project leader
Dan L
421 Chester Street
Brooklyn (421 Chester Street (Brownsville); 614 Marcy Ave (Bed-Stuy); 373 Dewitt (East New York); 832 Knickerbocker (Bushwick))
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the project

Services for the UnderServed (SUS) is a non-profit organization which provides supportive housing and services to some of New York City’s most vulnerable individuals:  those with histories of mental illness and homelessness, those with developmental disabilities, and those living with HIV and AIDS.  Since 1978, SUS has helped thousands of individuals to live with dignity in the community, direct their own lives and attain personal fulfillment.

In line with this mission, SUS has created large organic gardens at four of its supportive housing programs in Brooklyn, including: The Knickerbocker Residence for Homeless Veterans in Bushwick, The Chester Residence in Brownsville, The Dewitt Residence in East New York, and The Marcy Hart Residence in Bed- Stuy.  

In the 2011 season, these gardens collectively yielded over 1200 pounds of fresh, organic produce  – tomatoes, peppers, collard greens, chard, eggplant, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuces, salad greens, and herbs –  all shared by the residents at each program. Beyond providing access to free organic produce, the Urban Gardening Program also provides much-needed part-time employment to several SUS consumers. Last season, eight SUS consumers were hired and trained as Urban Gardening Assistants and were responsible for running these four gardens from April through November.

We are currently seeking funds to help the Urban Gardening Program at SUS continue to grow in 2012. Donations will be used to purchase compost, soil, seedlings, and garden supplies and will also help SUS continue to employ its consumers in this program.

SUS locations:

1)      CHESTER: 421 Chester Street; Brooklyn, NY 11212

2)      MARCY: 614 Marcy Ave; Brooklyn, NY 11206

3)      DEWITT: 373 Dewitt Ave; Brooklyn, NY 11207

4)      KNICKERBOCKER: 832 Knickerbocker Ave; Brooklyn 11207

the steps

February:  Meet with residents at each program to determine what vegetables will be grown. Re-hire trained SUS consumers and hire new SUS garden trainees. Determine volunteer opportunities at each site. Order seedlings from Urban Oasis. Order soil and compost from McEnroe Organic Farm.

March: Deliver soil and compost to each site. Build three new raised beds at Dewitt. Mix compost into all raised beds at all garden sites. Repair damage to raised beds, bird-netting, and cover cloth. Purchase and deliver all necessary gardening supplies and tools to each site. Begin recruiting and organizing volunteers.

April: Begin gardening training and workshops. Deliver seeds and seedlings and begin planting!

why we're doing it

The Urban Gardening Program addresses a number of challenges faced by the individuals living in SUS supportive housing:

1) ACCESS TO FRESH, ORGANIC VEGETABLES: These gardens are located in neighborhoods considered to be “food deserts” and without this program many SUS residents would have little or no access to fresh, organic vegetables. In 2012, the gardens will provide over seventy-five SUS consumers with organic produce on a weekly basis, from June through November.

2) HORTICULTURAL THERAPY: These gardens provide therapeutic environments for individuals with histories of mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse issues. Those who were involved with the Urban Gardening program in 2011 spoke about how it helped them with their recoveries and had given them a real sense of pride, accomplishment, and belonging.

3) EMPLOYMENT: The Urban Gardening program at SUS will provide several SUS consumers with valuable part-time jobs, helping these individuals become more financially independent and job-ready. 


Soil and Compost Costs: $ 1,925.00 Seeds and Seedlings: $ 650.00 Gardening tools and supplies: $ 2,400.00 Garden Employee PAY: $ 12,950.00 project total = $17,925 3% third party credit card processing fee = $537.75 ioby materials and labor = $35 Total to Fundraise = $18,497.75 New project total = $3387 New 3% third party credit card processing fee = $102 New ioby materials and labor =$35 New total = $3524


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