Parks’ GreenThumb program launches virtual gardening classes


Calling all green thumbs!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s social distancing orders may have forced the cancellation of many city Parks Department workshops and in-person activities, but all hope is not lost! The agency has gone digital, offering free virtual gardening classes and workshops — just in time for Earth Day.

GreenThumb, the largest program of its kind in the nation, is going virtual for a series of lunchtime workshops throughout the months of April and May. The Lunch with GreenThumb programming offers more than 20 free virtual classes workshops for Brooklynites looking to utilize their green thumbs while spring blooms outside.

Due to overcrowding, all community gardens are closed indefinitely to the public — and GreenThumb’s annual GrowTogether festival has been canceled, “but we’ve still got some great workshops lined up to get you gardening this season!” said New York City Parks GreenThumb. “Join us for a series of online workshops to dig in, grow food, and keep your community garden going while following health and safety protocols.”

Virtual classes and workshops will cover topics that would have been discussed at the conference, which was scheduled to take place on April 4 and 5. With the forced cancellation of the typically crowded event, Bill LoSasso, director of GreenThumb, said the program plans to help people experience the conference as much as they can from home.

“If we can’t bring the gardeners to the conference we will bring the conference to the gardeners,” LoSasso said. “Our goal is to remind people as they are stuck indoors, that nature is still out there and even though we can’t interact with it in the ways we hoped to, we can still find ways to connect with nature.” 

GreenThumb is also hosting a free, all-day virtual Earth Day event, beginning in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 22, featuring an array of different workshops and concluding with a musical performance from Toshi Reagon and a keynote address from Leah Penniman, food justice activist and co-founder of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York.

“Were devastated to see the garden season come like this, but we’re optimistic that this too shall pass, and we will be able to get back out there and garden again together soon,” LoSasso said. 

For a full list of offered classes and events, visit the GreenThumb section of the Parks Department’s website. You can register for free via Eventbrite in order to receive the webinar link.