Grow Your Own

Three ways to embrace your inner locavore (backyard plot strictly optional),
plus Carter Berg’s photos of the DIY gardens that spawned NYC’s agrarian moment
From rooftop farms in Brooklyn to fire-escape gardens on the Lower East Side to the farm-to-table restaurants that dominate the city’s culinary landscape, New York is veritably abloom with locavore vibes.
That wasn’t always the case, though. Back in the 1970s, the city was littered with disused vacant lots that were more blight than blessing. Enter the community garden movement, which in the decades since has transformed those once-crumbling lots and other unoccupied spaces across the city into more than 600 verdant oases amid the concrete jungle. We asked Carter Berg, author of the book New York Snapshots, to shoot a few of his favorites. Click through the slideshow below, then read on for tips on how any city dweller can embrace his or her inner locavore, with minimal effort—and acreage—required.
  • Oasis Community Garden in Hell’s Kitchen
  • Oasis Community Garden in Hell’s Kitchen
  • Oasis Community Garden in Hell’s Kitchen
  • Oasis Community Garden in Hell’s Kitchen
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village
  • 6th and B Garden in the East Village
  • 6th and B Garden in the East Village
  • 6th and B Garden in the East Village
  • Green Oasis Community Garden in the East Village
  • 6th and B Garden in the East Village
  • 6th and B Garden in the East Village
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AMIEL STANEK is on the editorial staff at Bon Appétit. He previously wrote for RL Mag about the development of Ralph’s Coffee.
  • ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARTER BERG @CARTERLBERG