When one thinks of the library, getting fresh produce like lemon balm and Swiss chard does not come to mind. But the Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Avenue) hopes to change that. The library gives fellow patrons any produce they grow in their garden for free.
The produce comes from the demonstration garden on the third floor of the library. The garden is used to show people in the community how different plants grow and to connect them to plants within an urban environment. It also used to show patrons how to utilize plants for wellness through herbalism classes. So far, the library has grown tomatoes, kale, and radishes, just to name a few.
The third-floor rooftop garden is only open during programming. The open space is filled with their demo garden showcasing plants such as basil and strawberries to lavender and bee balm. There is also a pollinator garden for the bees to do what they do best on the solar-paneled roof.
Since opening in October 2020, the Greenpoint Library, which also functions as an Environmental Education Center, has hosted a multitude of events for the community involving the environment and sustainability.
“It all has to do with connecting people to plants in nature. And that inevitably connects people to loving [nature]…Once you start loving nature, you want to protect it and we’re the Environmental Education Center and environmental justice is our other focus,” said Acacia Thompson, the Environmental Justice Coordinator at the Greenpoint Library.
Thompson hopes in the future the garden is all year round. The staff have only been growing and giving away produce for two seasons — the first giveaway was in May 2021. Thompson wants to maximize all the available space on the rooftop and grow produce like cabbage and spinach. She wants a greenhouse on the roof to further educate people on plants and to start their own seedlings during the winter.
While the library doesn’t have a consistent schedule to their produce giveaways, sometimes they take the produce to the community fridge near The Lot Radio. For the rest, the library posts about it on their Facebook and Instagram page. So be on the lookout for some fresh fruits, veggies, or herbs, and come check out a book while you are at it.