Community Gardens Banner

Community Gardens Banner

Silkscreen design

Silkscreen design

Nueva Esperanza Jardin

Nueva Esperanza Jardin

Flowers at Nueva Esperanza

Flowers at Nueva Esperanza

Band accompanying parade

Band accompanying parade

Rally

Rally

Aresh Javadi from More Gardens

Aresh Javadi from More Gardens

In Harlem on a rainy Saturday afternoon, a small but enthusiastic group joined together to rally and march in a colorful parade to raise awareness and garner support for the protection of 65 community gardens across all the boroughs of New York City that are in danger of development. Nineteen of the endangered gardens are located in East Harlem. The dreariness of the day contrasted with the exuberance of the crowd as they visited several nearby endangered community gardens and encouraged participation by talking to local residents and distributing flyers along the way.

Local residents along with representatives from the environmental organization Times Up! and community garden support groups More Gardens and the Harlem United Gardeners met at Nuevo Esperanza, a community garden located on East 110th street and 5th Avenue and walked or rode their bikes to some of the other endangered gardens. A yellow cloth with a silkscreen design calling for unity and the need for preservation of all the Harlem gardens (see photo) was hung in each community garden.

Organizers from More Gardens believe that the gardens are a vital part of the community, as benefits include providing freshly grown food for families, offering a space for educating students in biology and chemistry classes, and providing an aesthetic setting that promotes health and pride in the community. Al Mckinnon, the director of Nuevo Esperanza for 17 years, emphasized that the gardens are a place where “you can feel free and safe. You don’t find gangs or violence here.”

The lively parade accompanied with drummers and a bird float ended with a picnic at one of the community gardens.