By Indykids Staff

New York City has got to B R E A T H E ! – a cheer from the More Gardens! Coalition

The more than 600 community gardens scattered across New York City are valuable – but they are worth more than money. One of the most interesting facts about New York City’s community gardens is that most of them were once abandoned areas filled with garbage. They were often disgusting and dangerous places.

Then, the community got together to create gardens in order to make their neighborhoods safer and more beautiful. Everyone had fun while they worked. The fairytale stopped there. Until recently, all of New York City’s community gardens were in danger of being bulldozed and replaced with buildings. But many people, including children, came together in different ways to save the gardens.

The effort was impressive, however, New York City still needs more green spaces to grow healthy food and improve the polluted air. One reason community gardens are important is that New York City has some of the highest asthma rates in the world. That’s because asthma, a condition making it difficult for a person to breathe, is sometimes caused by polluted and dirty air.

Outside of cities, plants and trees help keep the air clean. But inside cities, and particularly in large ones like New York City, plant life is too scarce to be able to do its job. Community gardens also sometimes grow fresh organic food for people to eat. Organic food is food grown without any chemical pesticides. Pesticides kill insects and other small creatures that might eat the plants, but in large amounts many pesticides can be harmful to human beings.

If you are inspired and excited by the idea of community gardens and interested in getting involved, get a parent, teacher, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend to take you to a garden where you can help out, and maybe even have your own garden plot.

Here are helpful websites you can use to find a community garden near you:

www.greenguerillas.org/ (click on Find a Garden)

www.moregardens.org

www.greenthumbnyc.org

Or, call Greenthumb at (212) 788-8070 and ask about gardens near you.