Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments, INC. (VINES) is an organization committed to developing a sustainable and just community food system. They do this by bringing together diverse groups of people, with a focus on youth development, to establish community gardens, urban agriculture and community green spaces. They strive to develop and beautify urban sites and empower community members of all ages and abilities.
The essence of VINES’ work is captured in its simple motto: growing food, growing community. VINES empowers people to improve their lives and communities through urban gardening and connecting urban consumers to rural farmers. The organization formed as a volunteer-led project building community gardens in 2007 but quickly grew as demand for urban gardening space, garden-based education, and access to local food exploded. VINES became an independent nonprofit in 2010, and now manages a number of programs including a community garden program, the Binghamton Urban Farm (BUF), Grow Binghamton (a summer youth employment program), the Green Thumb Educational Workshop Series, and the Binghamton Farm Share program (Farm Share). Demand for VINES’ programming continues to grow and the organization is working to expand their core programs both within and beyond Binghamton’s urban core.