Saving the World One Garden at a Time

Gardener's Supply Company pitches in on first international community garden project.

| May 2016

  • More than fifty people at the UN are participating in the new community garden project.
    Photo courtesy Gardener's Supply Company
  • Gardener's Supply Company provided seed starting success kits with soil and plant markers to allow office workers to grow food and flowers from seeds on their windowsills.
    Photo courtesy Gardener's Supply Company

When the United Nations wanted to get gardening this spring, they called Gardener’s Supply Company for help. Gardener’s Supply is one of only a handful of companies tapped to help grow the first community garden on international territory at the UN in New York.

“Gardener’s Supply Company is clearly interested in sustainability, environmentalism and the other values this garden is designed to promote” says spokesperson Catherine Zanev, Coordinator for UN Food Gardens Initiatives.

A UN staffer came up with the idea of an international community garden last year: “We realized that there’s so much lawn and so much concrete and so much unused space that could be used so much more sustainably and productively,” says Zanev. 

The core gardening team of about ten UN staff members are managing and organizing the work but overall there are more than 50 people participating. “And all of them just love this idea of taking a break from their daily work in front of the screen and going out and getting their hands dirty and doing something where they see immediate results. They can smell the flowers and smell the soil and see the earthworms and just be a little bit connected to nature … at least as much as is possible in Manhattan,” adds Zanev. “Many of them had never planted a seed or grown anything. And they’re from all over the world. We had a Filipino lady who had never gardened — another lady from Indonesia; they all were so excited to start a little garden on their windowsill.”

For starters, Gardener’s Supply Company provided fifty “GrowEase,” seed starting success kits, complete with soil and plant markers, allowing office workers to grow food and flowers from seeds on their workplace windowsills. UN workers have grown a variety of seedlings including kale, okra, quinoa, peppers, tomatoes, purple basil, purple cauliflower, marigolds and nasturtiums. The seedlings have now been transplanted into ten raised beds along with two wildflower beds for pollinators (bees, butterflies and hummingbirds). The garden also features a dogwood tree, composter and even mason bees.

“Gardener’s Supply Company also has plans to help expand the garden by providing composting products and mason bee houses,” says company spokesperson Claudia Marshall. “We’re really proud to be supporting an international community gardening effort focused on sustainability.”

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