The new Community Garden Accessibility Guide was created to help with the creation of inclusive community gardens where everyone can enjoy the full mental and physical benefits of urban gardening. Given the limited resources available for most community gardens, we attempt to illustrate options for accessibility that can easily be achieved without expensive equipment or cost prohibitive materials. Each chapter contains suggested guidelines on how to make basic garden features accessible to people who use wheelchairs and other walking aids. These guidelines reflect the practices of GreenThumb, but also function to communicate accessibility options that garden groups could potentially achieve without professional assistance. While this document currently focuses on mobile accessibility, we will continue to update sections as we further develop guidelines for differing abilities.
This guide originally sought to define GreenThumb’s current (yet ever-evolving) standards for accessibility for projects completed by our Operations Team. In our mission to support community garden capacity as well as accessibility, we ultimately hope this guide will help community gardeners build accessible gardens independently as well. The guide bases most construction recommendations included on materials that GreenThumb regularly provides for community gardens. We worked together with NYC Parks’ Capital Projects Accessibility Coordinator Christopher Noel to ensure that these guidelines align with Parks’ criteria for mobile accessibility.
In addition to this guide, our "Accessible Garden Design" webinar on the NYC Parks GreenThumb YouTube Channel reviews best practices to make your garden accessible to all people in your community. In this presentation, Christopher Noel (Accessibility Coordinator, NYC Parks) and Babbie Dunnington (Project & Design Coordinator, NYC Parks GreenThumb), show how ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards can be used to design an accessible garden. They discuss guidelines for making paths, raised beds, and other garden structures accessible to people who use wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids. Dimensions, materials, and installation methods are also discussed.
The NYC Parks GreenThumb Community Garden Accessibility Guide is available here and can be downloaded at the link below.