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COVID-19 Related News

Please review Important Services Changes (Cambios Importantes en el Servicio) which details changes to GreenThumb’s community garden public access, COVID-19 protocols, and food distribution policies. Changes are also in place for programs and services.

GreenThumb has developed a number of resources to provide guidance to garden groups in response to the unique challenges of COVID-19.

  • Factors For Garden Groups to Consider When Reopening to the Public is a list of questions garden groups can analyze to decide whether it is appropriate and safe to open the garden.
  • Safety and Hygiene Practices for Community Gardens describes best practices relevant to community gardening.
  • The Working Together Remotely Toolkit outlines several different ways to use video conferencing, phone conferencing, and messaging tools to communicate safely with community garden members. 
  • Social Distancing in Gardens emphasizes ways that community garden groups can develop and implement effective social distancing plans for their sites. Please note, GreenThumb gardens that are on NYC Parks’ property are required to follow social distancing protocols to ensure public health and safety until further notice.

    For examples of social distancing plans that community gardeners have created for their sites during COVID-19, please see the templates (2020 COVID-19 Bylaws Addendum, 2020 Garden Help Sign-Up, and Garden Task Planning Template Calendar) available to download below. Your garden group can download these and adjust as needed.
  • The COVID-19 Compost Safety Guide provides guidance to existing compost sites on best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 during compost drop-offs or during use of the compost area.

    Gardens that are curious to learn more about the art and science of composting can refer to the Compost Resource Guide, a compilation of webinars, videos, and publications from partners and compost experts.
  • Garden signage describing your garden’s current public access policy can be downloaded in: AlbanianBanglaChineseEnglishFrenchGreekHaitian CreoleItalianKoreanRussianSpanish, and Yiddish
    These describe whether your garden is closed, open to members only, or open to the public at this time. Please note, garden groups must hang clear signage near the garden entrance communicating its public access policy until further notice. 

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!

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COVID-19 Compost Safety Guide
Many GreenThumb gardens host volunteer-run community composting operations or host food scrap drop-off sites. Due to COVID-19, curbside organics collection by the NYC Department of Sanitation is temporarily suspended and some food scrap drop-offs are currently closed. Because of these changes in the composting landscape, GreenThumb gardeners are seeing a growing public interest in composting at community gardens. The COVID-19 Compost Safety Guide provides guidance to existing compost sites on best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 during compost drop-offs or during use of the compost area. (See below for a link to download the COVID-19 Compost Safety Guide.) Gardens that are curious to learn more about the art and science of composting can refer to the Compost Resource Guide, a compilation of webinars, videos, and publications from partners and compost experts. In addition, GreenThumb regularly offers workshops, webinars, and training on composting. Visit our website often to view all upcoming programs.

For questions or concerns about composting at your GreenThumb garden, please reach out to your garden’s Outreach Coordinator.

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Educational Resources

GreenThumb Growing Food ToolkitIncludes dozens of readings and resources about growing food in a garden. Topics include crop planning, starting seeds, pest management, building raised beds, and more.

GreenThumb Group Development Toolkit - GreenThumb supports community gardeners in organizing their garden groups through educational workshops and materials. This toolkit includes many of our workshop handouts and webinar recordings, as well as many resources from partnering organizations, on topics related to group development. Topics include group structure, bylaws, conflict resolution, antiracism, decision-making, and more.

Webinar Videos - GreenThumb has been offering virtual year-round educational programming since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We've made most of them available to the public for viewing on-demand.  

GreenThumb YouTube Channel - Watch recordings of past events and webinars, as well as GreenThumb video series such as Propagating Crops in a Hoop House and Carpentry Tools 101.

Upcoming Workshops - Find all of our upcoming workshops on the GreenThumb Events page.

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Bylaws Requirements for Relicensing
GreenThumb requires all community garden groups under Parks jurisdiction to submit copies of their bylaws to their Outreach Coordinators as a prerequisite to being licensed. We offer workshops on group structure and bylaws and we encourage members of your garden groups to attend these workshops if you haven’t already. This is a great opportunity to bolster the strength of your gardening group through a shared understanding of membership rights and responsibilities, rules and procedures, governance structure, and how the group makes decisions. Please connect with your GreenThumb Outreach Coordinator for more details.

At minimum, your bylaws must include the following (for complete details, please download the 2021 Bylaws Requirements):

  1. Your garden’s mission
  2. Membership (how to join, rights and responsibilities after joining)
  3. Decision-making process
  4. Leadership structure
  5. Process for changing the bylaws in the future
  6. How the garden group handles conflicts and disputes
  7. Finances 

Before contacting your Outreach Coordinator, we recommend that you 1) attend the Organizing for Garden Success workshop series and 2) work with your garden group to complete the checklist in the 2021 Bylaws Requirements.

You may also use the GreenThumb Bylaws Template. We expect that garden groups who choose to use the Template will complete it as a group and collectively sign the last page.

Thank you for your hard work growing the strength of community garden groups across the city. 

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GreenThumb Gardeners Handbook 2021

The 2021 Edition of the GreenThumb Gardeners’ Handbook is a resource for community gardeners and the general public that covers a variety of topics, including event planning, construction work, accepting donations, selling garden produce, tree pruning, garden bylaws, and much more. The handbook includes many, but not all, GreenThumb, NYC Parks, New York City, and New York State best practices, policies, and laws that pertain to community gardens in the GreenThumb network. Gathering these topics and policies in one place helps gardeners in creating and sustaining these thriving public spaces. Gardeners have informed policies, guidelines, and protocols included in this Handbook, and GreenThumb is grateful for the immense time and grassroot effort community gardeners put into making gardens beautiful, productive, and community-centric for more than 40 years.

The Handbook is available to all garden members and members of the public in digital form here on our website and will soon be available below in multiple languages.

For a summary of the policies that have been clarified, added, or changed since the 2019 edition of the GreenThumb Gardeners’ Handbook, please download this PDF. This summary will be distributed to GreenThumb community garden groups in both digital and hard copy format. Please reach out to your Outreach Coordinator if you need a hard copy of the handbook or if you have any questions.

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Assign a Contact
GreenThumb requires each garden to select a primary and a secondary contact person. This page explains what a GreenThumb Contact should and shouldn’t do.

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Membership Update
To submit your full membership list please email the membership update form to greenthumbinfo@parks.nyc.gov or download and send to our mailing address.

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Resources for Immigrant Communities
The NYC Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs has Resources for Immigrant Communities on their website available in multiple languages.

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Solve an Issue
Learn more about how to handle any issues that may arise in your garden. For any serious or life threatening situations or to report a crime, please call 911 or your local precinct.

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Tags: Gardens, News, Resources, Updates, Workshops

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