US (NY): How an abandoned Brooklyn lot will become a future hub for student learning and urban agriculture

After a decade-long effort, the city will transform a once abandoned lot into a communal gardening and learning space for students and local residents in Brooklyn’s Bergen Beach.

The city broke ground on the 2.2-acre garden last year, and construction is now underway, said District 22 Superintendent Julia Bove, who has been working on the garden’s development for about as long as she’s been a superintendent. The concept came about after Carol Pino, a parent coordinator at P.S. 312, raised concerns about a nearby garbage-strewn lot, which was owned by the city’s Education Department.

“The community saw it as an eyesore,” Bove said. “We decided to make something that would be not only fitting for the students in the community but the adults in the community and the community at large.” The distinction in scale is a key part of the project, and the community focus will set this “learning” garden apart from a typical school garden, officials said.

Having access to gardens or green spaces — from indoor windowsill gardens to outdoor vegetable beds — has become increasingly popular at New York City schools. Nearly 70% of public school buildings have access to such green spaces, with more than 1,200 schools reporting having a garden in the 2021-22 school year, according to the city’s Education Department.


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