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Apply for GreenThumb Trainings

Dig deep and further your gardening knowledge and leadership skills with NYC Parks GreenThumb! GreenThumb is offering several new trainings throughout 2019 and 2020. GreenThumb Trainings are courses or certifications that fall outside of our usual year-round workshop series, are multiple days, and go in-depth on a specific subject. Most (but not all) of these programs are reserved for members of registered GreenThumb community gardens and require gardeners to apply. We are including descriptions and details for these trainings in one place so that they are easier to access.


GreenThumb Leadership Academy

Through a series of intensive trainings, GreenThumb will offer support and guidance for community gardeners in leadership positions in their gardens. These trainings will include topics such as conflict resolution, meeting facilitation, navigating city government, addressing racism and oppression, and garden management skills. Upon graduating from the program, gardeners will be invited to join a team of GreenThumb Garden Leaders who can be called upon to support one another, help mediate internal garden conflicts, and mentor new garden leaders.

Applications due: 10/30/19

Link to application: 

Course runs: Saturdays, 1/11, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/22, 2/29, 3/7, 3/14


Uprooting Racism

Uprooting Racism is a theory and action training for community garden leaders to uproot systemic racism. We will delve deep into the history of our community gardens and examine our personal and collective roles as stewards of the land and as facilitators. Much of the time will be spent developing tangible action plans for uprooting these oppressions within our own gardens. 

Applications due: 12/8/19

Link to application:

Training dates: 2/21/20 - 2/22/20

Location: Discovery Center, Central Park

Facilitator: Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm


Tackling Tough Conversations

Conflict is stressful. And yet, it also offers opportunities to strengthen and repair relationships. New York Peace Institute (NYPI) trainings build your dispute resolution skills, helping to improve team cohesion and resolve differences in the garden. With a focus on mediation skills, NYPI helps you navigate difficult conversations, manage disagreements, and address challenges creatively.

‘Tackling Tough Conversations’ teaches the ‘Jedi’ skills of dispute resolution. This training draws on the tools mediators use to resolve conflict and helps community members communicate effectively. ‘Tough Conversations’ explores the classic responses to conflict, what active listening looks like in practice, and key mediation and de-escalation skills. This training gives provides a roadmap to navigate tough conversations and come up with solutions that last.

Applications due: 12/8/19

Application link:

Training dates:

Cohort 1: February 6-7, 2020

Cohort 2: May 7-8, 2020

Facilitator: New York Peace Institute staff


Open Orchard School

The Open Orchard School is a year-long series of educational programs co-presented by NYC Parks GreenThumb and the Trust for Governors Island. The Open Orchard School is an extension of The Open Orchard, an expansive new artwork by Sam Van Aken on Governors Island that will take the form of a public orchard of 50 hybrid fruit trees. Each individual tree will contain multiple varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries and apples that were historically grown in the New York City region over the past 500 years, but which have been lost to climate change and the industrialization of agriculture, preserving their biodiversity for future generations. Hundreds of additional trees will be distributed to community gardens in all five boroughs. Through the Open Orchard School, community gardeners and members of the public will learn practical skills related to the project, including in-depth experience with fruit tree care, cultivation, planting, and grafting. Participants who complete multiple workshops can become part of the team working to ensure the ongoing stewardship of the trees as they put down roots across the city.


In the fall of 2020, garden groups that have sent representatives to at least four of the workshops will be eligible to receive one or more multi-grafted fruit trees from The Open Orchard to plant in their gardens. Subject to approval from GreenThumb.

No applications: all workshops are open to the public

Workshops: 1-2 workshops per month from January 2020 - November 2020. All workshops will be posted in the quarterly GreenThumb Program Guide and on the GreenThumb events page.

Tree distribution: Fall 2020

Facilitators: Sam Van Aken (The Open Orchard) and Sam Bishop (Trees New York)


GreenThumb Pruning Brigade

GreenThumb has reserved a limited number of seats for community gardeners to get certified as Citizen Pruners through the Trees New York Citizen Pruner course. After getting certified, GreenThumb citizen pruners will be asked to complete 8 supervised volunteer hours to help with minor pruning needs at other community gardens. Gardeners who get their certification and complete the 8 hours will receive a set of pruning tools and a hard hat, and be asked to join a new group of GreenThumb volunteers dedicated to helping with the pruning needs of community gardens throughout the city.

Applications due: 8/26/19. There will be another application in the spring.

Course runs:
- Cohort 1: Mondays 6pm-8pm, 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, and 10/7, with an outing on Saturday 10/5, 10am-2pm. Location: GreenThumb Office (100 Gold St.)
- Cohort 2: Mondays 6pm-8pm, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4, and 11/18, with an outing on Saturday 11/9.  Location: GreenThumb Office (100 Gold St.)
- Cohort 3: May 2020, TBD
- Cohort 4: June 2020, TBD

Supervised pruning practice sessions: 8 hours of supervised pruning practice spread out over multiple ongoing volunteer sessions. Dates and locations shared with participants who graduate from the Trees New York Citizen Pruner course.


Please contact GreenThumb Workshops and Education Coordinator Mara Gittleman with any questions or concerns at mara.gittleman(at) or (212) 602-5318. 


Tags: Workshops

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