Learning Gardens

Learning Gardens brings garden-based learning to NYC schoolchildren and community members. UsingNYC Parks gardens, we present engaging interdisciplinary lessons in core subjects. Students in grades pre-K - 8 and their teachers receive learning materials, curricula, and tools to enhance their use of the gardens.

City Parks Foundation’s Learning Gardens are outdoor classrooms that provide vibrant green space in some of New York City’s most densely populated neighborhoods. We operate four gardens in three boroughs: the Grove Hill Community Garden in Morrisania, Bronx, Abib Newborn Garden in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Umoja Garden in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and the Detective Keith Williams Community Garden at Liberty Park in South Jamaica, Queens.

As a meeting place, our gardens bring neighbors together to till the earth, sow seeds, and build community. All of our gardens have active groups of community garden members. We give them an opportunity to grow fresh produce they might otherwise lack access to, organize for a common cause, and foster an appreciation for living things in an urban environment.

As outdoor classrooms, our gardens give students in neighboring schools a hands-on experience to understand where food comes from and how urban ecosystems function. Community gardens and garden activities not only improve our environmental attitudes and connect us to nature; they also provide an engaging context for learning core subjects, such as science, math, language arts, social studies, nutrition, and art. Learning out-of-doors provides all students with the ability to synthesize and apply information in real time in a real life setting. This inquiry-based approach makes Learning Gardens a fascinating place to educate people of all ages.

In partnership with neighboring elementary and middle schools, our educators deliver a series of 14 garden-based science lessons throughout the school year. Professional development, curriculum, and supplemental resources are provided for participating teachers. In spring, our youth internship provides an opportunity for community service and job training in the field of environmental education.  Over the summer, our gardens offer free summer programming to community based organizations, day camps, summer camps, and head starts as well as weekend workshops for adults and families.

Since 2004, Learning Gardens has served 19,709 people and trained 706 teachers through partnerships with 86 public schools in 3 boroughs.

For more information, please contact Education Director, Debra Sue Lorenzen at (212) 360-2745 or via email at dlorenzen@cityparksfoundation.org