Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
   
Jessica A. Chittenden
518-457-3136
jessica.chittenden@agriculture.ny.gov


April 17, 2009

Commissioner Announces $48,000 for Community Gardens

11 Grants Divided Between Upstate and Downtown to Strengthen Gardens

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced $48,250 to help strengthen eleven community gardens. These one-time grants will help enhance existing community gardens by helping build their membership, awareness and educational activities.

“Community gardens are an incredible asset to any neighborhood, and these funds will help increase the capacity of our community garden programs across the state,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “These gardens serve two valuable roles. Primarily, they increase awareness of the importance of buying local foods, helping to reduce the need to ship food thousands of miles, cutting pollution and our dependence on traditional fossil fuel sources. Secondly, community gardens promote healthy eating, reducing our healthcare costs and improving the quality of life for New Yorkers.”

Commissioner Hooker said, “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. Governor Paterson recognizes the need for access to healthy and affordable foods, especially during these difficult economic times, and these grants will help eleven communities gardens expand their programs so they can reach and teach more New Yorkers of the benefits and bounties of growing their own fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The grants were made available to cities with populations of 45,000 people or more, and offered on a first come, first served basis. Cities in both upstate and downstate applied for funds to help enhance their existing community garden through marketing and publicity materials, educational seminars for targeted audiences, or strategic planning.

Each eligible recipient could receive up to $5,000. The funding for this program was divided between upstate and downstate with five upstate gardens receiving a total of $23,300 and six downstate gardens receiving $24,950.

A community garden is a public piece of land worked by an organized group of people, and owned either by a local government or nonprofit organizations. They provide green space in urban areas and encourage food production by providing gardeners a place to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers. Community gardens also provide a sense of community, neighborhood beautification and a unique connection to the environment. There are an estimated 10,000 community gardens within U.S. cities, with more than 1,000 in New York State alone.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets has a community gardens program that assists interested gardeners in accessing public land, coordinates and promotes community gardening and urban agriculture, connects gardeners to resources in their communities, and develops community and school gardening policies and programs. For more information on this grant program and other community gardening programs, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Markets at 1-800-554-4501 or http://www.agriculture.ny.gov.

As part of New York’s commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Governor Paterson continues to demonstrate a clear commitment to clean air, clean water, healthy communities, fighting climate change, and promoting renewable energy policies. He is a vocal advocate for clean water investments and “greening” state government. The Governor’s specific achievements include the New York’s historic participation and leadership role in addressing global warming with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and accomplishing what previous Governors could not by getting the Legislature to finally pass the Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill. And by pushing the state towards an ambitious but achievable 45 x 15 clean energy goal, Governor Paterson has set New York on a path to become the global leader in the clean energy economy, creating green jobs, boosting the economy and protecting the environment.

 

Community Garden Organization Capacity Building Grant Program
Award List and Project Descriptions

UPSTATE GARDENS

Curtis Urban Farm Foundation (Buffalo)................................................................... $4,800
Will hire a consultant to prepare a five-year development and funding strategy that will help take its garden to the next level.

For the Good, Inc. (Utica).............................................................................................. $5,000
Will provide training workshops to gardeners to teach the stages of agricultural progression, including preserving, canning and drying produce.

Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo...................................................................................... $5,000
Will develop marketing materials to increase participation in their community programs, in the form of financial support, volunteerism and participation in their education program.

Pathstone Corporation (Rochester)............................................................................... $4,000
Will partner with Cornell Cooperative Extension to develop workshops teaching community gardeners how to properly preserve and store fruits and vegetables grown in their gardens.

Syracuse Grows............................................................................................................... $4,500
Will hire a consultant to aid their advisory committee in developing a strategic plan and provide community organizing training for their community gardeners.

DOWNSTATE GARDENS

A Better Community Garden (New York City)..................................................... $2,100
Will create a workshop series entitled “Save the Harvest” to increase members’ knowledge of and experience with food preservation techniques.

Concrete Safaris (New York City).......................................................................... $5,000
Will develop outreach materials and an instructional program to teach children in East Harlem how to grow vegetables and how to operate a farmstand at their garden.

Linden-Bushwick Block Association (New York City) ........................................ $5,000
Will produce four community outreach events, each involving a healthy food demonstration, a gardener workshop and a family/children’s activity.

New York City Community Gardens Coalition..................................................... $5,000
Will design a website, brochures and action leaflets to help promote and inform citizens and public officials about their mission to preserve and protect their community gardens.

Phoenix Community Garden (New York City) ..................................................... $2,850
Will create series of workshops for gardeners and area youth that will include topics such as healthy cooking, cooking with herbs, canning, herb gardening and composting.

United Community Centers/East New York Farms! Project (Brooklyn)............ $5,000
Will hire a consultant to train for gardeners to work with children in their gardens, and will also create signage to help advertise and inform the public about their children’s garden.

TOTAL FUNDS AWARDED.............................................................................. $48,250


2009 Press Releases