The two acres of gardens and four-block public path extending from Barnes to Baychester Avenues, located in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, had been abandoned, but in 1994 were reclaimed by residents for community gardening activities. Bissel became a green oasis for the community and a welcoming environment to many Veterans living in the area. Members became consultants to and helped develop other community gardens.
From 2007-2010, Bissel members guided high school students to start and run a student farmers’ market in the Castle Hill area of the Bronx. In 2010, Bissel gave away 4,000 plants and trees to other community gardens, schools and organizations for beautifying open spaces. In 2011, Bissel’s community garden produced and donated nearly 1,500 pounds of fresh produce to city hunger-relief organizations. And, on October 22nd, Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Council Member Oliver G. Koppell and members of the Garden and community celebrated the opening of the renovated Children’s Garden honoring Bissel’s founder, Marie Teresa Scalera.
February 24th, 2012, marked the beginning of Bissel’s American Veterans Training Program. Veterans living in the area are encouraged to use their skills to propagate plants and trees and cultivate produce.