Since 1996, the New York City Community Garden Coalition has promoted the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing. NYCCGC is the only organization in New York City by and for community gardeners, who often live in low-income communities of color that face disproportionate environmental justice and health challenges.
NYCCGC is excited to announce that we are the recipient of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) to undertake a feasibility study for stormwater capture best practices within the community gardens of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The study – Gardens Rising - will combine community based participation with engineering expertise, to develop a green infrastructure study and Master Plan to increase the permeability and stormwater capture within forty-seven neighborhood/community gardens located in Lower Manhattan.
This is a two-phase project, the first phase is to develop a Master Plan. The Master Plan will combine the best of landscape design, engineering and creative thinking with cost effectiveness and sustainable practices. The Master Plan will be approved by October 2016 and will end phase one. The second phase is the implementation the Master Plan and construction must be completed by September 2019.
In general, the Master Plan will examine the feasibility, costs, benefits and impacts of proposed stormwater capture locations and methods to increase permeability and green space in the neighborhood gardens to better absorb stormwater and runoff. The Study Area is roughly bounded by 14th Street on the north, the East River on the east, Delancey Street on the south, and the Bowery/Fourth Avenue on the west, and is home to forty-seven (47) gardens measuring approximately seven (7) acres.
The majority of the gardens reside within an area that was severely flooded during Superstorm Sandy and many were impacted directly by the storm. When completed the Plan will identify projects that will implement green infrastructure and stormwater capture systems to better outfit these gardens and neighborhoods. Each garden has its own governance and will be able to propose specific projects inside and adjacent to their lot(s). Flood Zone geography dictates areas that must be given priority.
Gardens Rising is a community based operation, all decisions will ultimately be made by the gardeners affected, gardens can choose to participate or not. A Steering Committee of gardeners will be elected and make the final determinations as to the Master Plan.
This as a huge step forward for our community gardens, which are finally being recognized as a vital environmental asset. It puts community gardens at the center of the greening movement in New York City. We intend to parlay this grant into other funding to build other sustainable systems throughout the five boroughs and become a Green Lab for the City.
NYCCGC envisions this as seed money to attract more greening programs and grants into our community. Gardens Rising should be interwoven with permaculture, solar energy, rat abatement policies, composting practices, citizen science, and other ideas and practices that will evolve with this process.
NYCCGC plans to formally announce Gardens Rising on November 2nd. At this time, we are seeking several qualified individuals to fill various positions related to this project.