Rainwater Harvesting

No natural resource is more important to community gardeners than water, and identifying and ensuring a dependable source is vital to every garden's success.

Faced with a drought in the summer of 2001 that restricted gardener access to hydrants, GrowNYC and GreenThumb founded the Water Resources Group to promote and fine-tune the idea of water conservation. For our efforts, GrowNYC's rainwater harvesting team received an Environmental Excellence Award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

There are more than 140 rainwater harvesting systems in New York City community gardens, collecting over 1.5 million gallons of rainwater a year from nearby roofs or shade structures, making water collection convenient for gardeners, and reducing demand on the public water supply system. They also help mitigate rainstorm runoff, which can overload storm drains and pollute the waters surrounding the city.

Interested in having a system in your community garden? Contact us or read our How-To Guide and build your own!

Rainwater Harvesting Resources

In a moment where New Yorkers have turned to parks and gardening to ease the mental and emotional strain the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on residents, when the need for education surrounding nutrition and health couldn’t be more critical, the same nonprofits that make green space and nutrition education possible are in danger of going under, while vital city agencies like the New York City Parks Department’s GreenThumb program are facing severe budget cuts.

  • Food Access & Agriculture

    Our network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Youthmarkets, Fresh Food Box pick-ups, and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Conservation

    We provide food scrap drop-offs, clothing collections, Stop 'N' Swap® community reuse events, and zero waste trainings to make resource conservation easy for all.

  • Green Space

    We build and rejuvenate community & school gardens in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Education

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 66,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.