The mission of El Sol Brillante is to nurture an inclusive garden in New York's East Village by offering community and educational programs, tenancy of garden plots, and communal gardening. We promote nature and ecology amidst the city pavement.
El Sol Brillante Community Garden rose from the ashes of a demolished lot of four burnt-out buildings in the East Village of Manhattan in 1977. Residents organized to create a garden that would revitalize the neighborhood, unite local leadership, and improve the quality of their environment. The original group of forty, with the help of a resident architect, the Horticultural Society of New York (gardening advice), the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service (gardening advice), and the CETA Summer Youth Corps (labor and jobs for kids) designed plans and with very little money and a great deal of sweat equity, a garden was born. In 1978, with the assistance of the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit land trust was created and the lot was acquired in 1980. A once rubble-filled lot became a thriving 1,000 square foot, 40-plot vegetable garden, a meeting place, and a preserved natural space for its members and their community.
Today, East 12th Street is a remarkable green corridor with four community gardens, six public schools and a park. El Sol Brillante is one of its crown jewels and with new membership (including the children and grandchildren of its original founders), a robust bokashi composting education center with classes/demonstrations for the local schools, and continuous capital improvements funded through two community festivals held annually in June and October, El Sol Brillante will continue to be a vital asset to this historical neighborhood.
See further history >