Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

NYCHA Gardeners: The Best People on Earth!

NYCHA Gardeners: The Best People on Earth. Sounds like a marketing slogan. It isn’t but it should be. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable day with New York City Housing Authority gardeners and residents at the 13 Annual NYCHA Garden Conference at the James Weldon Johnson Houses in Harlem, USA on April 15, 2016. It’s a shame some folks stereotype, pigeonhole and otherwise see the world through the wrong glasses. They miss the world’s wonderful diversity. Life is often like being on the roadside with a flat tire. Your circumstances aren’t the best but that doesn’t mean there aren’t flowers by the road or they are less beautiful than those in a meadow in Martha’s Vineyard.

NYCHA gardeners have discovered that. They value their gardens and lavish them with love and attention in the midst of urban difficulties that would turn hair grey. Hundreds of NYCHA resident gardeners attended the 10 workshops during the day on How to Grow a Winning Garden to How to Improve Garden Soil or talked to the various vendors offering green services and information from composting to healthy eating. Unilever, one of this year’s sponsors, was proud to present their Growing Roots NYC Program and their chef and cooking crew prepared a very tasty Pasta Primavera.

The NYCHA Garden Program has reached a robust 54 years and is the longest running NYCHA initiative. With approximately 700 resident gardens in the 5 boroughs, NYCHA makes quite a statement to their commitment to on-the-ground resident involvement especially when communities struggles with balancing healthy eating and nutritious food with diabetes and growing numbers of inactive and overweight children.

Gardening is one of the most effective ways you can teach Environmental Education and combat community health issues (repeat that 3 times to yourself). The face of gardening is certainly tomatoes, collards, butterflies and sunflowers but the stuff behind the scenes addresses responsible land use, pesticides, soil science, urban agriculture, exercise, diet and disease. All that with a garden salad and a glass of ice tea on a sunny Saturday afternoon. That’s tough to top but that Urban Education Example (UEE) is repeated over and over again throughout the city and, in particular, NYCHA.

I’m glad to be a NYCHA Community Greener. I enjoy working with NYCHA residents and helping them to further develop the pride they already have in their homes and gardens. I look forwards to this year’s great events. I was able to take photographs when not running my workshop on How to Create a Winning Garden. You can find the links below for my presentation, photos of the gardeners and the Green City Force.

How to Create a Winning Garden
NYCHA Garden Conference 2016
Green City Force @ NYCHA Garden Conference 2016
Unilever Growing Roots Program

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About Community Greens

It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.

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Chuck Vasser

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There are more of us people of color out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our concerns, ideas and sit at the table!

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Upcoming Events

  • MLK Day of Service at Seton Falls Park January 21, 2019 at 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Seton Falls Park, at the intersection of Crawford Avenue and Palmer Avenue
  • Green Worker Co-ops: Special Co-op Academy Graduation, Bronx 1/31/19 January 31, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm The Point CDC - 940 Garrison Avenue - Theater - Bronx, NY 10474 For details, link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/green-worker-co-ops-special-co-op-academy-graduation-bronx-13119-tickets-54656768867
  • Bissel Gardeners Meeting February 2, 2019 at 10:00 am – 11:00 am Veterans Garden-Propagation
  • Volunteer @ Bissel Gardens February 9, 2019 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Veterans Garden-Propagation
  • Crazy for Composting February 16, 2019 at 10:00 am – 3:00 pm New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458, USA Saturday, February 16; 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–3 p.m.
  • 25th Annual Bronx Parks Speak Up February 23, 2019 at 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Bronx Speak Up Bronx Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces

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Green Tips!

Bee proactive!

A few things you can do to help keep bees healthy:

  • plant different flowers that bloom throughout the season for the bees;

    • native plants and other perennials

    • bloom colors of yellow, white,  blue, and purple

  • watch for neonicotinoid-free note on plant tags- some tags will claim that insecticides were used for ‘your plant’s health’ (but NOT for the bees!)

  • leave the blossoms until they expire

  • plant plants with fragrant flowers with a long bloom season

  • consider early blooming plants for bees that have had little nourishment over the winter

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Email

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