Six Urban Gardening Groups Awarded Nearly $25,000 in Grants

May 20, 2009 at 1:05 am 1 comment

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets awarded $24,950 in one-time grants to six community gardens and gardening support groups in New York City.  In Brooklyn, grants totaling $14,950 were awarded to A Better Community Garden, the Linden-Bushwick Block Association, Phoenix Community Garden, and United Community Centers/East New York Farms!  Manhattan received the remaining $10,000, with Concrete Safaris and the New York City Community Gardens Coalition each awarded $5,000.

In addition, community garden organizations in Buffalo, Utica, Rochester and Syracuse received grants in the amount $23,300.  The grants, which were offered on a first come, first served basis, were awarded to community garden groups to help strengthen existing gardens. 

“Teaching people how to grow their own food and helping them understand how to prepare it are invaluable lessons, particularly in urban settings where production agriculture is not the norm,” said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker in a press release

Commissioner Hooker also recognized the need for access to healthy and affordable foods, especially, he said, “in these difficult economic times.”  The grants went to low-income neighborhoods in New York City that lack supermarkets, grocers and other purveyors of fresh food and vegetables. 

Urban community gardens help fill the void.  Take Phoenix Community Garden, a recipient of a $2,850 grant.  The 19,000-square-foot urban garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn — one of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods—last year harvested nearly 2,000 pounds of beans, corn, collards, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs and callaloo, a Caribbean favorite.  More than 45 community gardeners grow food crops there, helping to supplement what they buy in stores.  In addition to feeding themselves, the gardeners also contribute their harvest to a soup kitchen across the street.

What will Phoenix Community Garden do with the funds?  It will create a series of workshops on cooking, canning, herb gardening, composting and other topics for gardeners and area youth. 

Sounds like a very good investment, indeed…

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Entry filed under: Community Gardens, Local Food Production, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , , , , , .

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