Along with community partners, the two entities launched the “Queens Summer Seeds 2020” program, a borough-wide initiative aimed at promoting wellness and healthy stress relief through gardening.
The program will deliver a total of 2,020 seed kits to Queens residents, each containing two pre-potted seeds that can be grown as-is or transferred to an outdoor garden.
Roughly half of the planter sets include herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme and chives, while the rest feature a floral mix of impatiens and poppies.
If grown right away, the seeds are expected to sprout from the soil within three weeks, just in time to welcome in the fall season.
“Seeds symbolize potential, growth and renewal,” said Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee. “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.”
Kits will be distributed, along with PPE and hand sanitizer, through Queens Community Boards and local organizations, as well as NYCHA communities in Far Rockaway, Flushing, South Jamaica, Long Island City and Woodside.
Some of the participating community-based organizations plan to incorporate the seed planters into existing efforts. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group, for example, will use the kids as an extension of its 15 Green Zones located in Jackson Heights and Woodside, three of which include vegetable gardens.
According to founder Kevin Livingston, Jamaica’s 100 Suits for 100 Men anticipates using the planters to expand its work with seniors in the community. The nonprofit has previously collaborated with the Office of the Queens Borough President on a summer youth employment that combats food insecurity among seniors, which kicked off in July.
“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,” explained Livingston.
Additional organizations involved in the “Queens Summer Seeds 2020” program are BlaQue Resource Network, Brigada de Esperanza NY, Fathers Alive in the Hood (F.A.I.T.H.), Friends of Hunters Point Library, Hour Children, LIFE Camp, Queens Community House, Rockaway Youth Task Force, Transitional Services for New York, Inc. and I.S. 61 school in Corona.