The garden sits at the corner of Himrod Street and Wilson Avenue, and is owned by the Hope Gardens public housing development. But two years ago, the tenants association and school leaders agreed to use it for learning purposes.
Gloria Estrada, longtime tenants association president of Hope Gardens, said the lot was “just grass” for decades and people came to hang out.
“Nobody was using it,” she said. “We said, ‘let’s do something for the children because they’re the future.’”
Principal Maria Vera-Drucker said the students were inspired by environmental design teacher Jeanne Salchli. Vera-Drucker said students also learned about communication, collaboration and how to create through this project.
“You read about the plants and sustainability through a textbook,” she said. “This will give them the hands-on experience.”
Inside the community garden, students began planting basil, cilantro and tomatoes. Vera-Drucker said they’re also learning about insects.
“It’s also healthy for the air,” she said. “We live in an urban community and you don’t get to see a lot of trees because of all the buildings.”
At the school, the students use a small hydroponic lab to learn about plants, the environment and sustainability.
In the next few weeks, the school also plans to have a local artist paint a mural on the wall of the community garden.
The effort, a collaboration among the school, NYCHA and Assemblywoman Maritza Davila’s office, will give students another space to learn.
“It’s been in the making for two years, but now two years later, we get to see the fruits,” Vera-Drucker said. “This is going to be a nice little garden for the community.”