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How to Start a GreenThumb Community Garden

For those interested in starting a new community garden or farm, please fill out the New Garden Intake Form with details about the site and proposed community garden. This form helps us determine what efforts might already be underway and best helps us give you guidance on where to begin. Please keep in mind that there are already more than 550 community gardens and farms registered with NYC Parks GreenThumb across New York City. Visit our Find a Garden page on our website to find a garden near you! 

If you are not able to locate an existing garden in your neighborhood, here are the steps that we can take together to establish one:

  1. Contact GreenThumb
    Your first step should be to contact GreenThumb using the Intake Form for Starting a New GreenThumb Community Garden. This form helps us determine what efforts might already be underway and best helps us give you guidance on where to begin. If the site is a good candidate, we'll work together toward starting a new garden or farm to help beautify, feed, unify and strengthen your neighborhood and our city.
  2. Identify a vacant lot
    Finding space for a new garden can be a challenge, but with a little research and a thorough walk through your neighborhood, we may be able to find a suitable spot. This is also a good chance to meet some of your neighbors to find out who might also be interested in pursuing this project with you. Remember - its takes a community to start a community garden. City-owned lots are best, and you can view available city-owned lots that are available and potentially suitable for urban agriculture here. This list changes periodically, so be sure to check back from time to time if you don't see a potential lot immediately. Regardless of how you find it, pinpoint the site's location and write it down. Be sure to note the exact location of the lot on the block, including the address of the next door building or house.
  3. Determine the ownership of the site
    If you can determine the address, or block and lot numbers, of the lot(s) that you are interested in, then you can determine their ownership by visiting the Department of Finance's Digital Tax Map. You can also visit New York City's Zoning & Land Use Map (ZoLa) and use the "BBL Lookup" to choose a borough from the dropdown, and enter the block and lot as separate numbers.
  4. Get permission!
    Before you start planning a garden, we need to make sure that you will have permission to use the space. If the lots that you've identified are on publicly-owned property, GreenThumb will facilitate the process with the City agency that has jurisdiction to determine if they are willing to allow it to be used as a community garden. This process can take some time, so speaking with GreenThumb first will help get things moving more quickly. If you're pursuing a private lot, make sure you have the consent of the owner first. GreenThumb will only register community gardens that have written permission to be there.

For additional steps to take to start a GreenThumb community garden, including resources on gathering members, getting support for your project, and on how to help your garden group grow, visit the Start a Garden page on our website.

Intake Form for Starting a New GreenThumb Community Garden

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