NYS Office of Community Gardens

New York State Office of Community Gardens


The NYCCGC committee has been working with a larger group, including More Gardens!, Just Food and The Hunger Action Network of NYS, to reactivate the New York State Office of Community Gardens and to strengthen community gardens statewide.
Committee members recently visited Albany to ask State Senate and Assembly members to renew funding for the office.

Why support a State Office of Community Gardens?
• The Office of Community Gardens was established in 1987 within the
Department of Agriculture & Markets and helped community gardens in a
variety of ways. Due to layoffs at the end of Governor Cuomo’s term, the staff
position was eliminated. The law for the office still exists, but funding for the office needs to be renewed!


What could the office do?
• Identify and grant vacant public state land available for community garden use.
• Act as a resource for gardens threatened by development.
• Provide technical and organizational assistance for gardens in the form of tools, land, and expertise.
• Identify funding sources and help community groups apply for grants.
• Build a state-wide network of community gardens and gardeners to facilitate knowledge sharing.
• Serve as a unified voice for community gardens.


How do I speak out?
As a citizen of New York, you can write or call the New York State Agriculture
Commissioner to let him know that you care about community gardens.


Write to:
Commissioner Patrick Hooker
NYS Department of Agriculture
and Markets
10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235
Call: 518-457-8876


What do I say?
Below there is a sample letter which you can sign and send in or use as a guide for writing your own letter. It is great to send in this letter, but phone calls or handwritten letters with personal stories about what community gardens mean to you can make a bigger impact on policy decisions.


For more information:
Aresh Javadi (917) 518 9987

Aresh@moregardens.orgwwww.moregardens.org or

 

Molly at Just Food (212) 645-9880, x237
(www.justfood.org) or


Susannah at Hunger Action Network
NYS 212-741-8192, x3# (www.
hungeractionnys.org)

 

Sample Letter

Commissioner Patrick Hooker
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235

Dear Commissioner Hooker:

I am writing to urge you to refund the Office of Community Gardens within the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

I feel that staff should be assigned to the Community Garden Office to carry out its existing statutory responsibilities. Given Governor Spitzer’s previous commitment to protecting community gardens in New York City during his tenure as Attorney General, we feel this is an excellent opportunity to support community gardens in New York State.

I would like to see the Office of Community Gardens fill several key roles in the development and maintenance of successful community gardens, as it has in the past. These roles can include:

∑ Identifying vacant public land available for community garden use.
∑ Acting as a resource for gardens threatened by development.
∑ Building a state-wide network of community gardens and gardeners to facilitate knowledge sharing.
∑ Serving as a unified voice for community gardens.
∑ Providing technical and organizational assistance for gardens in form of tools, land, and expertise.
∑ Identifying funding sources and helping community groups apply for grants.

During the time that this office has not been operating, community garden groups have had to perform many of these developmental tasks on their own.

Community gardens provide benefits to the residents who operate them, as well as the community in general. The health of residents benefits from access to fresh and nutritious foods, as well as outdoor recreation and exercise. The community benefits from neighborhood beautification, open space preservation and improved air quality. Community gardens also provide a food source to families in need, thus fostering self sufficiency and relieving some of the burden on the state as a provider.

All New Yorkers would benefit from a stronger network of community gardens, and I urge you to restaff the New York State Office of Community Gardens. I hope you will join us in our efforts to create a healthier food system and a healthier New York.


Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter,