From Organic Recycling to Advocacy for Green Spaces, This Organization is Doing it All

by Gabrielle Khalife
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: East New York 4 Gardens Inc  

What they do: East New York 4 Gardens Inc is a nonprofit established with the primary purpose of providing garden and park resources and support to East Brooklyn residents who are interested in urban horticulture, ecology and environmental issues. The organization’s secondary purpose is to protect local plants, animals and insects.

Director and Founder, Gregory Ingram has been gardening in East New York/ Brownsville for 20 years under the auspices of Operation Greenthumb. His garden now serves as East New York 4 Gardens’ headquarters, used to teach local residents about gardening.

The organization has received support from various nonprofits including Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Council of the Environments Citizens Committee and Green Guerrillas for its education and advocacy work.

How they do it: East New York 4 Gardens Inc has various roles including: (1) assisting with the creation, maintenance and improvement of community gardens and parks; (2) educating members of local communities about horticulture and healthy life choices through classes, demonstrations and organized trips; (3) providing training, mentorship and employment to members of local communities; (4) facilitating public dialogue regarding community gardens and social issues; (5) promoting support of community gardens and parks and conducting public education and advocacy regarding other issues affecting local communities; (6) connecting nonprofits, volunteers, government resources and corporate donors with garden and park projects.

East Brooklyn is a low-income neighborhood with high rates of violence, high school dropouts, blood pressure, diabetes and poor eating habits. The organization is working to combat these issues by teaching local residents, including youth, about gardening, the consumption of natural produce, ecology and how to use plants as commerce. It also partners with other community groups whose goals or missions are similar by (1) lending them tools; (2) getting their core group and volunteers to assist them with events; and (3) partnering with them in grants.

Mission: To be a resource for residents in the community of East New York/ Brownsville who are interested in urban horticulture and ecology

Latest project/campaigns: Getting funding for the improvement of new projects and programs, one being Organic Recycling Education working with Greenthumb gardens, food pantries, city agencies (e.g. schools) and private businesses (e.g. restaurants) in East Brooklyn to coordinate, plan, and promote  discussions and demonstrations on how to remove organic waste in an area that creates so much and currently does not have a compost depot.

Major Funding: Partners for Parks, The Mayor’s Fund, City Council Member Inez Barron

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $5,000

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: East New York 4 Gardens is collaborating with East New York Farms and Isabahlia, two of the largest farms in East Brooklyn, to strengthen the local community, promote sustainable agriculture and educate both adults and youth about urban horticulture and environmental issues.

FACT SHEET:

Location:

485 Fountain Ave, Apt 1e

Brooklyn, NY 11208

Core Programs:

Green Education

– Advocacy

– Garden Assistance

Number of staff: 0

Number of volunteers: 5

Areas served: East Brooklyn: East New York, Brownsville and Canarsie

Year Started: 1998

Organization Director, Manager or CEO: Gregory Ingram

Contact Information: [email protected]

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