In the Fall of 2019, Carver Community Garden was awarded a LOVE YOUR BLOCK grant provided by the Citizens Committee of New York City. This grant offered funds in exchange for groups looking to engage within their community for a project that somehow benefited a city block. Our garden group decided to build two flower boxes around trees on our sidewalk. This was to spread the beauty of the garden beyond the front gates of our space so that everyone can enjoy. We also created a trash cleanup schedule to keep litter clean and continue to keep the block looking nice for years to come.
As grant recipients, Carver gardeners were given priority access to several city services including tree surveys and mulch delivery from the Department of Parks and Recreation, bike rack or speed bump installation from Department of Transportation, and bulk trash pickup from the Department of Sanitation.
The original work day was scheduled for June 27th, 2020. Once Covid-19 struck NYC in mid-March, we were forced to delay not just the working day but our entire garden membership season. After much reworking and restructuring of the original plan, we decided to reschedule our project for late August.
Instead of creating a working day devoted solely to that project, we broke all of the activities into smaller working days over the course of 6 weeks to provide for proper distancing and other safety concerns. It turned out to be such a great success and allowed for many more people to participate than if we had only done the work on a single day. In advance we had children paint flower murals on our flower boxes, volunteers prepare everything from the tree beds to the soil and perennials to be planted.
On the official work day in August, we invited the U.S. Census to set up a table to register and provide information to the local community. We harvested apples from our trees and distributed to passersby. We also provided 100 free face masks as part of the grant funding. Overall, the experience was a wonderful opportunity to engage not just with the members of our garden, but with the entire neighborhood. We had so many people stopping by to tell us stories of the block and some who just wanted to help out with our project. In these times when the gardens aren’t as accessible to the public as they once were, it feels nice to be able to spread some beauty and care to our block.
Manhattan Land Trust is proud to showcase the work and love that all our gardeners put into beautifying both the gardens and their neighborhood. Congratulations Carver Community Garden!
To help gardeners continue this amazing work please consider donating to Manhattan Land Trust.