BBG Presents 33rd Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom: Sowing Connections, Growing Gardeners

Saturday, March 8, 2014 | 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Full Day of Free Gardening Talks, Workshops, and Film Screenings

Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address By
Karen Washington, Urban Farmer and Food Justice Activist

Release Date: February 28, 2014

Brooklyn, New York—Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) and its community horticulture program, GreenBridge, are pleased to present the 2014 edition of Making Brooklyn Bloom, Brooklyn’s annual kickoff of the spring gardening season. Now in its 33rd year, Making Brooklyn Bloom will take place on Saturday, March 8, 2014, offering a full day of free activities and information on sustainable horticulture for the gardening public.

In celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of BBG’s Children’s Garden, Making Brooklyn Bloom’s 2014 theme, Sowing Connections, Growing Gardeners, will spotlight intergenerational gardening. Hands-on workshops—several of which are open to children with their adults, and some of which offer Spanish translation—and talks will be given by community gardeners, BBG staff, and greening experts. Exhibitors from nearly 30 regional greening organizations present innovative and sustainable gardening techniques for home and community gardeners. Throughout the day, a series of films will be screened, including, Growing Cities (2013); Soul Food Junkies (2013); Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary about School Lunch (2012); Pete Seeger: God’s Counting on Me, God's Counting on You (2012); and Dirt! The Movie (2009). There will also be a special Q&A and screening with Deborah Koons Garcia, director of the award-wining documentary Symphony of the Soil.

This year’s Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address will be delivered by Karen Washington, an urban farmer and advocate for community gardens and food justice. Since 1985, Washington has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Garden, she has worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. She has also spoken out for garden protection and preservation and helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing garden-fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Washington is a board member and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to preserve community gardens. She is also on the board of Just Food, a nonprofit organization that connects communities and local farms with resources and support to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all New Yorkers, and she cofounded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings.

Washington’s keynote address, “Closing the Generation Food Gap,” will focus on the history of growing food in New York, including school gardens and victory gardens, as well as on urban agriculture today and the future of the local food movement. Washington’s address will also examine the importance of both youth and seniors working together to help close the food gap and end hunger.

The full schedule of 2014 Making Brooklyn Bloom events is listed below. For further information, please contact [email protected]. For high-resolution images, please visit:


Registration and Coffee in the Palm House | 10–11 a.m.
Register on the day of the event to secure space in the workshops and keynote address. You may choose only two workshops, one from each time block, space permitting.

Exhibits | 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Pick up free seeds.
Children of all ages drop in to explore seeds at a BBG Discovery Station (11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.)
Visit the BBG Library.

Palm House
View displays from NYC greening groups.
Pick up free nursery catalogs.
Visit the NYC Compost Project table to get a raffle ticket for a free Garden Gourmet bin.
Visit the GreenBridge tables.
Learn about the Brooklyn Urban Gardener certificate program.
Get a limited-edition Greenest Block in Brooklyn 20th anniversary commemorative T-shirt.

Room 236
Share your intergenerational gardening story on the Honor Wall and enjoy vintage footage of BBG’s Children’s Garden programs.

Garden Shop
Terrarium-making demonstration in the Garden Shop at the Visitor Center

Guided tour of Seasonal Highlights | 1 p.m.
Meet in the Visitor Center.

Film Screenings | 10 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Auditorium, Noon–12:45 p.m.
Garden Apprentice Program: A Portrait of a Workplace (2008)
Green Bronx Machine (2014)
Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary about School Lunch (2012)
Our Land (2014)
Harmony Gardens (2014)
Pete Seeger: God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You (2012)
Visitor Center Orientation Room
10–11 a.m.: Growing Cities (2013)
12:15–1 p.m.: Dirt! The Movie (2009)
3–4 p.m.: Soul Food Junkies (2013)

Morning Workshops | 11 a.m.–Noon
Register for one (ticket required).

Educating the Senses: Edible Schoolyard NYC
Mirem Villamil, Esther Gottesman, Perri Erlitz, and Cecilia Galarraga, Edible Schoolyard NYC
From garden to table, hear how this groundbreaking elementary school program is teaching New York City’s children how to plant, grow, cook, and eat delicious, healthy food.

