Liz Christy, community garden builder

Liz Christy was a founder of the urban community garden group, Green Guerillas. She was the first Director of the Council on the Environment, in New York City’s Open Space Greening Program and LCBH garden was the first winner of the American Forestry Association’s ‘Urban Forestry Award.’ In 1973, Liz Christy and a group of gardening activists were planting window boxes, vacant lots with ‘seed bombs’ and tree pits in the area. They saw the large rubble-strewn lot as a potential garden and in December went to the City to find a way to gain official use of the land. Volunteers hauled the garbage and rubble out, spread donated topsoil, installed a fence and began planting. In 1974 they received permission to use the space for $1 a month. The first year, sixty raised beds were planted with vegetables, and then trees and herbaceous borders were added.

The garden she founded and that is named for her is on Houston Street and Bowery (the NorthEast corner). The first community garden in the five boroughs of New York, it is one of the earliest community gardens in the northeastern United States and where you can find the tallest Dawn Redwood tree in NYC as well as hundreds of plants native to North America. This garden sparked a neighborhood garden movement throughout all the boroughs of NYC and the green guerrillas held workshops on how to start a community garden.

Liz Christy Garden is open to the public on Saturday from noon until 4PM, all year, on Sundays from noon until 4 PM, May to October, and Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. till dusk from May until October.

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