The Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG) program, endowed in part through BBG’s Campaign for the Next Century, is empowering Brooklyn residents to be urban greening leaders right in their own communities. Participants are given the tools to create greening networks, with lessons in community advocacy, conflict resolution, and resource assessment. “What I got from BUG is the confidence to try new things, the knowledge of how to get started, and who to ask for help,” reports Natalie Sablon, a BUG-certified community member.
BUGs get hands-on training in horticulture techniques, but some of their most valuable lessons come from volunteering out in the community. At the recent BUG graduation it was common to hear students calling on their family, friends, or fellow BUGs to help out at their community gardens.
“This class has been very empowering. It has lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt for a long time. What I’m really taking away is how to build leadership in my community,” says Jason Fuller, who has been volunteering this past semester at a school garden in East New York. This is the BUG mission in action; a growing network of volunteers who can extend the educational resources of BBG and help sustain the community greening efforts throughout Brooklyn.