urban green spaces and technologies
Growing a gardening program for older adults: case study and lessons learned. A multicultural, multifaith, intergenerational, 100% organic community garden takes hold in New York City—and learns to evolve. By Barbara Denson, BA
Residents of Healthy Communities Initiative neighborhoods prioritize a more secure and healthier environment in which to raise their families and to plan for the future sustainability of their larger community. Bound by waterways and highways, Upper Manhattan and the NW Bronx face limited growth opportunities in a confined space where land is a rare commodity. As such, creative solutions are explored to work with existing resources. Urban gardens are an important tool for achieving many of the activities that pull together highly functioning communities. All of our partner community garden programs bring “hidden faces” to our public spaces.
OUR GREEN TECH AGRICULTURE INITIATIVES:
Rainwater Harvesting is the accumulating and storing of rain into large collection tanks that provide important researves during drought and extreme heat. Harvesting of this free water source provides 600 gallons of low-impact drip irrigation to the Schervier Community Garden. The garden has two seperate tanks. The first collects rainfall through an existing downspout harvesting roof accumulation. The second tank is housed under a custom-built 200 square foot shade structure makes it possible collect without exsisting downspouts. Both methods of havesting make important ecological and economic contributions to availability of water and preservation of crops. Our 300-gallon tanks built in partnership with GrowNYC: Rainwater Harvesting will significantly reduce our reliance on spickets. Our partnership also ensures environmental job training for local talent like NYC Parks: Green Apple Corp.
OASIS (GIS) Mapping: Calculating Productivity of NYC Gardens
Several of our gardens are registered partners of Farming Concrete a community-based research project to measure how much food is grown in New York City’s community gardens. Calculating the area, weight, and monetary value of food grown in community gardens will highlight these spaces as a critical land use in New York City and will help define the place of community gardening in the fabric of the urban food system. It looks at the yield of a small raised bed in NYC, determines how many of our gardens might actually be considered farms in the national agricultural census, and ensures that we pay homage to the hard work and dedication of community gardeners over the last several decades who have truly made the success of urban agriculture possible today. Hundreds of gardens mapped areas under production, measured total acreage, and tracked harvest volume by crop. Follow NYC’s harvest using the OASIS Open Source interactive map.
Certified Organic Composting Learning Sites
Van Cortlandt Park Community Garden and Schervier Community Garden are fully certified learning sites for organic composting. In addition to traditional methods, our gardens are investing in bin and worm techniques.
In 2011, the Schervier Community Garden produced 3600 pounds or 1 ¾ tons of organic compost used to grow nutritious foods for our Bronx communities!
Vermicomposting (or worm compost)
Bon Secours regularly hosts Worm Bins Made Easy, a free-of-charge public workshop introducing urban apartment dwellers to the world of indoor composting. Vermicomposting is produced by feeding kitchen scraps and shredded newspaper to worms. It is one of several different methods of composting. This hands-on session teaches the essentials of indoor composting with worms, ideal for those who want to compost scraps but do not have access to an outdoor space. Participants “adopt” a dozen worms in a mini-bin made of recycled materials and receive a discount coupon toward the purchase of a larger system from the Union Square Greenmarket. The class is provided by The NYC Compost Project. For more information download; NYC Composting Workshops.