Liz Christy Garden
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Parks Announces Extension Of Community Garden License Agreements
On Monday, November 29, the Department of Parks & Recreation, partnering with the City Council, announced an extension of the license terms for Parks community gardens. Under the provisions of the prior 2002 agreement, Parks registered and licensed gardens every two years. Parks is pleased to announce that, beginning in January 2011, gardens will be registered and licensed for a period of four years.
“Community gardens with active citizen participation offer enormous benefits to New York City’s public health and quality of life,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The Parks Department shares the gardeners’ commitment to preserving these important open spaces and, through our GreenThumb division, we have been actively involved in the success of community gardens for decades. We are pleased to have worked with the City Council to extend the license term for gardens and to strengthen their protections.”
“As we continue to work for long term protections for community gardens, I commend the Parks Department for extending the terms of the licensing agreements,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This change, coming on the heels of the new rules, is another positive step in giving gardens greater protections. These will be the first licenses that will be in effect into the next Administration, so it underscores that these gardens are meant to endure, regardless of who is in office.”
“I am pleased that the Parks Department will extend the terms of license agreements for community gardeners to four years,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This is a common sense move that will continue to help preserve our city's gardens in the short term. I look forward to continuing to work with the Department to explore measures that will provide for stronger long-term protections. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Benepe for their continued commitment to preserving open spaces and Speaker Quinn for her leadership on the issue of community gardens.”
The new rules offer increased levels of transparency and more opportunities for the public to be a part of the process. Based on feedback we received from the garden community and others, the new rules contain provisions and language that were not in the original agreement:
• Active gardens are preserved as gardens as long as they are registered and licensed by the Department and are under Parks’ jurisdiction.
• Licenses will be renewed as long as the garden satisfies the registration criteria.
• Parks must attempt to identify successor gardening groups for failing gardens and has nine months from the time of default to return the garden to active status.
• New gardens may be created and will have the same protections as existing gardens.
• A party licensed by the City to perform work that results in damage to a garden will be required by these new rules to return the garden to its pre-existing condition.
• The Department of Parks will attempt to provide notices required under the current rules to gardeners in other languages.
Today, GreenThumb is the nation’s largest urban gardening program, providing assistance and support to over 600 gardens and nearly 20,000 garden members throughout the city. Community gardens account for over 32 acres of parkland in the city, larger than the Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn combined. Most community gardens are the size of a single lot (just a fraction of an acre), but there are a few – such as Liz Christy in lower Manhattan, that have blossomed into over one acre.
The GreenThumb helps groups purchase plants, provides materials such as tools and mulch, and offers technical assistance through educational workshops and programs. The sites are further beautified by local artists, either with murals or sculptural elements. GreenThumb also works with gardens on environmental initiatives such as capturing rainwater; it currently has 36 rainwater collection systems operating in gardens and has received funding to expand the program.
The best way to find out about community gardens in your neighborhood is to get out and find them; they’re all over! Gardens will post opening hours for members of the public interested in finding out what goes on or just wanting to enjoy a patch of green space in their neighborhood, and there are often outreach events at the gardens. Volunteer opportunities abound -- there is often a plot available for you to use should you decide to participate. For more information on community gardens, please visit the Parks website at www.nyc.gov/parks.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale,
you could not ignore its beauty.”
Directions to Liz Christy Garden
- Parks Announces Extension of Community Garden License Agreements