Liz Christy Community Garden, New York, NY
1945 - 1985

Elizabeth "Liz" Christy

Educated at Columbia University, New York University, and the New School, Christy’s interests ranged from art and urban planning to botany, agronomy, and landscaping. In 1973, she spearheaded the creation of the Bowery Houston Community Farm Garden, working with the Green Guerillas, a community activist group who improved abandoned open spaces and worked to establish community gardens in New York City. Between 1974 and 1981 she hosted the “Grow Your Own” radio program in New York City, covering such topics as urban forestry, community gardens, community design and planning, and the environment. Simultaneously she worked as the first Director of the Open Space Greening Program, part of the New York City Government’s Council on the Environment, a position she held until her death from cancer in 1985.

In addition to the sites she designed, Christy provided technical assistance and training to approximately 700 community gardens in New York City and helped create similar programs in other cities. She developed the Citizen Street Tree Pruners course with the City’s Parks Department and instituted public education programs on urban tree care. Her numerous awards include the Municipal Art Society Award for Urban Improvements, Parks Council Award for Community Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region II Award, and the American Forestry Association Urban Forestry Award.