Greenest Block in Brooklyn

Greenest Block In Brooklyn

It's more fun together!

"The contest has caused a resurgence of pride, friendship, and cooperation among the residents." —2017 Participant

#GreenestBlockInBrooklyn

See this year’s winners!

About the Greenest Block in Brooklyn

Round up your neighbors and enter your block in Brooklyn’s friendliest competition.

The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest is free and open to all residential blocks, commercial blocks, and community gardens in Brooklyn.

Participants can attend a free workshop, How to Green Your Block, at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and host a free interactive, walk-and-talk block visit, led by BBG staff, to learn about their block’s greening opportunities. Contest winners are revealed in August, and dozens of prizes are awarded for greening efforts.

Garden together to make your block more beautiful, friendly, and green!

Application

Registration is closed for 2018. Please enter next year!

Award Categories and Prizes

Award Categories

  • Best Overall Residential Block
  • Best Overall Commercial Block
  • Best Window Box
  • Greenest Storefront
  • Best Street Tree Beds
  • Best Community Garden Streetscape
  • Special Commendations
  • National Grid Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award
    This annual award goes to a block or community garden engaged in a highly visible ecological practice such as use of sub-irrigated planters, rainwater capture, found materials “upcycling,” companion planting, drip irrigation, community composting, and gardening for pollinators and other wildlife.

Prizes

First prize is a $300 check for each top residential and commercial block winner. All other winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $100 to $200, and each will be awarded a recognition certificate.

Winners will be announced in August 2018 at a press conference held on the winning residential block.

Contest participants who attend the fall recognition ceremony will also receive a gift bag of fall bulbs and a certificate of recognition for their participation.

Walk-and-talk block visits are offered for entering blocks on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit Walk-and-Talks or call 718-623-7250 to apply.

Rules, Prizes & Judging Criteria

Rules for Residential Blocks

The purpose of the contest is to promote streetscape gardening in the borough of Brooklyn through block associations and other community groups. For more information, email [email protected] or call 718-623-7250.

  • Applications must be entered online by Friday, June 1, 2018.
  • Entrants must represent more than one person, i.e., block association, civic group, or neighborhood organization. Ad-hoc groups are welcome!
  • Entrants enter each block both sides of the street, corner to corner. If you represent more than one block, enter each block separately.
  • Entered blocks are judged solely by what can be seen from the street.
  • There is a separate category for commercial/business blocks. However, storefronts on residential blocks are eligible for the Greenest Storefront award.
  • The first-prize residential winner from last year may not enter the contest this year.
  • Monetary awards (in the form of a check) are given in all contest categories to block organizations that win or place. Awards are also given to individuals for best window box and greenest storefront.
  • Prizes for best window box are awarded to individuals on entering blocks. Window boxes must be positioned at a window to be considered for this award.

Rules for Commercial Blocks

  • Applications must be entered online by Friday, June 1, 2018.
  • Entrants must be a merchant association, development corporation, business improvement district, or other nonprofit business association. Ad-hoc groups are welcome!
  • Each commercial entry represents one side of the street only, corner to corner. If you represent more than one side of any block, enter each side separately.
  • Entered blocks are judged solely by what can be seen from the street.
  • The first-prize commercial winner from the last year may not enter the contest this year.
  • Monetary awards (in the form of a check) are given in all contest categories to block organizations that win or place. Awards are also given to individuals for best window box and greenest storefront.
  • Prizes for best window box are awarded to individuals on entering blocks. Window boxes must be positioned at a window to be considered for this award.

Contest Judging Criteria (Residential and Commercial)

  • Citizen Participation
    What efforts indicate community involvement, such as street tree maintenance, signage, community gardens, or shared gardening areas? Are most buildings visibly participating in greening and gardening? Are children taking part in greening efforts?
  • Street Tree Stewardship
    Has soil or mulch been piled inappropriately at the tree’s base? Are trees receiving enough water? Are there tree guards, and are they well designed? Are there appropriate plantings or mulch in the beds? Do tree limbs need inspection or pruning by the Parks Department?
  • Plant Suitability and Variety
    Are the “right plants in the right place,” i.e., sun loving in the sun, shade loving in the shade? Are there diverse kinds of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers? Are native plants being used?
  • Horticultural Practices and Maintenance
    Are plants receiving adequate water? Too much? Are weeds under control or outcompeting other plants? Are shrubs pruned appropriately? Is there a lot of litter on the block? (Blocks won’t be penalized if the judging visit is the same day as sanitation pickup and garbage cans are on sidewalks.)
  • Soil Stewardship and Mulching
    Is mulch being used appropriately around plantings? Is it the right depth and distance from plant stems/trunks? Are groundcovers being used? Is the soil exposed and/or compacted? Does it appear that compost is being used?
  • Creativity and Total Visual Effect
    What creative efforts to green up and beautify the block are noticeable? What is the visual effect when you view the whole block? Does the block use color effectively? (Remember, green is a color with many shades!)

Questions? Contact [email protected] or 718-623-7250.

Tips for Getting Started on Your Block

Neighbors who are just beginning to garden together are welcome in the contest! Want to spark and sustain more interest in gardening? Here are some tips from Brooklyn’s Greenest Blocks:

Enter your block in the contest and hang your We’ve Entered! signs.
Get the word out. Share your contact info and dates for upcoming block meetings, events, and judging.

Hold a block association meeting.
Invite your neighbors to share ideas, and serve refreshments if you can! To get started, check out the tip sheet from the Citizens Committee for New York City “How to Start a Block Association.” Remember, gardening opens the door for citizen action; make room for other interests and causes.

Collect contact information at every meeting.
Get your neighbors’ addresses, emails, and phone numbers. Make note of special skills or interests in gardening, working with youth, or helping elders. Create an email list or Google group to make information sharing easier.

Create a gardening committee.
Form a core group of neighbors in the block association—even two people—dedicated to sharing information and leading activities specific to greening and gardening, such as assessing block street trees and submitting a Forestry Service Request from the Parks Department.

Schedule a clean-and-green day.
Hold a springtime block-wide event to encourage neighbors to sweep, clean, and swap or share plants. New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will support your efforts with tools and trash bags! Check out its Volunteer Clean-up Program tip sheet online for more information.

Knock on doors.
Take a neighbor with you to visit folks face to face. Encourage participation in block activities and meetings. Ask for suggestions… and do more listening than talking.

Make learning a part of your mission.
Neighbors make the best teachers! Hold a window-box planting demonstration. Share sustainable-gardening tip sheets provided by BBG. Invite your neighbors to a Greenest Block in Brooklyn workshop at BBG or request a walk-and-talk visit on your block with BBG staff next spring. In the meantime, let us know your gardening questions!

Don’t go it alone.
Feeling overwhelmed? Tell an interested neighbor that you’d really appreciate some support. You’ll never know who might pitch in—or lead—unless you ask.

Have fun!
Start small, remembering that urban gardeners work under the harshest of conditions. Consider various jumping-off points like composting, street tree bed care, a mural, hand-painted signage, or a youth club. Celebrate your achievements together, no matter how small.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 718-623-7250.

See Past Winners >

2018 Residential Participants

View all the residential blocks that have entered the 2018 Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest. Click the map points to see the names of the registered block associations.

Photos from Contest Participants

#GreenestBlockInBrooklyn

Support

The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest is a project of Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, with leadership support from Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Logo: Brooklyn BoroughLogo: Brooklyn Community FoundationLogo: Dept of Cultural Affairs

Sponsor, Greenest Block in Brooklyn
Logo: Barclay Center Cares

Major Sponsor, Community Greening Programs
Logo: National Grid

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