GreenThumb

The largest community gardening program in the nation

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UPDATED: Important Service Changes

The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 disease, known as the coronavirus, a pandemic. Due to this, GreenThumb is making important service changes, to ensure the health and safety of our partners and the public. You can learn more, including how to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, on the CDC or NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene webpage

Please visit this page to stay informed of changes. If garden groups have specific questions, they should feel free to contact their designated Outreach Coordinator. It is imperative that we all work together and adhere to these requirements in order to help protect public health and safety.

For important NYC Parks Department information, please visit NYC Parks' Service Announcements page. 

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Updated on April 1, 2021

Please carefully review the following sections:

1.     Public Access Policy for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property 

2.     Garden Group Access Policy for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property

3.     COVID-19 Protocols for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property

4.     Food Distribution Policy for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property

5.     Resources and Programming Updates from GreenThumb
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1. PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

Please note that policies are subject to change based on City, state, and federal regulations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

Community gardens operating on NYC Parks property may remain open or closed to the general public at the discretion of each garden group.  

Permitted Activities within Community Gardens: Gardeners may continue all necessary maintenance and gardening activities and they may host in-person meetings of the garden group at the garden even if the garden is closed to the general public. Gardens may host public events only with prior written approval from NYC Parks GreenThumb (more details below). Due to the relatively small and confined space of most gardens, attendance at all gatherings and approved events will be capped at 50 people, or less, depending on the size and layout of the gardenIf a garden that is larger than average seeks to admit more than 50 people to a garden and believes that they can do so safely and while social distancing, they can contact their GreenThumb Outreach Coordinator to seek an exemption and provide a safety plan for the day.  While gardens are not required to host public open hours, GreenThumb is encouraging licensed groups to provide some public access if at all possible. All gatherings must allow for all attendees to maintain six feet of social distance at all times.  

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2. GARDEN GROUP ACCESS POLICY FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

Please note that policies are subject to change based on City, state, and federal regulations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

Community Gardens operating on NYC Parks property may remain open or closed to garden members at the discretion of each licensed garden group. While gardens are not required to host public open hours, GreenThumb is encouraging licensed groups to provide some public access if at all possible. Garden groups should inform GreenThumb of their 2021 status - if open or closed (to members and/or the general public), current planned open hours, and updated website and social media information. Please inform us here by May 31st, 2021.

Permitted Activities within Community Gardens: Garden groups may continue to accept new members. Gardeners may continue all necessary maintenance and gardening activities and they may host in-person meetings of the garden group at the garden even if the garden is closed to the general public. Gardens may host public events only with prior written approval from NYC Parks GreenThumb (more details below). 

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3. COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

Please note that protocols are subject to change based on City, state, and federal regulations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

All garden groups on Parks property MUST observe the following:

