Liability concerns threaten existence of Bronx community gardens

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Volunteers who run community gardens throughout the Bronx fear the green space they take pride in may become non-existent if an agreement is not reached with the NYC Parks Department.

The Parks Department renews the licenses of community gardens every four years, but those who run the gardens say the new agreement has raised concern over issues of liability.

Nancy Ortiz is the co-founder of La Finca Farm/Garden on 138th Street and Grand Concourse, a garden that has been around for a decade. Ortiz says before she signs a new license with GreenThumb, which oversees community gardens, she wants some clarification on the language in that license.

Ortiz says the license seems to put too much weight on the volunteers who run the gardens.

Ortiz reached out to the Parks Department and was told that the goal is to make the gardens more accessible and bring more events to the gardens. However, Parks Department officials didn't comment on the liability concern.

Ortiz says without clarification, the regulations could dissuade volunteers and threaten the very existence of community gardens.

The deadline to sign the agreement was extended to Sept. 28. Parks department officials say they have received 180 of the 353 licenses they are expecting.

 

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