Serving Community Gardeners in New York City – Green Guerillas

by Sabrina Subhit
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Green Guerillas  

What they do: Green Guerillas began in 1973 with a group of individuals who decided to turn vacant lots throughout New York City into community gardens. Since then, Green Guerillas has expanded into a nonprofit organization that has helped to cultivate more than 600 community gardens, and actively promotes youth leadership development and food and environmental justice.

How they do it: This organization has several programs that provide education and resources to grassroot groups to support community gardens and urban farming and advocate for food and environmental justice. They work with young adults and gardeners in New York City to promote sustainable and equitable communities, where people can come together to grow their own food and connect with nature. Green Guerillas currently works with community gardens in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

Core Programs: 

  • Youth Empowerment Pipeline: A youth-driven training program that involves campaigns, workshops, and projects to connect the youth with community gardens and the importance of sustainable food systems. This program provides young adults with education about food systems and causes of inequities, hands-on experience with community gardens, and leadership opportunities.
  • Council of Gardeners: A cross-borough group of community gardeners who are connected through their understanding of food sovereignty. This group creates a collective voice for gardeners where they can initiate action, build social capital, share ideas, and learn from each other to solve individual or group challenges.
  • Harvest for Neighborhoods: Through partnering with Council Members (including Council Members Chi Ossé, Althea Stevens, Pierina Sanchez, Julie Won, Oswald Feliz, and Carlina Rivera and Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala) Green Guerillas distributes resources to food-growing community gardens in Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx. They provide soil, lumber, and seedlings along with people power to gardeners to ensure successful harvests.  
  • Green Advocacy: Green Guerillas regularly engages with community leaders to advocate for resources to support community gardens and infrastructure.
  • Garden Future: Through a partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, Green Guerillas helps to sustain the Bronx Land Trust and Manhattan Land Trust which maintains 32 gardens in neighborhoods with minimal green spaces.

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system and current campaign: Green Guerillas actively engages in advocacy efforts to further support and maintain community gardens. Recently, they have connected with 45+ community gardeners to develop an open letter to NYC Parks asking for stronger protection and support of community gardens.

Location: 30 3rd Avenue #848, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Areas served: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens
Year Started: 1973
Number of staff:  2 full time staff, 1 part time staff, and 15-20 paid youth interns per year.
Executive Director: Sarah McCollum Williams
Contact Information:

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