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GreenThumb Community Gardens

What is the GreenThumb Program?

Photo of a park

Established in 1978, GreenThumb remains the nation's largest urban gardening program, assisting 700 neighborhood groups in the creation and maintenance of community gardens aimed at increasing civic participation and encouraging neighborhood revitalization. GreenThumb was initiated in response to the city's severe financial crisis during the 1970s, which resulted in a serious loss of population and housing in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. A tremendous amount of public and private land was left vacant, adding an unattractive and unsafe element to these devastated communities.

What services does GreenThumb provide?

Photo of a park garden

The GreenThumb program, by providing the materials and technical support, turns neighborhood residents into GreenThumb gardners who through their volunteer efforts, transform derelict land into active and attractive community resources.

GreenThumb primarily serves communities through its technical support, general warehouse distribution, seasonal workshops, and small grants. The program is available only to registered GreenThumb gardens that have posted open hours and membership procedures.

Growing School and Youth Gardens in New York City: A Guide to Resources (PDF, 2.1MB)

What are the GreenThumb gardens?

The majority of GreenThumb garden communities are located in community planning districts that request and receive federal financial support for a combination of affordable housing, business development, and open space. As a result, active garden sites create a stable force in the community and serve as anchors for area re-development initiatives.

Who are the GreenThumb gardeners?

Photo of a woman in a garden

GreenThumb gardeners are interested in public safety, environmental quality, housing, and educational opportunities in their communities. GreenThumb gardeners either live or work near the garden and many are schoolteachers, students, retirees, local business owners, artists, and/or active community residents. Our staff estimates over half of the GreenThumb gardens are managed by community and block associations that are interested in improving their neighborhood through a compliment of open space, affordable housing, and economic development opportunities.

Did you know that GreenThumb is over 30 years old?

After thirty years, GreenThumb considers itself a success in responding to a crisis and making a positive contribution in our neighborhoods and in the lives of people that live and work there. What many people do not realize is that 40% of our current inventory is now comprised of permanent community garden resources in the City of New York. GreenThumb gardens have a track record of community involvement and accomplishment. Nearly 90% of GreenThumb gardens offer consistent public programming aimed at improving quality of life for residents of all ages.

Related Videos

Community Gardens on the Lower East Side

Related Links

GreenThumb website
Greenbelt Native Plant Center