As President of the Garden of Union (GOU) from 2004 – 2014 Ms Joseph helped rebuild the compost system for Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) and oversaw it for many years. 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 by members. Two years of discussion ensued before arriving at our current system of rules and stewardship for our garden community.
The Garden is a living entity shaped by its members. Most Board decisions are made using the consensus process: agreements are reached for any fundamental change in the garden. While time consuming, this process tends to minimize the emotional charges that often occur when land is shared. GOU 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, processing 14 tons of waste annually. An educational and contemplative greenspace, GOU gardeners host many school tours 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 along with compost make this garden on a former rubble site abundant, resilient and economical.
The Garden of Union was founded in the early-to-mid-seventies and has always been an organic, communally operated space. PSFC has contributed more material every year their membership has grown and at 16,000 members is one of the largest worker-run cooperatives in the USA. Ms. Joseph coordinated this program 2003 – 2018, working closely with squad coordinator Sherry Showell and site manager and former GOU president, Eric Rochow. The partnership between GOU and PSFC is an enduring relationship and the basis of the garden’s health and abundance.