New Places is a five-year program through which each community creates a garden and uses that garden as a platform for empowerment and celebration. Following public outreach, design, oral history documentation, community engagement, programing and fundraising, each garden gives tools to its members to become a more sustainable community by reclaiming their identity and knowledge.
Each garden serves as a centerpiece to articulate public programming that further discusses the ideas addressed in each community. Some of the programs include workshops in gardening, cooking, medicinal plants, nutrition and memory building, readings, assemblies, panels, performances and concerts.
After the completion of our New Places Program the gardens become part of our network, which continues giving them support in other forms to ensure it continuous success. We also develop programs in partnerships with local organizations, transcending the work we do in the gardens to the expanded community. These organizations are also part of our network. OSS is part of the North West Bronx Food Justice Coallition.
The mission of OSS Project (OSS) is to connect communities with artists to create gardens as places to empower, celebrate and reclaim identity and knowledge, using urban farming, storytelling, educational programming and community building as means to dismantle systemic and structural issues of social inequity.
Through community-led open calls, artists are invited to work in partnership with communities, resulting in collaborative creative processes in the form of gardens that serve as platforms for community self-development.
Landscapes are full of symbolism, defining places and the people who inhabit them. As people adapt to the contexts in which they live—or are forced to live—their evolving identities create parallel internal landscapes loaded with meaning. These identities, knowledge and history are reflected in the gardens, and are a way to collectively document and explore the social, economic and cultural currents running through any community.
In 2016 the Marble Hill Community led by Jacki Fischer, founder of Marble Hill Garden Project started working with artist Juanli Carrión to establish the first OSS permanent garden (OSS#MH). This first garden was planted in May 2017 with 11 beds designed to reflect the shape of the buildings’ blueprint – each bed representing one of the towers of Marble Hill Houses. The plants were selected and planted by residents, and community programming was developed to address health and food literacy.
The success of OSS#MH prompted Juanli Carrion and Jacki Fischer to incorporate OSS as a non-profit in December of 2017. Under the new organization OSS launched in 2018 its first Open Call to NYC artists to submit proposals for the construction of a new garden. Today we have three operating gardens, and several more in early stages of development.
The name of our organization comes from a concept in plant migration, the Outer Seed Shadow is the region where there exists an influx of seeds from a species’ reproductive core, but where—due to adverse conditions—seed germination and seedling reproduction are complicated, causing a decrease of those species’ representatives in that region.
It is in this definition of minorities in the biological world where we take inspiration to ensure that all minorities get the chance to thrive in their environments.
Who we are
Anthony del Orbe
Manager of Operations
Amanda McDonald Crowley
Historical: Temporary Gardens (2014-2016)
Between 2014-2016 Juanli Carrión worked with communities in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Valencia and Murcia in Spain and Malmo in Sweden, to build five temporary gardens addressing subjects such as access to food, race, refugee migration, cultural coexistence, colonialism, gentrification and education. These gardens served as the foundation of what OSS Project is today.
OSS Project, Inc. is a 501c3 charitable organization and all donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Since the beginning our fundraising efforts have supported the development of three gardens as art places where almost one hundred gardeners grow food, make art and celebrate their culture and heritage while growing stronger in their communities.
Our public programs, impact hundreds of people’s lives every year thanks to your generous support. Please help us keep building these transformational places, and become an active part of what we do!
How your donations can help:
$10 – helps us purchase vegetable and herb seeds for a garden
$25 – helps us pay for volunteers’ transportation cost for an on-site event
$50 – helps us purchase spring plants for our flower gardens
$100 – helps us facilitate and purchase materials for a workshop
$150 – helps us cover the production, editing, translation, etc. of our remote programing
$250 – helps us cover honorarium for a online workshop instructor
$500 – helps us procure wood and supplies to build a new cedar wood rodent proof planting bed
$2,000 – helps us document the invaluable oral history of our gardeners
$5,000 – helps us cover an artist stipend for a 2021 New Places garden