Meet Green Guerillas
Green Guerillas uses a unique mix of education, organizing and advocacy to help people
cultivate community gardens, sustain grassroots groups and coalitions, engage youth, paint
colorful murals, and address issues critical to the future of their gardens.
In 1973 Liz Christy, a Lower East Side artist, gathered her friends and neighbors together to clean out a vacant lot on the corner of Bowery and Houston Streets. Calling themselves the
Green Guerillas, these visionaries created a vibrant community garden and sparked the modern community gardening movement in New York City.
Green Guerillas tapped the time, talent and energy of their members. They took on projects as varied and interesting as the city itself – they threw seed “green-aids” over the fences of vacant lots, installed window boxes, planted flowers in tree pits – and helped people transform city- owned vacant lots into community gardens that serve as botanic gardens, vest pocket parks, urban farms and as expressions of art, ecology, and culture. More than three decades later, Green Guerillas is a vital 501c3 nonprofit organization, and there are more than 600 community gardens in New York City with a whole new host of challenges.
How Green Guerillas Does Good
Green Guerillas engages in a variety of program activities to achieve their vision and mission. Primarily, they
- Gather and distribute information on critical issues to New York City’s community garden groups.
- Distribute plants, materials, and advice to 200 community garden groups to help them grow more food, strengthen their gardens, and manage healthy, vibrant green spaces.
- Provide organizational assistance to dozens of groups to help them recruit new members, hold effective meetings, engage the community, organize events, and ensure the long term viability of their community gardens and their grassroots groups.
- Serve as the fiscal sponsor for 20 community garden groups to help them obtain and manage grant funding that supports events, garden improvements, and outreach campaigns.
- Rally community members to breathe new life and new energy into 10 underutilized community garden sites.
- Help the Phoenix Community Gardeners continue to establish their large Fulton Street site as an urban farm, a community garden, and an outdoor educational center.
Fighting Hunger, Improving Food Choices: Green Guerillas uses the Harvest for Neighborhoods (H4N) Campaign to help central Brooklyn community gardeners grow thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy food for their families, their neighbors and for distribution to local soup kitchens and food pantries. The H4N Campaign helps gardeners grow fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that lack supermarkets and green grocers, helping change the food equation in important ways. By supporting 3 emerging community farmers markets, Green Guerillas is helping community garden leaders provide thousands of their central Brooklyn neighbors with access to fresh healthy food to help create healthier neighborhoods.
Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders and Food Advocates: Green Guerillas engages youth as true partners in New York City’s community gardening and urban farming movement. The Youth Tillers program engages 10 central Brooklyn teenagers in paid urban agriculture internships that challenge them to grow food, build compost bins, strengthen food-growing community gardens, and teach 200 other kids where their food comes from. 3 Summer AmeriCorps members work at the core of the Harvest for Neighborhoods Campaign as they tend harvest beds, help gardeners grow more food, lead garden workdays, organize events, and help garden groups recruit new urban farmers. The Youth Mural Project and the Youth Gardening Project put trowels, seeds, seedlings, and paint brushes in the hands of more than 250 children and youth to help them garden and paint murals as they learn about food, art and nature in the city.
Green Guerillas’ Impact
- Organized 3 comprehensive plant giveaways for 170 community gardens that provided gardeners with a wide variety of vegetable seedlings, herbs, annuals and seeds to help them boost their harvest and add splashes of color to New York City neighborhoods
- Organized community workdays to increase and improve growing areas at 14 gardens
- Helped gardener leaders organize community events to bring in more garden members and increase accessibility to local healthy food production at 16 community gardens
- Targeted ongoing organizing efforts at 10 underutilized gardens
- Conducted ongoing community outreach connecting community groups with each other to share ideas and resources
- Helped 90 community garden groups grow thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy food
- Gave 3 community farmers markets the assistance they need to help them become established as sources of fresh fruits and vegetables for thousands of Brooklyn residents of all income levels
- Engaged 15 young people in well organized internships to help them become urban farmers. community organizers and food advocates
- Helped garden groups become sustainable by providing fundraising assistance and fiscal sponsor services to 20 community groups
- Through the COOL FOOD Campaign, helped 40 garden groups understand season extension and access the supplies they needed to plant for multiple harvests in the same growing season. As a result, gardeners were able to double their harvest out of the same planting boxes.
Catachfire’s Pro Bono Impact with Green Guerillas
Stay tuned – Green Guerillas is new to Catchafire and will be posting their first projects soon!
To stay updated on when Green Guerillas needs help, please favorite the Green Guerillas page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email firstname.lastname@example.org.