Strengthening a Community One Fresh Veggie At a Time

Lucy’s an incredibly busy and fierce woman- a humble hero of Yonkers. She’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the real, hard work of changing the landscape of a community. And what better leader than this to pioneer the Greyston Community Gardens program.

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Since Greyston’s early years, the Community Gardens program has played a critical role  in strengthening Yonkers. The program grew out of a desire to create safe public place for children and adults to join together and enjoy nature. Since its humble beginnings, Greyston’s Community Gardens have grown into nine beautiful plots under the direction of Lucy, who calls these gardens ‘little pieces of heaven in Yonkers.’

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The program’s multi-faceted nature builds a healthy neighborhood, creates beautiful space amidst a struggling community and fosters self-sufficiency, curiosity and leadership skills in our children. Hundreds of Yonkers residents join the free Community Gardens program and are assigned a plot. These garden members take care of the plot, growing vegetables, watering, removing trash and harvesting. They take the bounty of fresh veggies from their plot home to create healthy meals for their families. The impact of community gardens on a city littered with fast food restaurants and devoid of stores to purchase fresh produce and vegetables is simply immeasurable.

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Lucy understands the importance of creating opportunities for youth, particularly in neighborhoods deeply affected by poverty. Stemming from a desire to provide safe learning and play environments for children, she created an Enviro-Earth Club- a program that runs within the Community Gardens and beyond. Each week, children gather and experience fun, informative lessons created to instill healthy, sustainable eating habits at an early age. Science lessons formulated to create inquisitive minds keep children interested. And, the students present their learnings to each other, developing leadership skills all while having fun outdoors.  Lucy’s ultimate goal remains: ‘creating a place that I wanted to have for my children- a positive place for children to learn, explore, grow and succeed.’

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And in keeping with the Greyston way, Lucy has inspired several of her interns to replicate the Community Gardens program across the nation. One of her recent proteges is currently working at creating a model in Baltimore.

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It’s incredible how much a garden and a tiny but powerful lady can accomplish. Yonkers residents benefit from beautiful public space, fresh vegetables and a place for their children to safely roam and explore.  Strength, beauty, passion and community live in these tiny plots across a city often rejected as crime-ridden and dejected. Come visit. Pick up some tools and chat with the lady who makes this all happen. She’ll knock your socks off.

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