Lots to Grow is a deep dive into New York City's community gardens, unique open spaces created and maintained by neighborhood volunteers. As NYC grows and develops, how are gardens and their caretakers adapting to the new challenges that come from neighborhood change? Through interviews with more than 35 individuals, New Yorkers for Parks catalogues the history of gardens, their present day functions, and how they are dealing with issues ranging from cultural clashes to losses of land to their complicated and sometimes temporary status.
Community gardens in New York City have existed since the 1970s fiscal crisis. Their cultural significance and services make them valuable to neighborhoods, but the initial agreements that allowed them to flourish have always kept them as temporary public spaces that can be replaced by other uses. Over time, advocates and elected officials have grappled with potential policies to establish a comprehensive solution to gardens’ vulnerability, but to date, no winning strategy has emerged. On this episode of Lots to Grow, we explore the different policies that have been suggested, hear what gardeners envision for the future, and discuss what anyone can do to get involved.
As volunteer-run temporary spaces, community gardens are constantly contending with issues that could result in their destruction. From the public’s basic misunderstanding of what they are to cultural clashes between volunteers to the loss of access to their garden's land, New York City’s gardeners must be flexible, responsive, and quick to adapt. On this episode of Lots to Grow, we explore the different challenges community gardens face as the demand for land and housing increase in the ever-changing landscape of New York City.
Community gardens in New York City serve the public in a variety of intersecting ways. From providing greenery and increased property values to enhancing social networks and ecological resiliency, they are strong models for open community space. Despite this, they exist in temporary status, and their volunteer caretakers struggle to prove their worth in measurable terms. How do gardens create impact and how can their volunteer caretakers prove it? On the second episode of Lots to Grow, we explore community gardens’ current functions and the research that captures their value.
New York City suffered an economic crisis in the 1970s. Residents took over vacant lots, where buildings had burned, and transformed them into gardens. For decades, these gardens flourished as healthy spaces cherished by their communities, cared for exclusively by volunteers. In 1999, 114 gardens were listed for auction by Mayor Giuliani, which made all gardeners reckon with the temporary status of their gardens and mobilize citywide. In the first episode of Lots to Grow, we explore this history and how the dramatic protests gardeners launched affected gardens citywide.
Coming July 24, 2019 - a podcast about gardens and communities in New York City by New Yorkers for Parks. Featured in this teaser are the voices of Greg Anderson, Gil Lopez, Kofi Thomas, Sara Jones, and Jessica Saab. The song is "The Garden State" by Audiobinger.