There are more than 600 community gardens in NYC. Each garden is independently managed by a group of volunteers. There is no central clearinghouse for connecting volunteers with gardens and there is no standard "application" process. Some gardens have long waiting lists, while others are looking for volunteers.
Although BQLT is the overall landowner and steward of 34 community gardens in the two boroughs, each garden is independently managed by a group of volunteers. BQLT is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization. BQLT is a membership organization with a unique structure where the gardens are the members and garden representatives act on behalf of their gardens in an official capacity either on the BQLT board or as voting members. BQLT has launched an affiliate garden program, and now stewards two additional community gardens.
BQLT gardens are open spaces that provide opportunities for diverse groups of people to meet and cooperatively work together, as well as engaging in educational, cultural and arts activities. Most gardens grow vegetables and fruits that provide nutritious meals. Summers are filled with fish fries, Independence Day cookouts, jazz concerts, and art exhibits. Gardens are used as open space classrooms by local schools, meeting spaces, celebrations and memorials.
BQLT gardens are located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Ditmas Park,East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Queens gardens are in the neighborhoods of Cambria Heights, Corona, East Elmurst and Jamaica. Gardens cannot be sold or developed and by law are permanently saved as open spaces.
We encourage you to become a garden member. It is a great way to: meet your neighbors and build community; improve the local environment; gain access to fresh locally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs. And much more ...Three Steps to Join a Garden
Warning: This may not be an easy process and will definitely require a fair amount of work on your part. However, if you stick to it you will certainly be rewarded.
1. Visit http://oasisnyc.org/map.aspx.Identifying the Gardens in Your Area Visit http://oasisnyc.org/map.aspx. Although this website has its limitations, it is still the best map of NYC’s community gardens available online.
2. Visit the Gardens Take a walk to visit all the gardens you identified. The best time to walk around will be on weekends or evenings when garden members are likely to be out gardening, weather permitting. If gardeners are inside – go in and introduce yourself. Ask them to tell you about their garden and give you a tour. Offer to help out in some way. That will demonstrate your commitment as well as give you a chance to see what it is like to garden there. Ask about their membership policy and how to join. If the garden is locked – look for a sign that lists that garden’s regularly scheduled open hours. Try to return at a time when the garden is open so that you can meet the gardeners. Also, look for a sign with a phone number for a garden contact that you may be able to reach.
3. Sign Up & Be Flexible Every garden has its own membership and dues policy, plots procedures, etc. The best way to get involved is to meet the gardeners directly and have them explain to you how things work at that garden. Just as every NYC neighborhood is unique, so is every community garden. Being flexible in what you can do to work with the garden and its current members will make your experience a more lasting one.
If you have completed all of the above steps and still have been unable to contact the gardeners, we encourage you to call GreenThumb at 212.788.8070. If Oasis indicates it is a land trust garden, you can contact the Manhattan Land Trust at 212.228.5482, the Bronx Land Trust at 212.228.5482 or the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust at 718.963.7020. Good luck!