Rooftop Gardening Part 4: Lessons Learned

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Published on September 10th, 2012  |  Discuss This Article  

Rooftop Gardening: Lessons Learned

[Editor’s note: The following guest post is written by Amanda Giddon, summer marketing intern for The Nature Conservancy in New York. This is the final post in a series about urban gardening. Read the first, second and third posts.]

Tending to our rooftop garden and documenting our efforts for social media was one of my projects this summer as the New York City’s marketing intern. Before beginning, I had little experience in a garden — and even less experience in an office. At the end of my first week at work I was astonished by the fervent response of our Facebook followers to the photographs I had posted of several very premature tomato plants. There were not even tomatoes yet! Now, 12 weeks and many Facebook albums later, I am the most avid garden fan, teetering on garden fanatic.

Here’s what I learned from New York City’s rooftop garden:

Small actions have a big impact:
To be excited is a magnificent feeling; to come into the office Monday morning and find that our red peppers had in fact turned red was the most gratifying of victories.      

But my enthusiasm for this garden went beyond peppers. When I learned that New York City spatially houses a “sixth borough” on its rooftops, the implications of our urban garden became very real for me. Our small-scale terrace greenery may not feed the office, but it is in keeping with the trend of increased access to healthy fresh foods, and broadened conservation practices in our city.

Conservation takes community:
There were many hands involved in the preparation and upkeep of the garden. Such is the case with all of the Conservancy’s projects, which capitalize on the staff’s expertise and passion.

I also realized the influence of our supporters. The interest and advice of our social media followers while we were figuring things out in the garden was tremendously encouraging, especially throughout our tomatoes’ bout of blossom end rot. On a grander scale, The Nature Conservancy’s supporters serve as a  motivating force for large-scale conservation endeavors, and continue to enable our successes.

You can be a conservationist no matter where you live:
As I return for my sophomore year at Duke University I am sorry to resign as garden keeper, but  am eager to exercise my knowledge of community and conservation inside and outside the classroom. This all-too-short summer has taught me a great amount about how to tend to a garden, but moreover has enlightened me about how to tend to an urban community thirsting for conservation practices. For this, I am beyond grateful.

[First image: Tomato plants. Second image: Red pepper. Third image: Summer marketing intern Amanda Giddon. Images source: TNC]

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