A project of Trust for Public Land, Taqwa Farms is a unique urban park in that it generates more than 2,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables per year within its two acres. Local families and residents garden on individual and community-managed plots. This farm contains a hydroponics system run by community children, allowing them to grow produce year-round with nutrient-filled water. The gardeners either sell or donate their food at the farmer's market or participate in the Grow & Give table where fresh fruits and vegetables are offered to those in need.
In addition to producing food, this garden provides a place where area residents find tranquility and relaxation. The garden contains a seating area overlooked by a children's mural where children and adults can sit and read, talk, or just listen to the natural sounds of the garden.
This is a project of the Trust for Public Land's Parks for People initiative, which works to ensure that everyone enjoys access to a park, playground, or open space. The philosophy and structure behind the Parks for People.New York City is illustrated in the paragraphs below.
Parks for People.New York City
Identifying the Need
According to the City of New York Department of Planning, 16 of the 18 lowest income Community Board Districts have less than 2.5 acres of open space per thousand residents, which is below the common urban open space standard. Maps developed by the TPL clearly show that the need for safe, accessible parkland is greatest in low-income, high-density neighborhoods. Therefore, this is where the TPL Parks for People program focuses its efforts to create new access to playgrounds, community gardens, and open space.
Acquiring the Land
In 1999, New York City was set to destroy more than 100 community gardens through a public auction. In a last-minute deal reached with the city, TPL agreed to purchase 62 of the gardens. TPL now owns and manages 64 gardens in New York City.
Garden Management and Community Involvement
In 2004, TPL created three nonprofit organizations to take over the ownership and management of the gardens. The Bronx (16 gardens), Brooklyn/Queens (34 gardens), and Manhattan (14 gardens) land trusts each hire staff to work with the boards of directors to raise funds and manage the land trusts. The 15-person board of directors for each land trust includes gardeners and experts elected by the garden members. The boards have the principal responsibility for leading and managing all aspects of the land trusts. Each land trust received $200,000 in start-up funds from TPL and will have opportunities in the future to acquire additional open spaces.
TPL.s goal for the Parks for People program is to invest in each garden to ensure it becomes.and remains.a strong and viable public resource that involves the surrounding community and is responsive to its needs. TPL, through the land trusts, supports grassroots groups that manage gardens, and engages gardeners and civic leaders in long-term oversight of the gardens.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has conserved over two million acres of land nationwide. Since 1978, Trust for Public Land has helped create, expand, protect, and steward more than 250 parks, gardens, and natural areas in New York City.