New York City is home to over 550 unique public green spaces that are stewarded by thousands of volunteer community members. Known as community gardens, these oases are hubs for growing fruits and vegetables, holding cultural and social events, preserving biodiversity, and appreciating the outdoors with neighbors and friends. Each and every community garden is all volunteer-led, self-governing, and represents the talents, creativity, and collaboration of the people who give their time to these important community resources.
GreenThumb is a program of NYC Parks. It is the nation's largest urban gardening program! GreenThumb offers material and technical support to registered gardens such as soil, plants, tools, garden design services, and much more, at no cost. Exciting educational opportunities related to gardening, urban farming, group structure, anti-racism, and youth leadership are available to gardeners and members of the public through our educational programming.
Here is What You Might Expect When Visiting or Joining a GreenThumb Garden
Most gardens have an active season from April to October, when the public can visit at scheduled times. You can get involved by joining the garden as a member or volunteer. This usually includes caring for the garden, having a space to grow plants and food, and participating in garden events.
- Gardeners work together to take care of communal spaces and maintenance tasks.
- Gardens are not just about growing food! Some prefer to grow ornamental plants, some focus on education, and some love to host events or gatherings.
- Members usually assist with keeping the garden open to the general public by being present during the garden's open hours to answer questions and monitor activity. These hours are posted on the garden's gate and are a GreenThumb requirement.
- Some gardens request a membership fee. This fee may be waived in cases of financial hardship.
- Gardens need many different people and skill sets to support all parts of the garden's function! Gardening, community outreach, volunteer management, carpentry, finance, grant writing, arts, communications, and so much more all contribute to garden success.
Interested in Joining a Community Garden?
- Reach out to your respective GreenThumb Outreach Coordinator for assistance.
- To learn the basics of joining a community garden from longtime GreenThumb community gardens, watch the recent "How to Join a Community Garden" webinar on our YouTube channel.
- For more information about GreenThumb gardens and programs, visit our website, contact us at (212) 602-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GreenThumb's "Help a Garden Grow" Volunteer Program
Join hands with GreenThumb gardeners across the city with your corporate, school, or other community group as a volunteer for one or multiple days! Volunteer groups can help strengthen community gardens by weeding, spreading woodchips, planting flowers, bulbs or shrubs, hosting garden clean-ups, building raised beds, providing general maintenance within the gardens, and other special projects. By working with gardens, volunteers can participate in sustainability, valuable placekeeping, and enriching the cultural fabric of NYC.
For more information or to volunteer with your group at a GreenThumb garden, contact Project and Design Coordinator Babbie Dunnington at Babbie.Dunnington@parks.nyc.gov.
GreenThumb gardens can request a volunteer workday by contacting their outreach coordinator. For more information, email email@example.com or call (212) 602-5300.
Additionally, the Mayor's office has a website strictly devoted to volunteering. Visit the NYC Service website to search for community gardens looking for volunteers.
- Download How to Join a GreenThumb Garden FAQ (PDF, 145 KB)
- Download Slideshow Presentation on How to Join a Community Garden (PDF, 501 KB)
- Download Community Gardening 101 (PDF, 319 KB)