“Queens Summer Seeds 2020” Program Promotes Education and Healthy Living through Gardening

(August 6, 2020 at 11:20am)

QUEENS, NY – Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and the Queens Botanical Garden, together with key partners, today announced the launch of the “Queens Summer Seeds 2020” program — a cross-borough initiative to promote wellness and provide a healthy, stress-releasing activity for Queens youth and adults alike through gardening.

Funded by Borough President Lee and secured by the Queens Botanical Garden, a total of 2,020 seed planter sets — symbolizing rebirth and recovery following the unprecedented challenges our borough has faced thus far in 2020, while providing Queens residents with an activity to enjoy in a summer where options for leisure are limited — will be distributed to Queens Community Boards, as well as community-based organizations and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) communities with either active community gardens or similar wellness initiatives throughout Queens.

“The year 2020 has brought with it substantial challenges to the wellness of Queens families,” said Borough President 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.”

“We thank the Office of the Queens Borough President for being such wonderful community partners in distributing these adorable planters,” said Queens Botanical Garden Executive Director SUSAN LACERTE. “Together, we will bring a little green into the homes of thousands of Queens residents.”

Each planter set includes two pre-potted seeds that can be grown either in the provided pot or transferred to an outdoor garden. Approximately half of the 2,020 sets feature a mix of common herbs — basil, parsley, thyme or chives — while the remaining sets feature a floral mix of impatiens and poppy seeds. The seedlings should sprout from the soil in approximately three weeks, bringing with them a sense of optimism and endurance ahead of an unprecedented school year and fall season.

Each participating organization will also receive personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer along with the seed planter sets, as the ultimate success of the borough’s continued recovery and rebuild hinge upon remaining vigilant and maximizing safety.

Organizations receiving the sets, to be used in existing programming or distributed amongst Queens residents, include:

Queens residents may also request a planter by contacting their local Queens Community Board. Contact information for all 14 Queens Community Boards can be found at www.queensbp.org/community-boards.

“LIFE Camp, Inc. looks forward to bringing the seed planters into our community so our residents can grow their own fresh herbs for healthy meals and immune building,” said LIFE Camp, Inc. Director of Therapeutic and Wellness Services KHEPERAH KEARSE. “We are grateful to the Queens Botanical Garden and Queens Borough President Sharon Lee for their partnership and making this possible.”

“100 Suits is very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Seed Kit Initiative to expand our quality hands-on efforts with our senior citizens,” said 100 Suits for 100 Men Founder KEVIN LIVINGSTON. “This seed kit initiative offers tokens of joy by providing rewarding hands-on activities that foster continued growth and a valued sense of purpose for our seniors. We truly appreciate the Queens Botanical Garden and Queens Borough President Sharon Lee for providing such an opportunity that greatly benefits each and every one of our seniors.”

“The Jackson Heights Beautification Group is proud to partner with Queens Borough President Lee on the Seed Kits program,” said Jackson Heights Beautification Group President EDWIN O’KEEFE WESTLEY. “We have created 15 Green Zones within Jackson Heights and Woodside so this would be a natural extension of our plants program. Within the Green Zones we have 3 vegetable gardens; all on public lands.”

“In my community, access to fresh food is not as easy as other parts of the city,” said BlaQue Resource Network Founder ALEEIA ABRAHAM. “The most immediate solution for our residents is to grow our own produce and herbs.”

“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 NYCHA Pomonok Houses Resident Association President TAMIKA 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.”

“On behalf of all of us at I.S.61, we want to thank the Queens Borough President’s Office for their efforts in rebuilding our community. The Queens Borough President’s Office helped feed our students and their families in Corona and Elmhurst, two of the hardest hit regions by COVID-19, and made many food donations over the last few months and we will forever be grateful,” said I.S. 61 Teacher SABIA DIN. “They are now providing our students with seed kits as part of a wellness program. Thank you to the Queens Borough President’s Office for caring for our students and our community. We appreciate all the help that you have given us.”

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