The Little Green Garden did not have an easy start. This small community garden was first developed in 1997 in the Bronx as a Housing Preservation and Development site. Soon after, however, in 2008, HPD needed the urban garden‘s site for housing, and the Little Green Garden had two choices: move or shut down.
But instead of moving to a completely new space (or pulling up its roots forever), the Little Green Garden ended up moving into an existing space, which had been occupied by another community garden group since 2005, called the Rock Garden. When the Little Green Garden joined the space, the two groups became one, and the real work began.
From a simple community garden, the two groups became a true urban farm, growing pounds of fruits and vegetables, hosting a variety of seasonal events for the community, and even becoming educators in the world of growing and gardening for all ages. Studies have shown that taking pride in an urban green space like a garden is linked to crime reduction, but even more, the garden has created a true community–one that is ready to give back to the rest of the Bronx.
The Little Green Garden / Rock Garden has become one of several groups contributing to Bronx Hot Sauce, a self-defined “community development project dedicated to developing and maintaining community gardens and green spaces throughout the Bronx,” developed by Chef King Phojanakong, of Filipino Kuma Inn and Tito King’s Kitchen.
Bronx Hot Sauce is made exclusively from Serrano peppers grown in community gardens throughout the Bronx. The sauce company donates pepper seedlings to the farms at the beginning of the season, only to buy back the fully mature peppers at fair trade prices at harvest time. Through their partners at GrowNYC, Bronx Hot Sauce was able to train farmers at the garden in sustainable growing practices, including farmers at the now thriving Little Green Garden.
This exchange of knowledge, time, and work has created a nucleus within the community, and one that is sure to continue for years to come.
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Urban garden image via Shutterstock
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