[Contributed by Lee Yoke Lee, Youth Garden Facilitator Esty St. Community Garden]


An empty plot of land holds many possibilities. GreenStar Community Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to food justice in Tompkins County, saw the sunny plot as an opportunity for a community garden. The plot belongs to the CFCU Community Credit Union, a local not-for-profit financial institution based in the Finger Lakes region. When it opened a branch along Route 13, plans for a parking lot adjacent to the community credit union fell through. The City of Ithaca municipal government maintained that the lot remain zoned for residential use. Turning lemons to lemonade, CFCU leased the plot to GreenStar Community Projects. Thus, Esty St. Community Garden was born. It became a platform for collaboration: after-school and summer gardening programs; work parties with CFCU employees and community gardeners; donations from garden supply companies; volunteers and expertise from horticulture extension organizations. The Esty St Community Garden continues to build its relationship with food-insecure communities, to empower them with the knowledge to feed themselves and to eat well.

Read also local news item on www.ithaca.com

Private property repurposed as common-pool resource – Esty St. Community Garden in Ithaca, NY
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