Brooklyn is home to almost 50 percent of New York City’s community gardens, and it looks like that number is about to go up! The Brooklyn Community Foundation, in support of Brooklyn gardeners and environmentalists, is offering micro grants to fund the creation and improvement of community gardens, parks, and other green spaces throughout the borough. The Foundation is funding 37 neighborhood groups with almost $15,000 from the Community Garden Fund.
“As a community foundation, one of our primary giving areas is Green Communities,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President Marilyn Gelber, in a press release. “Although Brooklyn has the lowest percentage of land devoted to parks in New York City, half of the city’s community gardeners are here and more than 70 percent of them live in low income neighborhoods. Our residents are motivated to improve the health of their communities, literally taking on this issue at the grassroots level, and we back their work wholeheartedly.”
The micro grants will also go towards funding for environmental and conservation educational programs in an effort to promote sustainability efforts in the city. Funding also comes from the Green Guerillas, a citywide organization that empowers community garden groups. The Green Guerillas have so far offered 29 grants ranging from $250 to $500. The grants will help purchase new tools, sheds, wheelbarrows, and chicken coops, as well as contribute to funding green events.
“We don’t really have a huge budget. Like most community gardens we depend on volunteers and donations,” said Jon Crow, a grant recipient from Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden. “We’ve been spending a lot of money on free standing gazebos over the years and this will allow us to build something sturdier and permanent that has the added environmental feature of being a water collector.”
The program is similar to other green efforts in the city by environmental groups to donate and rehabilitate community gardens throughout the boroughs. So far, the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s micro grants have been a huge success. The Foundation will announce more micro grant opportunities in the fall.
Photos © Flatbush Gardener