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In May 2010, the fenced lot across the street from PS 306 and MS 331 resembled an abandoned landfill. Leave It Better had just begun work in both schools, and the students showed great enthusiasm for gardening.

With the guidance of a teacher in PS 306, Leave It Better learned about the neglected lot, and saw the potential to turn it into a resource for the entire neighborhood.

With the help of volunteers in the neighborhood, the Leave It Better team collected garbage and remodeled.  On Saturdays, kids showed up to lead the process, along with parents and other members of the community. In February 2011, the garden officially became a Green Thumb Garden, which means that it is now a reserved green space and it can’t be developed or used for commercial or residential purposes. By making it official and registering it, Leave It Better made sure that this space will continue to be used exclusively as a green space and for the benefit of the community.

The next step of the transformation was building beds for planting, and filling them with soil and fertilizer. The food can only be planted in beds, and not directly into the soil, because there used to be a building in that site and the soil still has some leftover contaminants, that would make their way into the produce. The food is protected by adding clean wood chips over the garden floor so that metals and other contaminants don’t harm anyone.

This garden has been a joint effort between Leave It Better, PS 306 & MS 331, Councilmember Cabrera’s office, and the community. We want this partnership to keep growing stronger, and for the plants to keep prospering. The biggest beneficiaries of this, both in the long and in the short term, are the kids, who first acted as a catalysts for the creation of this project.


Visit our Vimeo page to see more documentaries made by our students.

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