Kelly Street Garden (KSG), located in the Longwood/Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, was developed in 2014 as a partnership between Banana Kelly, a 40-year-old local housing advocacy non-profit, and Workforce Housing, a private NYC-based affordable housing developer. Through a substantial grant from Morgan Stanley, a 2,500 square foot urban garden was designed and installed at the rear of the four residential buildings encompassing the site, with the goal to support the food security, health, cultural and educational enrichment of local residents. The garden is located in what has been designated the poorest Congressional district in the United States.
During early renovations, community members developed their vision for the formerly garbage strewn, rat infested yard. There had been an earlier incarnation of the garden as a result of activism after the “Decade of Fire” which left much of the South Bronx in ruins. The original project faltered due to lack of maintenance after years of being deprived of sufficient funding and volunteer support. A professional garden manager was engaged to live on site in lieu of a paid salary. An oversight committee of local residents was organized to help ensure the garden’s continuity.