Big Blooms Overview
*We are currently out of stock. Please put in an application to hold your place in the queue for materials.*
If you are a qualified community garden in NYC, please put in your application now. Supplies are limited, and donations are not guaranteed. Pick-up appointments will be scheduled for approved community gardens.
Please note that the application review process takes approximately two weeks.
Requesting DSNY Compost & Mulch? DSNY’s spring 2014 compost and mulch application period has closed.This spring, DSNY distributed 55,000 bags (over 2 million pounds!) of locally-produced compost and mulch to public greening initiatives in all five boroughs of New York City. The fall 2014 application will be posted on Friday, August 1, 2014. Please check back then to request compost or mulch for your street tree, park, community garden, or other public greening initiative.
Big Reuse's retired scaffolding donation program - Big Blooms - began in late 2011, and has over diverted 108 tons (216,000 pounds!) of retired scaffolding lumber to be re-used as raised garden beds, tree guards, and compost bins for local community and school gardens. That’s enough material for over 2,000 raised garden beds!
Did you know that after scaffolding lumber has been used for construction purposes, it is retired and sent to a landfill, a chipping facility, or to an incinerator? Big Reuse saw an opportunity to help divert the wood from the waste stream and provide free materials to local gardens and community groups.
One of our early donors to this program is local LIC company, United Hoisting and Scaffolding. "I have got to say, it feels great seeing the end result with the product we donate," said Joe Covello, Vice President at UHSC. "Seeing the joy in the people's faces and the benefit we bring to their communities is what make us continue to donate to Big Reuse." Other BIG scaffolding donors include York Scaffolding and New Jersey based, Ace Scaffolding.
Now when you walk past scaffolding being used as a temporary sidewalk shed, you can know that some of those boards may have a second life ahead of them!
Here are some tips on how to plan and build raised garden beds with retired scaffolding lumber:
We recommend that you clean and paint the scaffolding lumber with a non-toxic paint, water based coating, or polypropylene liner. The scaffolding boards are not pressure treated, but may contain chemical from their use onsite. It is impossible for us to test every board. so it is important to take preventative measures when working with salvaged materials. More suggestions from About.com "How To Build Raised Garden Beds"
Here's a growing list of BIG!Blooms Recipients:
Big Blooms Donee Gardens
Sheryll, the coordinator of the Sustainable Flatbush Herb Garden is fascinated by seeds. Though she could have adopted nursery-born seedlings and tucked them into her numerous creative planters, she instead chose to raise a garden family of her own. With a cold frame and some new stepped beds constructed with reclaimed scaffolding lumber from Big Reuse, Sheryll has raised a lush, green garden from an an assortment of tiny, brown orbs.
The herb garden has been in existence since 2010, but prior to the Big Blooms donation was purely a container garden. Since then, various volunteers have contributed to the project: from Chris who is developing the pollinator garden and can name every species of bee in the vicinity, to one of their youngest volunteers who can’t help informing every visitor that he “really like[s] to water the plants!” At present, there are 47 different herbs in the garden including: solarium, sage, basil, motherwort and catnip which the local strays enjoy a little too much.
The Herb Garden is part of an effort to “re-energize” the area around the Flatbush Reformed Church. In addition to the herb garden, there is also a laudable compost initiative at the site which created 1.7 tons of compost last year and a CSA pick-up for a Hudson Valley farm. According to Sheryll, “whoever came up with the expression ‘dirt cheap’ didn’t know what they were talking about,” so they work with the compost initiative to maintain the soil they already have and educate and encourage the community through workshops to appreciate and sustain their local environment.
Some gardens are of this world and some are not. The Roger That Community Garden, is one of those that is truly out of this world. Just inside the fence, soft, weeping branches create a shadow of cool space and an assortment of mismatched furniture makes one expect to find The Mad Hatter and his tea party around the bend. Then, as if passing into another scene of Alice’s fantasy, one is met with a sea of blossoming perennials and blooming boxes all overseen by a striking mural of Mother Nature.
The Roger That Garden was established six years ago, but has only existed in its current form for the past two years, thanks to the work of Coordinator Emily Bell Dinan and her team as well as the kindness of Richard Green, the director of the Youth Collective next door. Said Emily, while her loyal Labrador panted at her feet, “we also wanted to start a garden you could bring dogs into, because we all love dogs!”
