Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments, INC. (VINES) is an organization committed to developing a sustainable and just community food system. We do this by bringing together diverse groups of people, with a focus on youth development, to establish community gardens, urban agriculture and community green spaces. We strive to develop and beautify urban sites and empower community members of all ages and abilities.
Vision & History
VINES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that organized in 2007 to create and sustain community gardens in the Binghamton area. A community garden is a parcel of otherwise underutilized city property that is managed and developed by community members to produce food crops for personal consumption. A garden’s bounty may also be donated to soup kitchens or shared with others in need. We are asking for your support to help our area community gardens thrive.
Community gardens provide several benefits:
- Vacant property and neighborhood beautification
- Increased green space in urban neighborhoods
- Creation of public space for individuals to grow food, reducing their food costs
- Providing education around gardening and nutrition for residents of all ages
- Improving the quality of life for residents
- Stimulating neighborhood and community development
- Creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, and socializing
VINES serves to help each garden to succeed by coordinating and centralizing fundraising efforts, building leadership among community participants to sustain the gardens and by obtaining and preserving land for community garden use. Our organization also works to make connections between community gardens and area schools and community centers.
VINES has also developed a relationship with the Binghamton University ‘Binghamton Neighborhood Project’ that has documented the impact that these gardens have on the nutrition of local residents and on the social dynamics of the neighborhood itself, which is something little studied to date.
Currently there are seven community garden sites, each in different stages of development. We are raising funds to purchase new and current VINES properties, and supplies for each garden (tools, lumber, etc). Having ownership of the community garden lots is an important investment, as the community is otherwise at risk of losing access to the sites in which they have invested much energy and resources. VINES has been successful at applying for and receiving local and state grants to support the gardens, but these grants are helping mostly to build the gardens, not maintain them. This is why we are asking the community to invest in these gardens — so that they can continue to thrive throughout the years!