  • Face Coverings: Everyone (gardeners and the public) inside the garden must wear a face covering at all times. A face covering must be worn even if all individuals are spaced 6 feet apart.
  • Social Distancing: Everyone (gardeners and the public) inside of community gardens must always practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet apart. 
  • Maximum occupancy: Regardless of garden size, the total occupancy at any community garden may not exceed 50 people at any time (if 6 feet of social distancing allows it), though large gardens may seek an exemption as per above. 
  • Disinfect Commonly Used Surfaces: Guidelines can be found on the CDC website and Safety and Hygiene Practices are posted on our website. 
  • Collaborative decision-making: All decisions regarding opening to members or the public should be made in accordance with the garden group’s bylaws. Decisions must be clearly communicated to all garden members. These Factors For Garden Groups to Consider When Reopening to the Public can help guide your group’s decision.
  • Signage: Garden groups must hang clear signage near the garden entrance communicating its public access policy. You can make your own, or download signage available in multiple languages from our Gardener Resources page. 
  • Open gardens no longer must be attended: Garden groups are no longer required to have a garden member present whenever the garden is open to the public.
  • Responding to incidents: Gardeners are not responsible for enforcing NYC Parks rules. Politely remind garden members and public visitors on social distancing and face covering protocols if you are comfortable doing so. Individuals who refuse to observe social distancing or wear face coverings should be reported to 311. For more serious issues, you should contact GreenThumb, call NYC Parks Central Communications at (646) 613-1200, or 911 depending on the severity of the issue.
  • Indoor spaces: No more than one person may be in a confined indoor space at the same time, such as greenhouses, sheds, and casitas. 
  • Public Events: Gardens may host public events only with prior written approval from NYC Parks GreenThumb. Garden groups MUST submit a request to host an event using the Event Request Form. Attendance at all approved events will be capped at 50 people, or less, depending on the size and layout of the garden to allow for social distancing, though large gardens may seek an exemption as per above. Garden groups are free to administer health screenings at gardens on Parks property and to deny entry to anyone who either refuses to participate or indicates they are a risk.  Due to public health concerns, GreenThumb will be limiting the promotion of in-person garden events in our website and social media channels. GreenThumb sponsored activities and events in gardens will be promoted as we will be providing advice and support to those events.
  • Outdoor Learning: Please note that all requests for schools in New York City to use NYC Parks properties, including community gardens, as outdoor classrooms must first be submitted by school principals through the Outdoor Learning Initiative. Garden groups will also be asked to complete a corresponding Event Request so that we can ensure that the garden group is supportive and to track these partnerships internally.  

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4. FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

The practices outlined below were approved by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and MUST be followed by gardens on NYC Parks property involved in food distribution

  • NYC Parks Requirements: For gardens on NYC Parks property, only food produced on-site can be sold, and only to support the continued operation of the garden, with the exception that gardens can also serve as pick-up locations for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Food Box programs. 
  • Food Handling: Only garden group members and those assisting with food distribution may handle products. Customers must not touch any produce or products before purchase or distribution. Consider pre-packaging produce into bags where possible.
  • Face Coverings: All garden members and all members of the public must wear a face covering at all times.
  • Gloves: All gardeners/vendors and those assisting with processing transactions must wear protective gloves. When possible, to prevent cross contamination, those handling transactions should be separate from those handling any produce or food products.
  • Sanitizing: All gardeners, and those assisting with food distribution operations, should sanitize their stands regularly, primarily wiping down tables, terminals, cash boxes, etc.
  • Tent Spacing: Any tents should be spaced at least 10-feet apart to reduce congestion, ideally further.
  • Table Covers: Vinyl or plastic table covers should be used for easy sanitizing.
  • No Sampling: Absolutely no sampling of products is permitted.
  • Stay Hydrated: Consider carrying your own water bottle
  • Stay Home if Sick: All gardens and those assisting with food distribution must stay home if they are sick.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer should be available at market manager stations.
  • Social Distancing: All gardeners must observe social distancing of six feet or more. Please politely remind all customers to observe social distancing of six feet or more, cover their coughs, not touch their faces, and stay home if they are sick by posting signage such as this one, also available in multiple languages here.

For additional guidance, please see guidance for food retailers here. Additional information about COVID 19 and DOHMH resources can be found here.

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5. RESOURCES AND PROGRAMMING UPDATES FROM GREENTHUMB

GreenThumb Programming & Workshops
GreenThumb workshops continue to be offered virtually at this time. To watch past webinars, please visit the GreenThumb Webinars page and YouTube Channel. Don’t forget to like and subscribe! For updates on upcoming workshops and events, please visit the Garden Events page.

GreenThumb COVID-19 Resources
GreenThumb has developed a number of resources to provide guidance to garden groups in response to the unique challenges of COVID-19. These include safety and hygiene recommendations, social distancing plans, guides for using virtual communication techniques, adapted composting plans, and more. Additionally, downloadable signs are available in multiple languages that your garden can print and hang on the fence to let neighbors know of access changes at your garden. Please review all these COVID-19 Resources and other important resources on our Gardener Resources page

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Service Announcements

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