Steal With Pride (Part 3): Community Gardens

Posted at June 17, 2011 by Comments Off

New York Restoration Project (NYRP):

Community gardening has a long history in New York City – dating back to the economic depressions of the 1890s and 1930s when many citizens were permitted to grow food on city-owned land to help sustain their struggling families. Two World Wars brought about Liberty and Victory Gardens not only in New York City, but in municipalities throughout the United States. During World War II, American families grew 80 million pounds of food in their Victory Gardens – representing an astounding 44 percent of the country’s entire food supply. However, most urban gardening efforts were abandoned as precipitating crises passed. Sustained community gardening in New York City grew from the activism of the 1960s, spurred by burgeoning environmental movements and the fiscal woes of the mid-1970s – laying deep roots that endure to the present.

Today, New York City is home to more than 700 community gardens…

Community gardens in New York City have been part of a progressive approach to land-use politics and have often created a valuable community space out of otherwise under utilized or vacant land. In South Florida, they have been used to revitalize downtrodden areas of the city like Overtown or Little Haiti. In many cases, they are a result of residents coming together to form coalitions to better their neighborhoods and lives.

According to the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA), community gardens improves people’s quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, beautifying neighborhoods, producing nutritious food, reducing family food budgets, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.



In my view, community gardens are the ultimate ode to the concept of self-made or never-made. So why not start small, at a place near you? Click here for more resources on how to start your very own community garden. Have you already started one locally? E-mail us at We would like to interview YOU about your experience.


Community Gardening Resources NYC:

  1. Grow NYC: Is a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
  2. Oasis NYC:  The Open Accessible Space Information System(OASIS) website provides the richest source of community maps for New York City — free and all in one place. It helps nonprofits, community groups, educators, students, public agencies, and local businesses develop a better understanding of their environment with interactive maps of open spaces, property information, transportation networks, and more.
  3. Green Thumb NYC: GreenThumb provides programming and material support to over 500 community gardens in New York City. Workshops, which are the access point for supplies, are held every month of the year, covering gardening basics to more advanced farming and community organizing topics.
  4. NYC CGC: Founded in 1996, it is the mission of the New York City Community Garden Coalition to promote the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.
  5. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation:
  6. New York Restoration Project: New York Restoration Project (NYRP) carries out Founder Bette Midler’s dream of a cleaner, greener New York City. To that end, NYRP restores, revitalizes and develops under-resourced parks and community gardens throughout the city’s five boroughs, working to ensure that every New York City resident, family and neighborhood has access to vibrant, green spaces. By providing enriching educational and community programming, NYRP also works to instill both individual and civic respect for nature and responsibility for contributing to New York City’s environmental sustainability.

Community Gardening Resources in South Florida:

  1. Architecture for Humanity: Architecture for Humanity was created with a mission to bring design, construction and development services to communities in need through a global network of building professionals. Since 2007, the local chapter of Architecture for Humanity, founded by Jennifer Siqueira, has working actively to engage the local community and to bring these services to South Florida. Their VG10x10 Initiative aims at creating vegetable gardens, aka Victory Gardens, to under served communities.
  2. Slow Food Miami: Slow Food Miami embraces local growers and artisan food makers who use sustainable methods, pay fair wages and respect our environment.  All proceeds from Slow Food Miami events are used to implement local school and community gardens.
  3. Green South Miami: The South Miami Green Task Force is a citizen’s group charged with advising, and recommending strategies, policies and initiatives to the City Commission on sustainability. The Task Force meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at 7:00 PM in the South Miami Commission Chamber.    Public lectures are scheduled for the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:00.  All are welcome to attend the lectures and the meetings.
  4. Roots in the City: We are a non-profit organization dedicated to community development, jobs training, inner-city beautification, healthy eating initiatives, and community research.
  5. Urban Oasis Project: This group asks South Florida to re-think the lawn and plant vegetable gardens, fruit trees, butterfly gardens, and plants which attract pollinators, birds, and wildlife. Our vision is a city with yard after yard of lush growth producing food for all.


 Steal With Pride (Part 3): Community Gardens

Related posts:

  1. Steal with Pride: Notes from a weekend in New York City
  2. Steal with Pride (Part 2): Bicycle Infrastructure
  3. Steal with Pride (Part1): Indie Book Stores
Category : Urbanism
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