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News from New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets

For more information contact: Jessica Chittenden, 518-457-3136


Announcement Made at First Statewide Community Garden Summit at SUNY New Paltz

ALBANY, NY (07/25/2008; 1453)(readMedia)– Governor David A. Paterson and Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced a new grant program that will strengthen community gardens. The Community Gardens Capacity Building Grants Program will improve access to fresh local produce, help New Yorkers reduce their food budgets, preserve open space, and provide a cleaner, healthier environment by supporting community gardens throughout New York State.

“Community gardens are an important resource in our urban neighborhoods, providing open space and access to healthy, nutritious food for city dwellers. It is for these reasons I am pleased to announce the first-ever grant program to support community gardens in New York State,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “Individually, these gardens may have a modest impact, but taken together they can help to reduce the need to ship agriculture goods thousands of miles across the country. This will help to cut down pollution, food prices and our dependence on oil.”

The community garden grants will provide up to $5,000 to existing community gardens and local garden coalitions that serve low-income people in urban areas. The funding is to be used to strengthen local community garden organizations.

“Community gardens provide a wealth of positive attributes,” said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner, Patrick Hooker. “We are confident that capacity building grants will support local efforts to build more community garden resources in our urban environments, and we thank Governor Paterson for his leadership on this issue.”

The announcement was made at SUNY New Paltz at the first ever gathering of 100 community gardeners and farmers from across the State at a summit titled, Seeding Our Cities: The Future of New York’s Community Gardens and Urban Farms. The grant program was announced in an opening address given by Judith Enck, Governor David A. Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for the Environment. The goal of the summit is to create a collective vision and plan for growing and sustaining New York’s community gardens.

A community garden is a public piece of land worked by an organized group of people, and owned either by a local government or nonprofit organizations. They provide green space in urban areas and encourage food production by providing gardeners a place to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers. Community gardens also provide a sense of community, neighborhood beautification and a unique connection to the environment. There are an estimated 10,000 community gardens within U.S. cities, with more than 1,000 in New York State alone.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.