GOU is unique among NYC community gardens for a few reasons. It is communally operated, meaning that anyone can join, whether they garden or not and that all of the physical space is shared. Two years of discussion ensued before arriving at our current system of rules and stewardship. The Garden is a living entity shaped by its members. Most Board decisions are made using the consensus process: everyone must agree to any fundamental change in the garden. While time consuming, this process tends to minimize the emotional charges that often occurs when land is shared. Claudia Joseph has been a member the Garden of Union since 2001. She has been President of the board of directors since 2004 and an active member of the board since 2002.
The Garden partners with the Park Slope Food Coop by accepting compost deliveries from their produce department. Many people worked together over many years to create this large-scale urban compost model. The Garden is a registered non-profit and defines itself as an educational and contemplative greenspace, giving many tours to schools and Master Composter classes as well as educating individuals and allowing them to bring their kitchen waste to the garden. Soil and water conservation strategies are practiced and with compost make the garden abundant, resilient and nearly trouble-free. The Garden of Union was founded in the early-to-mid-seventies and has always been an organic, communally operated space. The PSFC has contributed more material every year their membership has grown and at 16,000 members now sends about 12 tons of material annually. Claudia coordinated this program 2003 – 2018, working closely with squad coordinator Sherry Showell and site manager and former GOU president, Eric Rochow, at the beginning. The partnership between GOU and PSFC is an enduring relationship and the basis of the garden’s health and abundance.