agriculture, and neighborhood improvement. Applications are due May 10. Attend an application workshop next Thursday, April 26 from 6-8PM at Magnolia Tree Earth Center in Bed-Stuy! RSVP at grants@nycgreen.org.


"Brooklyn's community gardeners are managing green spaces, growing bushels of healthy food, and providing important services to their neighbors. Our partnership with Brooklyn Community Foundation allows Green Guerillas to get community gardeners timely, targeted support to help them achieve successes all growing season long." 

- Green Guerillas Executive Director Steve Frillmann 
  • Greenest Block Contest: We’re thrilled to be founding supporters of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual competition, which takes the spirit of community gardening to the streets, to encourage block and merchant associations to invest in the trees, yards, and sidewalks that connect our homes, schools, and businesses. The rivalries are fierce but friendly, all in the name of building pride and community in our neighborhoods. In addition to recognizing the “Greenest Block in Brooklyn,” awards go to Best Window Box, Greenest Storefront, Best Street Tree Beds, and Best Community Garden. Applications are due June 1. Learn more at http://www.bbg.org/greenbridge/greenestblock.

Feeling inspired and want to become a community gardener in your neighborhood?

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Find a community garden: Search for local gardens here. Typically, you should visit the garden in person to get in contact with its stewards, though some do have websites. Contact information may be listed on the garden gate, but you should also plan your visit when the garden is open, to speak with a garden member about getting involved.

Have more questions on how to support a garden on your block or in your neighborhood? Contact Green Guerillas at info@nycgreen.org or attend their annual meeting next Tuesday, April 24 from 6-8PM at the Community Church of New York.

And check out these Green Communities Fund grantee partners:



What's Happening Across Brooklyn

Here are a few highlights of news and events we’ve shared with our followers this week. Don’t miss a thing! Like us at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn and follow us at Twitter.com/DoGoodBklyn.

Calling All Nonprofits -- Brooklyn's Volunteers Need You!
The Brooklyn Community Foundation will launch a new Brooklyn-centric volunteer initiative this Spring at www.DoGoodRightHere.org. We'll be matching Brooklynites with volunteer opportunities at innovative nonprofits across our 70 neighborhoods. At this time, we're asking all nonprofits and community associations with volunteer needs to register on the site and post opportunities. To get started, email ereese@bcfny.org.

Prospect Park's B'Earthday
Celebrate Earth Day and the Audubon Center’s 10th Anniversary this Sunday, April 22. Enjoy nature games, tours, lakeshore clean-up, educational activities, performances and crafts. Details.

The Future is Sustainable
Join the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, April 26 to explore Brooklyn's sustainable future and present through highlighting exciting projects relying on renewable energy technologies from wind/solar powered lighting to geothermal heat featuring venues such as: Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Broadway Stages. Space is limited! Advance registration is requested by Tuesday, April 24. Register at www.ibrooklyn.com/sustainable.

Go Green! Greenpoint! Earth Day Festival
Join us on Saturday, May 5 in McCarren Park for a one-of-a-kind fun-filled community event complete with educational displays, health & wellness tips & demos, arts & crafts sold by artists, artisans, & craftsmen, children's activities, live music & performances, and more! 11AM - 5PM. More info here.