Students in The Nature Conservancy’s youth program build urban farm in East New York
The Nature Conservancy, East New York Farms!, NYC Parks GreenThumb, GrowNYC, 596 Acres, ioby and New York City Community Garden Coalition have partnered to transform a long-neglected lot in East New York into a thriving green space for residents to enjoy. On Saturday, 30 volunteers, including 10 local high school students and former interns in the Conservancy’s youth leadership program, Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF), joined together in planting the new edible community garden at 601 Warwick St.
The Warwick Community Garden planting is part of the Conservancy’s initiative to address urban environmental issues. The Conservancy is working with governments and organizations across the country, including those in New York City, to make cities more livable for all residents.
The 10 students represent the inaugural class of the Conservancy’s LEAF Ambassadors Program, which builds upon the education in environmental stewardship the students gained as LEAF interns the previous summer. With guidance from Conservancy staff and LEAF alumni Blaze Jones-Yellin and Josh Carrera, the students coordinated the Warwick Community Garden planting project, which served as a graduation ceremony. The students also led the fundraising efforts. Earlier in the spring, they prepared the site for planting by weeding and collecting trash.
“One of our goals is to increase opportunities for young people to volunteer on behalf of their environment where they live and to take action that supports conservation and the environment right in their own communities,” said Blaze Jones-Yellin, LEAF Eastern Region coordinator at The Nature Conservancy.
LEAF Ambassadors and youth leaders from the East New York Farms! youth program worked together to plant seedlings and to install raised garden beds, a water catchment system, a compost bin and benches. East New York Farms!, which stewards dozens of local community gardens, will manage the Warwick Community Garden moving forward.
The Warwick Community Garden was the result of nine months of planning and coordination between the organizations. As a NYC Parks GreenThumb community garden, the Warwick Community Garden will continue to receive support from GreenThumb’s community gardening program, the largest in the nation. The majority of the seedlings were donated by East New York Farms! and urban agriculture pioneer Gotham Greens.
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