UNION, NJ – Battle Hill Elementary School was among the Union County schools to be awarded a garden grant through the Union County Kids Dig In! school garden grant program. A total of 82 garden projects in 16 municipalities were awarded.
“We applied for a composter, an irrigation system, and a bed refresh,” said Battle Hill third grade teacher Patricia Bogda. She said Groundwork Elizabeth will be visiting the Battle Hill School garden in the next few weeks to advise them where to best use these items.
“Our students are currently growing cabbage, radishes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, broccoli, artichoke, and eggplants,” said Bogda. “We will be using the $20 gift certificate that Williams Nursery provided to all the grant recipients to buy some tomato plants and peppers. We were also provided some flower seeds to put in our pollinator garden.”
“School gardens support collaborative learning and teamwork throughout the school community, including students, teachers, school staff, parents and neighborhood residents,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “It is wonderful to see educators in Union County embrace the Kids Dig In grant program enthusiastically, and help instill respect for the Earth in the youth of our community.”
The grant program covers produce gardens including vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, herbs and spices, pollinator-attracting plants and plants for pest management. It does not cover ornamental plants or non-producing gardens.
Gardens must agree to set aside 30% of their harvest for community donation and enroll in Come Grow With Us!, a free countywide information and resource sharing network for community gardens run by the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth, which administers the Kids Dig In and the Union County Means Green community garden grant programs on behalf of the Freeholder Board.
This year Kids Dig In awarded grants for starting new gardens, including a choice of raised beds or Earth Boxes along with tools and equipment, as well as improvements for existing gardens.