McCarren Park Urban Farms and Green Infrastructure Corridor 2018-05-31T14:34:28+00:00

Project Description

McCarren Park Urban Farms and Green Infrastructure Corridor

Project Lead: GrowNYC
Project Partners: GreenThumb; Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn; and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Project Location: McCarren Park
GCEF Grant: $477,084
Matching Contribution: $307,700
2017 Budget Addition: $38,191
Fact Sheet: McCarren Park Urban Farms PDF
Project Status: Ongoing

In 2015, GrowNYC received a $477,084 GCEF grant (and provided $307,700 in matching funds) to create an urban farm and green infrastructure corridor in McCarren Park. The urban farm will contain a rain garden, demonstration urban gardens, and a space for community events and environmental education activities for residents, schools, and community groups. Major GCEF-funded activities include:

  • Creating rain gardens
  • Installing model demonstration urban gardens to support programs about soil health, raised beds, and plants
  • Installing signs about environmental stewardship and conservation
  • Creating a “best practices” manual with information for Greenpoint residents about the principles and concepts used in the project
  • Conducting community programming, including site tours and workshops on building a garden and using green infrastructure (e.g., rain gardens and rainwater harvesting) in backyards, on roofs, and in community spaces, and using the urban farm to teach about environmental sustainability, energy, ecosystems, safe urban gardening practices, and more
  • Offering 3 on-site workshops for students (grades 5-12), teachers, and parents about energy, solar, earth science, and other topics
  • Providing a community event space, tours, and other workshops

In 2017, through a competitive process, the New York City Audubon Society was awarded $162,902 in additional funding to extend horticultural maintenance of the green roof and continue further programming, including the annual fall festival, lectures and presentations in the community space, school and camp visits to the roof, Newtown Creek canoe/kayak and public tours, a spring conference, and printed interpretive materials to complement this programming. Additionally, the project website and social media platforms will be enhanced and a strategic plan for the project’s continuation beyond the grant period will be developed.


August 2016: In the spring, GrowNYC completed a preliminary design of the urban farm space. A new chain link fence, as well as 2 shipping containers for storage of equipment and supplies, were installed. As of early July, construction of the raised beds had begun, and planting began by August.

August 2017: GrowNYC has completed the majority of work on McCarren Park Demonstration Garden. The space includes ample seating and a demonstration backyard, among many other garden elements. GrowNYC has hosted five workshops for residents and local teachers in the space, with a total of 75 attendees; there are three more workshops scheduled for the Fall of 2017. The garden has also functioned as a hub for the giveaway of 60 fifty-gallon rain barrels, 2,795 seedlings, and 1040 pounds of compost. Work has begun on the McCarren Park Green Infrastructure Corridor, beginning with a section of the park at the corner of Leonard Street and Bayard Street.

February 2018: GrowNYC has begun construction on the McCarren Park Green Infrastructure Corridor, to be built along Leonard Street behind McCarren Pool.  A rain garden, border beds, and perennial/native plantings have all been installed, with more to come in 2018. In the spring of 2018, GrowNYC will work with Newtown Creek Alliance and Highview Creations to install  green roofs on the 2 shipping containers in the McCarren Park Demonstration Garden.