Manhattan is home to an array of urban plots, hydroponic farms, greenhouses, and more than 170 community gardens. This urban agriculture yields tremendous benefits for our neighborhoods, our economy, and the environment: it teaches valuable skills and sustainably produces fresh, healthy, locally-grown food.
In Spring 2015, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office released How Our Gardens Grow, a report on expanding urban gardens, farms, and other agriculture programs in schools, senior centers, and public housing facilities. There, Borough President Brewer announced the office’s commitment of $1 million in capital grants for Manhattan public schools to invest in equipment and renovations to establish or expand urban agriculture programs. In addition to these grants, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office also administers a grant program spurring composting programs in community gardens, in partnership with the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and the Citizen’s Committee for New York City.
On October 14, 2015, Borough President Brewer hosted Grow: Urban Garden Symposium, to connect community members with urban agriculture experts and leaders. Through a series of panel discussions and an industry fair featuring more than fifteen exhibitors, participants learned how to expand their programs, or start a garden or farm of their own. The primary challenge to urban agriculture in Manhattan is one of limited, expensive space. Borough President Brewer hopes that by providing access to finding and resources, New Yorkers will be better able to pursue alternative gardening options and make Manhattan a greener, healthier borough.