Since 1998, we have led the effort to preserve and enhance over 400 community gardens through art, education, grassroots organizing, legal, legislative and direct action.
The More Gardens! Coalition is a group of community people, community gardeners, and environmental and social justice activists, rooted in arts, promoting the development and preservation of community gardens as well as the cultivation of fallow land in New York City. We share information about community gardens with the public in order to raise awareness and engage people in both actual gardening and political activism. We organize individuals and groups to build an enduring infrastructure that provides direction and support for those engaged in the struggle for community gardens. By using fundamental democratic tools we work with communities in order to reclaim local government and eventually affect its highest levels.
What We've Achieved
- 1999: Stop the Auction! More Gardens! was formed in response to short-sighted plans to develop over 700 verdant NYC community gardens when 14,000 vacant lots existed. We asked for permanence and for creating more gardens. We participated in outreach, legal action and colorful protests at City Hall, preserving all 113 gardens put on auction into Trust for Public Land and New York Restoration Project.
- 1999-2000: Esperanza, Love & Hope in the Lower East Sida! We brought national attention to the other 500 endangered gardens, with a 6 month encampment in Esperanza Community Garden.
- 2001: The Referendum! More Gardens! created a 25,000-strong people’s referendum. This culminated in the successful settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General against the City of New York, permanently preserving 198 additional community gardens.
- 2001-Present: Melrose, South Bronx United Gardens! We have collaborated in five major encampments with the endangered gardens of the South Bronx. More Gardens! participated in the formation of the South Bronx United Gardeners. Our efforts have helped preserve 9 Melrose endangered community gardens and we are staying the course for the last 3 community gardens.
- 2004-Present: "Rise Up & Green the Bronx" free children Summer Camp. Presently based from Padre Plaza community garden, children play and volunteer in Bronx community gardens while learning about relationships within their communities, the environment, and with themselves. Our adventures last year took us on a composting expedition to the New York Botanical Garden, canoeing on the Bronx River, identifying butterflies at the Bronx Zoo, as well as the much anticipated overnight train camping adventure to Beacon, NY., a three-day trip to the Catskill forest and so much more. Our new additions of the amazing sacred geometry artist Claudia Montesinos and brilliant wilderness trainer Evan McGowan brought enormous magic and deep learning to the children (8-12), their families and both the youth and senior staff. Dedicated returning staff from the South Bronx community and parent volunteers gave invaluable help and support.
- 2005-07 Growing School Community Garden. Recognizing the need for youth to become actively involved in the community gardening movement, More Gardens! begins to work with teachers and students to create a school garden and gardening curriculum at CIS 303.
- 2006-Present: Harlem United Gardeners (HUG). El Barrio community gardens too are asking for environmental justice. More Gardens!, HUG, and their Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito have preserved seven endangered community gardens and working to preserve the remaining 6 threatened valuable gems.
- 2007-Present: Peas & Justice for all community garden! With the expiration of the community garden agreement in 2010, we are working alongside NYC Community Garden Coalition (nyccgc.org), Parks Council Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Mike Bloomberg to create legislation and policies to protect, preserve, and make more gardens!
- 2008-2010 La Finca del Sur. South Bronx Women of Color Urban Farm Cooperative. More Gardens! collaborated with women of color community gardeners in creation of a 3 acre urban farm.