Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 Division of Ag Development NYC Office
(718) 722-2891

Community Gardens

Community Gardens of New York State

The Community Gardens Program was created to support the thousands of New Yorkers who are building greener, healthier cities through community gardens, school gardens and educational farms.

Our mission is to help develop and sustain community gardens in New York by leveraging resources across state agencies.  This mission is based on Article 2-C of the Agriculture and Markets Law – Community Gardens (see back) mandating the Department of Agriculture & Markets:

  • Assist in the identification of vacant public land for community gardening purposes
  • Coordinate on behalf of interested community groups and state or local agencies to facilitate the use of vacant public lands for community gardens
  • Support and encourage networking among community garden programs around the state.

Through this program we also promote community gardening and urban agriculture, connect gardeners to resources in their communities, and help to identify supportive community and school gardening policies.

capital_district_comm_garden Source: Capital Roots, Albany, NY

Community gardens beautify city blocks. They provide needed green space in areas where public parks are scarce. Community gardeners grow nutritious fresh foods for their families, neighbors and nearby emergency food sites. Gardens and urban farms are centers of learning where children discover the natural world and find out where food comes from. Gardens are safe spaces for exercise in communities with poor access to physical activity outlets. These green spaces deliver environmental benefits such as reduced city heat, decreased storm water run-off, safer soil, and natural habitat for birds. And in gardens, residents of all ages from diverse backgrounds find common ground.

State law defines community gardens as "public or private lands upon which citizens of the state have the opportunity to garden on lands which they do not individually own." There are well over 1,000 registered or permitted community gardens in New York's cities and many more cases where residents have rescued derelict private or public lots in an effort to build more livable neighborhoods.