A Farmer’s Yoga (children with their adults welcome)
Onika Abraham, Brooklyn Urban Gardener
While carefully tending to our plants’ health, self-care can get short shrift. Avoid strain and injuries by practicing asanas for every gardener.

Can We Get the Lead Out? Soil Contamination in Urban Gardens
Members’ Room
Hannah Shayler, Cornell University and Dr. Joshua Cheng, Brooklyn College Environmental Sciences Analytical Center
Hear the latest findings from in-depth research in urban gardens and learn the best strategies for limiting risks to our health.

Dive into Compost Bins
Lily Pool Room
Jenny Blackwell, NYC Compost Project Hosted at BBG
Learn the elements of a great compost bin, including how to make them accessible for kids and elders. Weather permitting, you’ll turn some BBG compost to help you find just the right bin for your composting project.

Tree Care for All Ages (children with their adults welcome)
Room 123
Tom Mazzone and Margaret Sheri, Nature’s Classroom at PS 102
Street tree beds are among the most popular places to garden in the city. Find inspiration to help your neighbors—young and old—get their hands dirty.

Connecting the Plots: Generations Greening Together
Room 125
Jay Smith, Village House Garden, and Corbin Laedlein, Added Value Farm
How are greening projects in Brooklyn making the most of age diversity? Hear from greening leaders dedicated to bridging the garden generation gap.

Kitchen Botany (children with their adults welcome; hands-on workshop)
Greenhouse 2
Joanne D’auria and Ashley Gagnay, BBG
Discover plants we use every day that feed and heal us. Explore the BBG education greenhouse and create an herb planter of your own. Spanish translation is available at this workshop.

Lunch | Noon–2:30 p.m.
Terrace Café in the Conservatory
Fast-track lunches are available for purchase. (BBG will compost all fruit; visit the composting stations in the café and Palm House.)

Brown-Bag Networking Lunches (Noon to 1:00 p.m.):
School and Youth Gardening: Members’ Room
Community Composting: Lily Pool Room
Street Tree Stewardship: Room 123
Therapeutic Horticulture: Room 125

Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address in the Auditorium | 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Closing the Generation Food Gap
By Karen Washington, urban farmer and food justice activist

Afternoon Workshops | 3–4 p.m.
Register for one (ticket required).

Clips from Symphony of the Soil and Director Q&A
Deborah Koons Garcia, Filmmaker
This award-winning film, described as an “ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer,” takes us on a riveting journey into the complexity and mystery, the art and science, of soil. Meet Ms. Garcia, who also directed The Future of Food (2004), for some behind-the-scenes dirt on her groundbreaking project.

Gray and Green: Cultivating Active Retirees
Members’ Room
Dr. Rhoda Meador, Dr. Jake Brenner, and Mary McKean, Ithaca College
What are some ways to get more green as you savor your retirement? Learn how two programs—Retirees in Service to the Environment (RISE) and Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG)—can keep you greening for life.

Just Get Out There: Tools for Nature Walks and Talks
Lily Pool Room
Katherine Patton, Brooklyn Urban Gardener, and Mimi Jorling, BBG Library
Two veteran BBGers demonstrate that whether you are tech-savvy or old school, there is a field guide out there to help you navigate your next urban nature walk.

Heritage Eating: Foodways 1914–2014
Room 123
Onika Abraham, Brooklyn Urban Gardener; and Kenya Campbell, Integrated Health Professional
Would our grandparents or great-grandparents recognize what’s on our plates? In honor of BBG’s Children’s Garden centennial, explore how remembering our ancestors’ favorite foods can help us dig into our history.

Grow Your Salad: The Edible Container
Room 125
Rebecca Bullene, Greenery NYC
Whether you’re a veteran salad grower or trying lettuce as a gateway green, learn how to get the most greens out of a container in sun or shade.

Starting Seeds with Youth (children with their adults welcome; hands-on workshop)
Greenhouse 1
David Torres, Brooklyn Urban Gardener; and Raul Vazquez, BBG Garden Apprentice
Save money, model sustainability, and have fun, all while engaging young people in learning the vital skill of starting plants from seed. And start your own little something today! Spanish translation is available at this workshop.

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