Improving Sustainable Practices at Java Street Community Garden 2020-03-14T14:58:59+00:00

Project Description

Improving Sustainable Practices at Java St. Community Garden

2014 Project Lead: Java Street Community Garden
2014 Project Partners: GreenThumb NYC; Build It Green!NYC; GrowNYC; Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s GreenBridge; and In Our Backyards
2015 Project Lead: North Brooklyn Parks Alliance (formerly Open Space Alliance)
2015 Project Partners: GreenThumb NYC; Build It Green!NYC; Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s GreenBridge; MillionTrees NYC; New Yorkers for Parks; North Brooklyn Neighbors (formerly Neighbors Allied for Good Growth); Citizens Committee for New York City; and Solar Energy Systems
Project Location: 59 Java Street
Total GCEF Funding: $49,398
2014 GCEF Grant: $19,178 2015 GCEF Grant: $30,220
Total Matching Contributions: $10,620
2014 Matching Contribution: $10,620 2015 Matching Contribution: $0
Project Completed: June 2019

In 2014, through a competitive process, Java Street Community Garden received a $19,178 GCEF grant (and provided $10,620 in matching funds) to enhance the sustainability of the community garden. Once an empty lot and now covered with native plants and organic vegetable garden plots, the Java Street Community Garden is managed by a collective of 30 neighborhood volunteers. GCEF funding was used to add a rainwater collection and storage system, a perennial sidewalk garden, sheltered community gathering space, native plants, and solar panels to serve as a renewable energy source for the garden.

In 2015, Java Street Community Garden received an additional $30,220 in GCEF funding (via the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance) to expand sustainable gardening activities. Major activities funded by this additional grant included creating winter greenhouses, improving existing pollinator, woodland, rainwater, and other garden beds within the larger garden, improving compost management, labeling plants in beds with information about pollinators, birds, noxious weeds, and sustainable garden practices. The project also improved composting and garden waste management at the garden and provided environmental stewardship and gardening education for garden visitors and members.

The garden’s website is located at

  • Installed 3 solar panels and an energy storage system, creating up to 1,000 watts annually of power for garden activitiessuch as charging batteries for power tools, running the aerator to create compost tea, powering LED string lights for evening and winter activities
  • Constructed a garden shed clad with reclaimed wood siding and with translucent roofing material and windows to provide natural lighting for the interior while maximizing storage space for garden tools and supplies.
  • Replaced an existing chain-link fence with a new steel post fence set back from the sidewalk to create a native plant garden with benches available to the community year-round, even when the garden gate is closed and is wide enough when open to allow deliveries of woodchips and compost
  • Purchased a variety of garden tools to maintain the garden, garden trees and to lend to fellow citizen pruners in the neighborhood
  • Replaced the garden’s old raised beds with 24 longer lasting, doubled-height reclaimed cedar wood raised beds, allowing for easier maintenance and increased planting depth
  • Constructed benches and a picnic table using reclaimed wood for garden events
  • Produced 40 cubic yards of compost from 2014 to 2019
  • Cultivated more than 600 square feet of organic vegetables from 2014 to 2019
  • Created a garden library with 50 books on a variety of gardening activities and best gardening practices
  • Hosted a variety of community education events with community partners including a street tree care workshop with MillionTrees NYC, Greening Greenpoint, Trees New York, and 61 Franklin Street Garden and demonstrations of how to brew compost tea with the Greenpoint Bioremediation Project
  • Partnered with Greenpoint Eco-Schools and FruiTrees New York to plant four apple trees which are being trained to grow up along the bare wall of a building that abuts the garden
  • Hosted a workshop with FruiTrees New York on apple tree maintenance for 12 4th and 5th grade students from the afterschool program at PS 31
  • Created a rainwater collection system with 4 rain barrels that store 600 gallons of water for use in the garden and diverts over 3,000 gallons of stormwater a year
  • Planted perennials and native plants in the sidewalk garden outside of the gated area, to attract pollinators and demonstrate examples of native and perennial plants to grow along with signage to educate passersby
  • Purchased and installed seven modular greenhouses to allow for plant propagation and seed saving, extending the work season of the garden
  • Hosted 5 ‘Spring into Summer’ and fall harvest community events which drew 75 attendees per event, attracting new members to the garden
  • Developed a new website for the garden which shares information about the garden’s history, its sustainable practices, a calendar of events, the garden’s hours and answers frequently asked questions about becoming a member
  • Served as a community organics drop-off site for local residents
  • Purchased permanent copper plant labels and tags to identify new and existing perennials, native plants, and pollinator friendly species in the garden, as well as to identify edible fruits and vegetables grown throughout the raised beds
  • Expanded permeable paving area with reclaimed bricks and cobble stones creating improved gathering spaces for workshops and events

Java Street Community Garden to Ring in Summer (Greenpoint Gazette, June 11, 2015)