The mission of the Dorothy K. McGowan Community Garden is too empower and uplift community residents through providing a green space that increases the social capital of the neighborhood by providing access and opportunity too engage in educational hands-on-learning workshops in cultural food histories, sustainable gardening practices such as organic gardening and on-site composting, healthy living practices and the engagement of youth in programs that provide hands-on leadership and lifeskill training in activities which are charitable and educational surrounding urban conservation, civic planning and the love of gardening.
We envision a culturally diverse and sustainable urban green space in which the community finds opportunities to better their physical and mental health by engaging in educational, cultural and leadership workshops increasing the communities social capital and empowering a new generation of ethical leaders.
The garden values and seeks a diverse membership. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, sex, color, disability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, level of education, geography, national or ethnic origin.
Our culture, language, history, and values are vital to uniting us a community.
We seek to build unity and leadership in the community and uplift and empower the existing strengths within a community. We believe wealth and power are found in social capital and health.
We have a duty to protect, preserve, and empower our communities. We recognize that the burdens of pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change are not shared equitably and we seek to support environmental education and justice efforts through our actions.
We engage in partnerships that are horizontal and mutually beneficial. We strive for cooperation and teamwork rather than competition. We intend to be grassroots oriented, both internally and externally.
Recognizing we are kin to all living things, we will be wise with our resources- cultural, community, ecological, and financial.
We strive to embody racial, social and economic equity in all facets of our work, including internal operations, program design and access, working relationships, and community engagement. We affirm and respect cultural heritage and self-determination.
We recognize that the barriers to community health and wealth are systemic and so we seek to advance change through community education and providing opportunity for youth to engage in hands-on leadership training in a culturally enriched green environment. We provide opportunities for the community to take part in hands-on learning about sustainable food, healthy lifestyles, and nutrition.
We embrace the richness of multiple perspectives, value all voices, encourage innovation, embody a culture of reflection and adaption, and lift up community wisdom.
We believe in the power of authentic relationships and that lasting change is not achieved through economic transactions alone. Transformation also comes from strengthening networking and shared learning between community groups which builds resilient communities where neighbors grow, share, eat and thrive together.
We support uplifting immigrants in reconnecting with their agricultural roots and culturally relevant food crops.
Creative adaptability is the key to successful conservation.
The Dorothy K. McGowan Garden was founded in 1995. Dorothy was a dedicated community activist with the Community League Of The Heights who convinced the Trust for Public Land and CENYC to provide technical and material support in transforming an empty lot that was a six foot tall mountain of garbage in a community green space. Dorothy's guiding hand created a renewed space with vegetable beds, ornamental plants, bluestone pathways, an arbor, and a flagstone patio interlaid with bricks. Local residents also built wood tables and benches. Children from local schools would come for Easter egg hunts and other activities in the garden. Originally called the League Garden; Dorothy lived to see the completion of this open space that now bears her name unfortunately shortly after her passing the garden fell into disrepair for over a decade once again becoming a empty abandoned lot collecting garbage.
A dedicated group of local residents have fired up community interest in the green space and formed a new garden steering committee that has partnered with the NYC Parks Department Green Thumb program to redevelop the unused space in the fall of 2017. The gardens renewed mission is too empower and uplift community residents through providing a green space that increases the social capital of the neighborhood and provides access and opportunity too engage in educational hands-on-learning workshops in culturally diverse food histories, sustainable gardening practices such as organic gardening and on-site composting, healthy living practices and the engagement of youth in programs that provide hands-on leadership and lifeskill training in activities which are charitable and educational surrounding conservation, civic planning and the love of gardening. The garden is a participating garden host of the 2018 and 2019 NYC Parks Youth Leadership Council program.