The Story of the Leave it Better Kids Garden

In May 2010, the fenced lot in front of the schools PS 306 and MS 331 resembled an abandoned landfill more than anything else. Back then, the Leave it Better ReGeneration program was already in working in both schools, and the kids had shown a great enthusiasm for gardening and composting. The idea of the organization has always been to engage entire communities around gardening, and to include the schools, the parents, and most importantly, the kids. With the help of one of the teachers in PS 306, Leave it Better found out that the neglected lot was a public space, and saw the potential to turn it into a resource for the entire neighborhood.

With the help of volunteers, the Leave it Better team collected all the garbage and cleaned up the space. Every Saturday, at least 20 kids showed up to help with the process, along with parents and other members of the community. In February 2011, the garden officially became a Green Thumb Garden, which means that it is now a reserved green space and it can’t be developed or used for commercial or residential purposes. By making it official and registering it, Leave it Better made sure that this space will continue to be used exclusively as a green space and for the benefit of the community.

The next step of the transformation was building beds for planting, and filling them with soil and fertilizer. The food can only be planted in beds, and not directly into the soil, because there used to be a building in that site and the soil still has some leftover contaminants in it, that would make their way into the produces. The food is protected by adding clean wood-chips over the garden floor so that metals and other contaminants don’t harm anyone. Leave it Better also built some benches and fences the garden so it would not become, again, a place for bypassers to drop their waste in.

In 2012, the first seeds were planted and the garden came to life.

Ever since the Leave it Better team goes to the garden every week and, with the help of the same kids and volunteers that have made this wonderful project possible, they fertilize, plant, harvest, and take care of many types of edible plants. Through dedication and effort, the garden has produced crops so successful, that the produce has been taken to farmer markets through a partnership with Bronxworks.

This space is also used for events hosted by Leave it Better, such as Harvest Days, when people were invited to help harvest the crop, prepare, and share it with others in a little salad party, or Cooking workshops, using the produce from the garden.

This garden has been a joined effort between Leave it Better and the community, and we want this partnership to keep growing stronger, and for the plants to keep prospering. The biggest beneficiaries of this, both in the long and in the short terms, are the kids, who first acted as a catalyser for the creation of this project.

Want to be a volunteer?

Every Saturday, year round, from 10am to 6pm, Leave it Better goes to the garden, and there are many tasks that need to be done to keep the garden working, and we rely on the support of the community and the volunteers to do that.

We are looking for volunteers that have all kinds of experience and expertise!

Whether you have years of experience in gardening or have always been interested in it and want to learn about it…
Whether you have great carpentry skills or like harvesting and cooking fresh produce…
Whether you’re 10 or 50 years old…
Whether you can be there in the afternoon or in the morning…
Whether you live a block away or on the other side of the city…
Whether you prefer the sunny spring days or the chilly fall days…

The only requirement is that you want to join this collective effort to Leave it Better!

1970 Grand Avenue – 10453, Burnside station, across from PS 306 and MS 331

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search