A community garden in Long Island City is looking to win a grant that will allow them to add more programs and reach more people.
The community garden was started by former LIC resident Jennifer DuJat, who grew up with her family of gardeners in Long Island and later gardened on her apartment’s fire escape in the western Queens neighborhood.
After being put on waiting lists in other community gardens, DuJat reached out to real estate broker Steffan Olausson Partridge, who helped her get the LIC apartment, and asked if he knew of anyone with an empty lot willing to offer it for the garden.
Partridge mentioned he had a house on 28th Street between 38th and 39th avenues, which he rents out as a short-term vacation spot, with a back lot.
The lot then became the home of the Dutch Kills Community Garden, which this past weekend celebrated the opening of its third season and is completely open to the public.
“We are making the point that even though we have chosen to live in the city we can still live green and do things for the community,” DuJat said.
The garden’s season goes from around April until the end of September, or the first frost, and there are 13 beds of vegetables which are owned by different members of the garden.
Members take turns completing chores to keep the garden’s common space clean, and each bed is the responsibility of the member who owns it. There are some rules that members must follow while keeping a bed, such as making sure they don’t block anyone else’s bed, keeping it clean and using organic materials.
The Dutch Kills Community Garden previously won the Citizen’s Committee for New York City Neighborhood Grant in 2013 and 2014.
This year, if they receive a Seeds of Change grant, the founders plan to use the funds to expand programs, such as wine tastings, and reach more people. The money will also go toward making the garden more sustainable regarding water by creating a rain harvesting system with rain barrels.
“By supporting these kinds of things in the neighborhood it get the word out and shows people that they can be environmentally friendly,” DuJat said. “It shows that even if you are in the city you can support a community garden.”
The voting for the Seeds of Change Grant Program ends on April 27 and people can vote once a day.
To vote for the Dutch Kills Community Garden, click here.