Queens residents with a green thumb will now be able to grow their own herbs and flowers through a cross-borough initiative launched by the Queens Borough President on Thursday.
The program, “Queens Summer Seeds 2020,” will distribute seed planter sets to residents throughout the borough to plant and grow their own herbs and flowers. Funded by Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and organized in partnership with the Queens Botanical Garden and other local groups, the initiative is designed to promote wellness and provide a healthy, stress-releasing activity for adults and youth in Queens, a press release announcing the program said.
“The year 2020 has brought with it substantial challenges to the wellness of Queens families,” said Lee. “Seeds symbolize potential, growth and renewal. On this road to recovery and rebuild, this is just one of the cross-borough partnerships intended to help flip the script on 2020 and sow a brighter future for Queens, one sprouting seedling at a time.”
The Queens Botanical Garden secured 2,020 seed planters sets. The sets come with two pre-potted seeds that can be grown in the pot or transferred to an outdoor garden. Half of the 2,020 sets are a mix of herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme or chives. The other half are floral mixes and poppy seeds. It takes three weeks for seeds to sprout, according to the release.
The sets which will be distributed to community boards across Queens, community based organizations and NYCHA communities with active community gardens with the hopes that they will provide residents with an activity to enjoy for the summer.
“Together, we will bring a little green into the home of thousands of Queens residents,” said Susan Lacerte, the executive director of the Queens Botanical Garden.
Queens residents can request a planter by reaching out to their local community board.
Along with the planter sets, participating organizations will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer. Some of the organizations participating are 100 Suits for 100 Men in Jamaica, the BlaQue Resource Network serving Southeast Queens, LIFE Camp, INC. in Jamaica and Hour Children in Long Island City.
Some of the NYCHA communities are the NYCHA Pomonok Houses in Flushing, NYCHA Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City and NYCHA Woodside Houses in Woodside.
Aleeia Abraham, the founder of the BlaQue Resource Network said that the planter sets will help her community where finding fresh food isn’t always easy.
“The most immediate solution for our residents is to grow our own produce and herbs,” she said.
At the NYCHA Pomonok Houses, Resident Association President Tamika Williams-Moore said that the planter sets will contribute to their ongoing beautification efforts.
“While adhering to social distancing protocol, we have been able to take on small projects that improve the aesthetic view of our community while fostering a boost in community morale,” said Williams-Moore. “When the residents of Pomonok Houses resume their normal activity, they will be able to open their doors to gardens of new opportunity.”