NYC community gardens say they are threatened by new licensing agreement

Some community gardens in New York City say they are feeling threatened by a new licensing agreement with the city, saying they are being asked to give up too much control of a space they maintain daily without the city’s help.  

The agreement by GreenThumb, the program that operates the gardens, is signed every four years. But some urban gardeners say the new stipulations are making it hard for them to keep their farms open. 

According to the new agreement, fundraisers are limited to two a year, permission is needed and all of the events must follow an approval process. Gardeners say donations cannot be solicited and they must be open 20 hours a week. Gardeners say that events like class trips, cooking classes and donations are what help them keep the gardens open. 

The New York City Parks Department told FOX 5 NY that the overwhelming majority of community gardens, close to 80 percent, had signed and returned the new licenses, saying: “To address gardener feedback, the new agreement specifically allows fundraising activities and lifts the burden of liability from the garden groups.”