BBG certified 15 new graduates of the Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG) program this past January. They join the 60 other community horticulture leaders who have participated since the program’s founding in 2010, with funding from the Campaign for the Next Century. BUG is an intensive ten-week training course in sustainable horticulture and community engagement. Each year, BUGs take the tools they learn in the classroom back to the Brooklyn community with semester-long community service projects. This year’s class split into teams to tackle three challenging projects in school gardening, streetscaping, and community gardening.
After lead-contaminated soil was discovered at P.S. 4 in East New York, one BUG team created an indoor planting space for this special education school to use while the soil outdoors is being remediated. The streetscaping team concentrated on the Ocean Parkway bike path and built a coalition of local organizations to educate the public about street pollution. And alongside the Gowanus Canal, BUGs relocated a rain garden to avoid thick layers of concrete they found beneath the soil.
Urban gardening poses unique challenges, but BUG graduates are bringing communities together to find creative solutions and revitalize their green spaces.