GreenThumb provides programming and material support to over 500 community gardens in New York City. Workshops, which are the access point for supplies, are held every month of the year, covering gardening basics to more advanced farming and community organizing topics. Located in five boroughs in the city, some community spaces are used for agriculture others for botanical gardens. These community gardens, managed by neighborhood residents, provide important green space, thus improving air quality, bio–diversity, and the well–being of residents.
GreenThumb was initiated 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 derelict vacant lots renovated by volunteers. Since 1995 it has been a program of the New York City Parks Department.
EDITORS NOTE: The largest urban gardening program in US, Green Thumb shows how urban movement and community action can drive environmental policy and become good practice in maintaining neglected spaces.