“This garden is a crucial part of the community. It brings residents a place of solace and place to get fresh vegetables and be part of that process. There is a lot of pride in this community and the garden is a big part of that.”
Brooklyn, New York
Poppa and Momma Jones Historic Community Garden and its green spaces are critical to urban areas like in Brooklyn, New York since they offset the city’s heat island effect and provide the surrounding area with cooler, cleaner air.
The garden received a boost this summer when more than 40 green industry professionals and community volunteers came together as part of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative to revitalize this beloved garden, a long-time sanctuary of green space and source of fresh fruits and vegetables for neighborhood residents. The renovation project was valued at $40,000.
The nearly 7,000 sq. ft. green oasis has strong ties to this East New York Community serving as a hub of connectivity for residents. The garden was found by Poppa Jones, a retired Southerner, with extensive knowledge of gardening and an even bigger heart. Through his efforts growing vegetables, he and his wife fed thousands and befriended countless people in the community.
“Project EverGreen has partnered with NYC Parks Green Thumb for almost 10 years to renovate community gardens across the city,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “It’s vital that residents have access to green spaces to offset the negative effects of urban heat islands. The healthier the trees, plants and grass is in the garden the more carbon it sequesters and that produces more fresh air that everyone benefits from.”
Doreen Constanzo, owner of Greengage Urbanscape, is a local landscape professional whose company volunteered on the project.
“This garden is a crucial part of the community,’ said Constanzo. “It brings residents a place of solace and place to get fresh vegetables and be part of that process. There is a lot of pride in this community and the garden is a big part of that.”
Constanzo added that many of their employees, including those who volunteered to help with the renovation, are from the community and the renovated garden will be a place they can share with their family and friends.
The specifics of renovation included:
- Excavating and installing a new paver walkway enhancing user accessibility.
- Building a patio off the walkway for community events.
- Laying base material and compacting it under walkway and patio.
- Building a pavilion over the patio.
- Repairing wood planters.
- Weeding the planters.
- Installing and mulching plants throughout the garden.
- Pruning existing trees.
- Cleaning up trash and debris.
The lead donor for the project was ConEdison in conjunction with partner donor the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Green Thumb Community Garden Initiative.
Industry volunteers and donors included Artisan Gardens, CAST Lighting, Greengage Urbanscape, Mike Darling Construction, Plant Detectives, Totalscape Design and Turfs Up Radio.
This was the eighth GreenCare for Communities project in New York City since 2014. Previous projects have included Liberty Island (2014), Neighbors of Vega Baja (2017), Clinton Community Garden (2018-19), Jackie Robinson Community Garden (2020), Carolina Community Garden (2020), Wishing Well Community Garden (2021) and Bradhurst Community Garden (2022).
Parks, lawns, landscapes and maintained green spaces help to mitigate temperature increases in communities and significantly reduce energy use and cooling costs. Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative has made a significant impact. Since 2008, Project EverGreen and its partners have renovated community parks and public green spaces totaling more than 200 million square feet of living green space.
Through its nationwide base of professional volunteers, Project EverGreen has connected people, plants and their communities to maximize the health of grass, plants and trees, which in turn sequesters carbon and cleans the air. The initiative supports healthy green spaces in neighborhoods and cities, enabling maintained green spaces to function as the lungs of the city and offsetting the negative effects of a warming environment.