Photo: NYC Parks
GreenThumb renovated, rebuilt, and expanded 21 community gardens; added 1,425 linear feet of accessible paths in 16 community gardens; and engaged thousands of New Yorkers in environmental stewardship activities
FY23 PlayFair funding contributed to over 40 upgraded community gardens, continued rat abatement services, new garden toolkits, and more
As New Yorkers prepare to turn the page on the past year, NYC Parks GreenThumb is taking a moment to look back and celebrate a successful 2022 community gardening season. Over the past year, GreenThumb has taken major strides to increase garden accessibility, connectivity, and food production, having renovated, rebuilt, and expanded 21 community gardens throughout the city, including eight “GreenThumb Community Gardens at NYCHA” projects; installed 290 raised garden beds for food production; and added 1,425 linear feet of accessible paths in 16 community gardens. This year, a major focus of the department was volunteerism, and GreenThumb delivered by organizing and hosting 44 volunteer days and 93 workshops, including 5 intensive training series attended by almost 3,000 participants.
“GreenThumb community gardens are essential to New York City, and we are so proud of the work our team has put in this past year to enhance the efforts of our dedicated gardeners,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Dotting our cityscape, these urban oases provide expanded avenues to access greenspace for New Yorkers, central to our mission at Parks. We are committed to the preservation and betterment of our gardens, and we will continue to champion their success into the future.”
“Big congratulations to NYC Parks GreenThumb Director Carlos Martinez and his team on another banner year facilitating resources, educational programming, and hope for the over 550 community gardens that call New York City home,” said Qiana Mickie, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture. “From community gardens, to NYCHA gardens, to trainings and apprenticeship programs, GreenThumb makes a difference every day in helping New Yorkers to find and connect with green space within their urban landscape. We at the Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture look forward to working with Carlos and the GreenThumb team in helping to ensure that NYC is an ever more hospitable place for community gardens, and gardeners, to live and thrive.”
“For decades, New York City has been fertile ground for the ever-growing community garden movement. GreenThumb is a proud partner with hundreds of volunteer community groups across the city stewarding places that strengthen our neighborhoods,” said NYC Parks GreenThumb Director Carlos Martinez. “These timely and critical investments amplify the social and environmental benefits provided by 554 community gardens. GreenThumb is committed to continue sustaining this citywide network of land stewards. Together, we are cultivating safer, healthier, and more resilient communities.”
PlayFair funding played a key role in the expansion of the GreenThumb budget, allowing it to expand services and staff in support of garden groups in 2022. Eleven non-baselined staff were added, over 40 gardens received new upgraded fences, 190 gardens received dedicated rat abatement services, and 39 storage solutions, including toolsheds, shelving units, and job boxes were provided.
In 2022, GreenThumb continued to support gardens and dedicated gardeners with supplies, technical assistance, and needed upgrades. Over the course of the year, GreenThumb delivered over 3,000 cubic yards of garden material, including soil, compost, woodchips, and mulch; distributed nearly 70,000 vegetable and native species starts, seed packages, and pollinator plants; and distributed over 4,500 gardening tools to Greenthumb gardens across the city.
“The Parks Department has been an invaluable partner in expanding access to open spaces and providing environmental stewardship opportunities to NYCHA residents,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “The ‘GreenThumb Community Gardens at NYCHA’ program has been a vital initiative in spurring beautification efforts at public housing campuses and connecting residents of all ages to healthy outdoor activities. We look forward to continuing this partnership to bring more community gardens to the Authority in the years to come.”
“The success of the GreenThumb program shows the kind of transformative results that the city can deliver for New Yorkers when we invest properly in parks and open space,” said Adam Ganser, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “Expanding the NYC Parks GreenThumb budget was an important FY23 priority for the Play Fair coalition and we are thrilled to see the funding help address urgent needs in community gardens across the city — boosting accessibility, food production and volunteer support for our parks in the process.”
Established in 1978, NYC Parks GreenThumb is proud to be the nation’s largest urban gardening program, sustaining more than 550 gardens and supporting 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.
For more information about NYC Parks GreenThumb, visit: nyc.gov/parks/greenthumb.