Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops

Helping your life story bloom

Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops provides interactive programs for children designed to:

  • Heighten the children’s curiosity about gardening and nature
  • Promote healthier life styles by learning more about food sources
  • Increase children’s self-confidence and ability to collaborate with others
  • Strengthen ties between the children’s organization, parents, community garden and other partners involved in our program 

Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops works collaboratively under the ALF program umbrella.


Since 2017 we have designed and implemented a comprehensive program for third graders at the Children’s Workshop School.  Our participating partners for our interactive program include the Campos Community Garden near the school and a local community restaurant, Gnocco.

Our programs add the “A” (arts) to STEM programs by encouraging children to tap into their creativity and try out new ideas.  Garden Stories draws inspiration from life lessons learned through gardening and the arts. 

Fall workshops include:

  • Science and Exploration: Garden basics – Why Bees Matter?
  • Creative Problem Solving: Working in pairs to build incredible insects
  • Healthy Food: Working collaboratively in teams to create healthy, tasty treats using garden vegetables
  • Exhibiting art work in the garden for parents and community to view

Spring workshops include:

  • Origins of food: Making fresh pasta
  • Science and Exploration: Spring planting – creating starter plants from seeds
  • Storytelling:  Working in teams to create a story about the garden/cooking experiences
  • Inviting parents and the community to see the stories and tour the garden
John’s Video of the children’s workshops.

Who we are:

ALF and Garden Stories partnered in 2017 to launch a series of interdisciplinary workshops for the Children’s Workshop School and the Campos Community garden.   

  • Carolyn Ratcliffe, Artistic Director, Art Loisaida Foundation
  • Holly O’Grady, Founding Director, Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops

Bios for Carolyn and Holly can be found here


  • Christopher Batenhorst, Garden workshops
  • Gladys Feliciano, Art workshops
  • Linda Gelman, Storytelling workshop
  • GianLuca Giovanetti, Healthy cooking workshops
  • Carolyn Zezima, Garden and cooking workshops 
  • Children’s Workshop School
  • Dorothy Cantwell
  • Gary Mortson


  • Melania 
  • Robert
  • Sarah 

For further information on Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops contact


Note this page could also include how to donate to Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops 

  • Citizens Committee for New York City, Neighborhood Grants, 2017 & 18
  • Tower Reality, 335 E. 10th Street, New York, NY 10009
  • Gnocco, 337 E. 10th Street, New York, NY 10009
  • Campos Community Garden, E. 12th Street, New York, NY 10009


Alf Kids Art @ Tompkins Square Library: We host a free monthly children’s art class on the last Saturday of the Month at Tompkins Square Library in the 3rd Floor art room from 10:30AM to 12:00PM.

Screenings: We screen films on the environment and neighborhood such as “Home” and “Viva Loisaida” at the Tompkins Square Library, 6th St. Community Center, and at 11BC Garden.
Art Slams: Artists show images of their work and speak to audience about their creative process and the technical aspects of their work.
Community Garden Performances: Art Loisaida has its roots in the gardens of the Lower East Side/East Village and it organizes many different events in collaboration with Community Gardens such as 11BC Garden, de Colores Community Yard and Campos Garden.

Preservation: Because so many artists are under the threat of losing their homes as well as studio and venue space, Art Loisaida Foundation takes an active interest in supporting preservation initiatives and works with organizations, such as the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, to try to preserve the architectural heritage of our neighborhood. This was partly accomplished by our sponsoring of the first Annual “Meet and Greet” at the Theater for the New City as part of our “PRESERVATION: Preserve or Forget” Exhibit.

Visual Art Project: We host visual art exhibits, often featuring a performance, as part of the program at Theater for the New City Art Gallery, Tompkins Square Library Gallery, and other local venues. (From 2009 to April 2015)

Tompkins Sq. Library Art Gallery Project: Art Loisaida Foundation has brought together a group of concerned professionals who developed a proposal to improve the art gallery space at the Tompkins Square Library. Hugues Fournier, a landscape architect, designed pantings for the entrance ways, a sculpture court and, green roof addition, while local architect Catalina Salazar did drawings for the gallery itself. Sculptor Kathy Creutzburg produced drawings for new planters, and contractors Bob Reid and David Leslie of Reid Build did estimates for construction. Jerry Pagane, an artist who also has a sign company, initiated this project by lettering a new sign for the gallery. This project has been presented to the NYPL as well as to various local elected officials such as Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, and Boro President Scott Stringer. We continue to advocate for this space as it is one of the few free venues open to artists in the East Village. (DUE TO STAFF CHANGES THE PROGRAM WAS NEVER IMPLEMENTED)

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