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Press Releases

Thursday, September 21, 2017
No. 102


Community gardens go head-to-head for the title of Best Okra, Best Herb Bouquet and more

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchel J. Silver, FAICP, joined hundreds community gardeners from across the city on Saturday at NYC Parks’ GreenThumb Harvest Fair at Brooklyn Bears Pacific Garden. Community gardeners from all five boroughs brought their most prized vegetables, flowers, jams, honey and herbs to be judged by a panel of garden gurus.

“I’m thrilled to see my home borough of Brooklyn taking home so many blue ribbons this year,” said Commissioner Silver. “This is one of my favorite annual events because our community gardeners get to show off their hard work and also be recognized for making our city a greener place. We have more than 550 community gardens in the city, helping to improve air quality, bio–diversity, and the well–being of New Yorkers.”

First-place winners include:


  • McKinley’s Children’s Garden: Best Tasting Tomato (Wajeedah Anderson-Beyah); Largest Squash by Length (Fareed Beyah)


  • Taqwa Community Farm: Largest Squash by Weight; Largest Tomato; Best Zucchini Squash (all Mohamad Rahman)
  • El Batey El Borincano: Best Looking Tomato; Best Beans; Best Cucumber; Best Okra; Best Marigold; Best Sunflower; Best Zinnia (all Heron Velazquez)


  • Maggie’s Magic Garden: Best Honey; Best Jam; Best Garden Bouquet (all Maria Murrio); Best Summer Squash (Rafael Nutis)
  • Garden of Perseverance: Best Hot Peppers (Owen Kennedy)


  • Clifton Place Memorial Park and Garden: Best Honey (Melvin Foster)
  • Phoenix Community Garden: Best Pickles (Mark Leger); Best Herb Bouquet; Best Cherry Tomatoes (both Marcia Denson)
  • Upon This Ruck Community Garden: Best Eggplant; Best Sweet/Bell Pepper; Best Rose; Best Bountiful Basket (all Tiffany Mitchell)
  • Nehemiah Ten Block Association Garden: Best Greens (Soheir Hassan)
  • Prospect Heights Community Farm: Best Dahlia (Traci Nottingham)

Tracy Nottingham of Prospect Heights Community Farm was also crowned the new Fresh Chef as the winner of the GreenThumb Fresh Chef competition. Ten contestants from the five boroughs competed on-site to whip up the most delicious dish with ingredients picked from various community gardens. Tracy made a Ginger Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad with Apple, Radish and Feta.

GreenThumb is an arm of NYC Parks, which oversees more than 550 community gardens across the city. GreenThumb was created in response to the city’s financial crisis of the 1970s, which resulted in the abandonment of public and private land. The majority of GreenThumb gardens were formerly derelict, vacant lots renovated by volunteers. GreenThumb provides these gardens with material support, operational support and workshops.

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