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Fashion Executive Becomes Green Earth Gardens Maven
Maureen Regan turns her business fashion savvy into a horticulture experience, that gives hope to those yearning therapeutic gardening.
By: Green Earth Urban Gardens Inc
From humble beginnings in her native Guyana, Maureen Regan pursued her passion as a Food Advocate in New York City.
Upon graduating, Maureen spent a year interning at the prestigious NYU Rusk Institute, training interns and working with patients recovering from strokes, epilepsy, brain injuries, and other debilitating motor dysfunctions. She was also involved with acute care pediatrics and devoted considerable time to working in several senior centers around New York City.
By 2010, after Maureen successfully landed a spot in the Beginning Women Farmers project (Northeast), a program funded by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA), she knew she was well on the way to achieving her goal. Later that year, Maureen founded Green Earth Urban Gardens Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mandate is to “promote social and environmental solutions through urban farming, to benefit the diverse ethnic community including special needs, at risk underprivileged youth, and the aged populations.”
In 2011, armed with credentials from the Rusk Institute, proven skills, technical expertise, and dogged determination, Maureen took the challenge of working with the Queens Botanical Garden (QBG) to improve and expand their garden program for seniors to reflect the changing culture of the Queens, NY community. Although it was a volunteer position, it was not long before the program exploded into an intergenerational project as Maureen reached out to the community’s multi-ethnic groups to ascertain their needs and find solutions. Soon seniors and youth worked side by side to plant vegetables, and to later harvest not just crops but also lasting friendships. What began as transformation of private space, resulted in public conversation on the need to stamp out hunger, using the Intergenerational Garden and a Food Pantry Project as a viable means to address the social and environmental needs of the community.
Most recently, Maureen has won two grants from Citizens Community NYC to help with the hurricane efforts in Far Rockaway, serving hot meals to residents in need, and to work on a soil remediation project. Maureen continues to teach therapeutic gardening at senior centers teaches and volunteers her time at QBG while engaging local middle, high school and college youth in civic participation.
Green Earth Urban Gardening Inc