Together, the garden volunteers have not only developed within the fence, but also expanded beyond it. Using the reclaimed scaffolding lumber donated by Big Reuse, they have built additional vegetable beds which participating community members help to manage and harvest. They have also worked to beautify the street by constructing planters along the sidewalk with the rest of the Big Blooms scaffolding lumber and filling them with leafy and flowering plants. Participating families and individuals share the work and the harvest because as Emily explains, “more people can be involved if it is communal because we are not limited by a set number of plots.” One of the garden volunteers, Andrea, when asked if she was the “president of the garden” by an intrigued passerby, responded with a smile, “no, just a lowly neighbor who loves to see the community grow.” And so the community has, as evidenced by the brilliant scarlet trumpet vine that blossomed for the first time this summer; an omen, if ever there was one, that this will be a blossoming, blooming year for the galactic garden on Rogers Avenue.
The McIntosh Neighborhood Assn. Garden has been in existence since 1978. They are a registered GreenThumb community garden and also a member garden of Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (BQLT). The garden is senior-led, with Ms. Ada Smothers as the current Garden Leader. The McIntosh garden has been a NY Cares project for more than 10 years and also hosts children in the garden from a nearby private school. Each season they grow vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, perennial and annual flowers; they have two active compost bins and a number of rain collection barrels. They are always seeking new, younger members from the surrounding neighborhoods to help sustain this community garden.
With the Big Blooms lumber they received this spring, they have built 3 new raised beds and have been able to repair/replace old boards for more than 10 existing raised beds.
Solar One's Green Design Lab (TM) is an in-depth curriculum and program focused on greening New York City schools. The Green Design Lab curriculum looks at the school building as both a laboratory for learning and a tool for environmental change. Using a creative approach to problem solving, 4th-12th grade students participate in activities that incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to explore and then implement what they have learned by saving energy and creating schoolwide sustainability projects.
East New York Farms (Summer 2012)
The mission of the East New York Farms Project is to organize youth and adults to address food justice in our community by promoting local sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development.
Project: Brownsville Student Farm Project (Spring/Summer 2012)
There are thousands of acres of abandoned lots in New York owned by the city. We are starting with a space in Brownsville. At the corner of Sutter and Rockaway Avenue, across from Public School 323, is our sunny 8,000 square foot corner lot, currently full of weeds and trash. We will transform this lot into a urban teaching farm that will beautify the neighborhood, educate local youth, and provide a source of fresh produce for the community. Read an interview with founder Nora Painten here.
Project: Sprout Farms (Spring 2012)
Sprout Farms is a project dedicated to urban agriculture. We are fiscally sponsored by Open Space Institute, Inc. through its Citizen Action Program. Sprout establishes educational spaces for students and community members to learn about food systems through gardens and projects related to the food and waste cycle. Sprout partners with schools to develop educational programming to teach plant care, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Sprout's summer programming connects students and their communities with food production during the peak growing season to provide a deeper understanding of the food we eat. Sprout works to reduce its impact on the environment by using recycled and refurbished materials and partnering with like-minded organizations.
Project: Queens Botanical Garden - Inter-generational Garden (Spring/Summer 2012)
From thematic gardens and historic plantings recalling QBG’s World’s Fair origins to new gardens showcasing native species and sustainable landscape practices, our collections represent the expert horticultural knowledge, artistry, and commitment to environmental education and public service that have been hallmarks of QBG for more than 60 years.
Project: Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (Spring/Summer 2012)
"Grounded in Community Gardens in Brooklyn and Queens, New York City"
Thanks to the generous support of BIG!BLOOMS, a program of Big Reuse, BQLT has been able to deliver nearly one hundred pieces of lumber to seven BQLT community gardens in Brooklyn and Queens so far this season. The lumber is repurposed from retired scaffolding boards and is used to build raised vegetable beds, an excellent second use for this material. BQLT looks forward to receiving more lumber and distributing it to additional gardens this Spring.
|If you are a scaffolding, or building material supply company looking to make a donation, please contact our Donations director at 718-732-4143 or Donate@bignyc.org.|