The Pleasantville Community Garden started in 2012 with the seed of an idea. After learning that one in five people in his county were affected by hunger, 11-year-old Devin Juros was determined to make a change. After much independent research, Devin learned that the short shelf life and high price of fresh produce often make this nutritious food unattainable for people in need. He decided to create a donation garden and wanted to bring the community together to help build and maintain it as they supported their neighbors in need.
With a mission but no experience, Devin turned to his parents, David and Margot, for help. Seeing his passion, they supported his idea and planned out the initial fundraising and organizing needed to bring the community-run donation garden to fruition. Reaching out to friends and local experts, the family founded a not-for-profit organization, the Pleasantville Community Garden. As they got the word out, a strong base of supporters committed to their mission. Two years later, in 2014, ground was broken, and the garden that Devin had imagined was created, a testament to the hard work and passionate volunteerism of a whole community.
Recognizing that the need in Westchester County was huge and growing, the Pleasantville Community Garden organizers knew there was much more to do. An agreement was made to grow vegetables in local school gardens and also with farmers to collect produce from a local Farmers Market. Their annual donation grew rapidly from 1,500 pounds of fresh produce the first year in 2016 to 15,000 pounds or more each year since. As of 2020, PCG has donated a grand total of nearly 90,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables grown and gathered. All fresh produce is donated to local food sharing organizations, including Hillside Food Outreach, A-HOME and Neighbors Link, who directly provide it to low income Westchester residents in need of good nutritious food.
At its conception, the garden seemed a daunting challenge. But with plenty of hard work, careful planning, and reliance on the community, Devin’s dream grew into a reality that exceeded his expectations. The purpose of this guide is to show you that your “pipe dream” garden is closer than you would think.