In the 80’s and 90’s, community gardeners, green non-profits, and newly emerging local garden coalitions were fighting to save community gardens from destruction. New garden preservation strategies were put in place, generated in earlier days from the Mayor’s Open Space Task Force, which included long term leases, adjacent site status for some gardens, restricted auction, and reserve funds for purchasing threatened open spaces. One of these funds was the Garden and Park Preservation Fund, established in 1988 through a collaboration between the Trust for Public Land, GrowNYC, the Division of Real Property, the Green Guerillas and GreenThumb.
Many of the present day NYC community gardens were originally placed in these preservation categories.
Parque de Tranquilidad, on the Lower East Side, was in danger of being destroyed. After years of negotiating with public and private landowners, using resources from the Garden and Park Preservation Fund, it was bought and preserved by the Trust for Public Land.
Another example was the Amboy Neighborhood Garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn. It served as a child care center, making it a valued neighborhood resource. It was deemed worthy of being protected and was the first garden given adjacent site status, and thus exists to this day.
The 1100 Bergen Street Community Garden became the first well-known land trust site in NYC. With legal assistance and negotiating help from the Trust for Public Land, this block association purchased the garden property from the city for 10% of the real property market value.
Lorna Johnson from Bergen Street, Francoise Cachelin from Creative Little Garden, Anne Boster from Parque de Tranquilidad, Olean For from All People’s Garden, the late Penny Evans from Miracle Garden, and of course, Liz Christy, GrowNYC’s first Gardens Director, were just a few of the women and men who fought drug dealers in the 70’s and developers in the 90’s to ensure that future generations had these gardens to enjoy in 2017.
This fall GrowNYC will build its 100th community garden. To celebrate, we are sharing stories from GrowNYC gardening history!
But these stories are far from over…
You can help ensure that all New Yorkers have access to green space by making a donation today to GrowNYC's New Garden Fund.