Community garden has new home at Grover Cleveland
by Patrick Kearns
Sep 27, 2016 | 7902 views | 0 0 comments | 174 174 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gardeners work in the soil at the new community garden.
Gardeners work in the soil at the new community garden.
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Ridgewood residents with a green thumb now have a new space at Grover Cleveland High School.

For the past year, the Ridgewood Community Garden has been looking for a new space. The garden was originally under the elevated M train line on Woodbine Avenue, but last year the Metropolitan Transit Authority evicted garden members from the lot.

Now they have a more permanent home.

“We are grateful to be collaborating with Grover Cleveland in creating a new community garden in a neighborhood severely lacking in such spaces, and we believe this garden can serve the neighborhood in several important respects,” said garden organizer Matthew Pellegrino.

Gardeners are hoping the space can provide local residents with healthy and sustainable food, as well as revitalize a neglected urban space.

“This garden is an important, albeit small, opportunity to care for a marginal and neglected plot of land, remediating the soil of toxins, increasing biodiversity, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and improving local air quality,” said Pellegrino.

Students at Grover Cleveland High School will also be able to take advantage of the space.

Ridgewood residents who want to get involved can attend a community workday, held every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the garden on Metropolitan Avenue between Tonsor Street and Armory Court.

Pellegrino said interested volunteers can also message the group on Facebook at Ridgewood Community Garden.

The group recently started a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise $2,000 for materials needed to construct the garden, especially non-toxic wood, organic soil and compost and gardening tools.

Pellegrino said community gardens are an important part of New York City's economic turnaround.

“New York’s community garden movement was born from the economic collapse of the early 1970s,” he said, “led largely by people of color who began reclaiming abandoned and decrepit lots for the benefit of their communities.

“Since that time, as the city recovered economically and real estate became more valuable, these lots have been under attack, mainly to be evicted and sold off cheaply to private real estate developers,” he added.

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