All NYRP community gardens hold a minimum of 20 open hours per week. Please check the bulletin board at the garden for times and details.
- Sponsored By
- Rodale Family Foundation
- Garden Designer
- Billie Cohen
The Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden was originally established in the early 1990s by local residents. It was partially abandoned until 1998, when the nearby Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA), which operates a social services organization in the neighborhood, reclaimed the garden by clearing the space and building planting beds. The LSA group, comprised mainly of immigrants from Mexico, had raised high-yield crops of hearty vegetables including radishes, tomatoes, squash, cilantro and papalo, a popular Mexican herb.
I dearly love being a member of the Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden. For me, the garden is a peaceful oasis for reading a book, a beautiful site to host barbeques, and a fascinating laboratory where every seedling that comes up in my plot feels like a miracle.Lucia Russett
In 2003 this space received a generous gift from the Rodale Family Foundation for capital improvements and garden revitalization. Working with community members and renowned landscape designer Billie Cohen, NYRP construction and horticultural crews re-imagined the site – installing secure fencing, landscaped common areas and 17 raised vegetable beds. In addition, NYRP staff built and installed a number of innovative, eco-friendly amenities, including a 1,100-gallon rainwater collection system, a composting toilet and a garden shed and meeting room created with sustainable straw-bale construction techniques. In addition to funding the garden’s restoration and endowment, Rodale also organized the donation of supplies from garden-industry advertisers to help community members maintain their newly renovated green space – including watering cans, tomato cages and gardening tools.
Today, Rodale Pleasant Park’s membership numbers dozens of regular gardeners and there is a waiting list among community members for gardening spaces. Although vegetable growing is its primary activity, the garden also features areas designed for ornamental gardening and group gatherings including a colorful, tile patio mosaic designed by neighborhood children.
Located in East Harlem, this 9,800-square-foot garden spans a full block of open space – encompassing three lots – and sits across the street from Thomas Jefferson Park. Located near the New York City Housing Authority’s Jefferson Houses, several schools, apartment buildings and small businesses – the Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden serves a busy and growing neighborhood.