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Timberland to Restore and Create Green Spaces in 5 Cities Over Next 5 Years

To kick off its commitment to create and restore urban green spaces in five cities over the next five years, Timberland and its partners, with the help of local non-profit GrowNYC, spent the day restoring the United We Stand Garden in the Mott Haven neighborhood on Wednesday, June 22, in New York. Local residents lent a hand to plant a new flower garden for the community. | Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Timberland

This week, outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland announced a goal to double its footprint in five U.S. cities by 2020 in an unexpected, unique way. Each year for the next five years, the brand will match its retail floor space with the creation or restoration of an equivalent amount of green space in a different city with a Timberland store, beginning with New York City. The next four cities will be revealed later this year, with projects ranging from walking trails to community gardens to city parks.

On Wednesday, more than 100 volunteers from Timberland and its partners gathered in the Mott Haven neighborhood of South Bronx to launch the initiative. Throughout the summer, volunteers will help transform the 32,000 square foot United We Stand Garden in partnership with GrowNYC, a local non-profit that has built 83 gardens in the city to date.

“At Timberland, we strive to be Earthkeepers in everything we do. We work hard to make our products responsibly, to protect the outdoors and to serve the communities around the globe where we live, work and explore,” said Colleen Vien, the sustainability director at Timberland.

“We believe green spaces are the heartbeat of a community. They do so much more than provide a place to play and explore; they also help enhance quality of life in the form of improved health and overall wellbeing. They simply make neighborhoods stronger. We are proud to make this commitment today, so these vibrant city spaces can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Trash, rubble and debris have covered the United We Stand Garden in the Mott Haven neighborhood of South Bronx for almost two years (pictured above). On June 22, things changed for the community as Timberland and local non-profit GrowNYC partnered to provide Mott Haven residents with a beautiful community garden that will function as a destination for urban agriculture and an inviting outdoor hub for the surrounding community.  |  Image credit: GrowNYC
Volunteers built dozens of new garden beds on Wednesday; the new space will serve as a destination for urban agriculture for the Mott Haven community.  |  Image credit: Amy Sussman/AP Images for Timberland

The United We Stand Garden was formerly home to four separate community gardens, but after decades of use and a damaging fire nearly two years ago, all four were cleared. Under the guidance of GrowNYC, volunteers began on Wednesday by creating one new community garden – building dozens of new garden beds and benches. The complete space will be unveiled and open for the neighborhood to enjoy in the fall.

“We’re so thankful for Timberland’s service in our communities as they help us further our efforts to provide green space in areas that need it most,” said Mike Rezny, assistant director at GrowNYC.

“Today’s volunteers are transforming one
of the most underserved neighborhoods
in the Bronx into a beautiful community garden functioning as a destination for urban agriculture and an inviting outdoor hub for the surrounding community.”

The five-year urban greening initiative builds on the company’s already robust sustainability commitments, including extending its rigorous environmental standard — the Timberland Environmental Product Standard (TEPS) — across all of its product categories, beginning with its Spring 2016 collection; and planting a total of 10 million trees around the globe by 2020. To date, the company has planted 8.7 million trees, and has worked closely with smallholder farmers to scale economically-viable, sustainable agroforestry in Haiti.

Hannah Furlong is one of Sustainable Brands's Contributing Writers, based in Canada. She is researching the circular economy as a Master's student in Sustainability Management at the University of Waterloo and holds a Bachelor's in Environment and Business Co-op. Hannah… [Read more about Hannah Furlong]

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