Union County News

An Urban Garden Grows In Elizabeth

f20cf1e0159b422267a1_UC_garden_1.jpg
Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen Visits The Garden Credits: Courtesy of Union County
43d04e3a5e6b5164d399_uc_garden_2.jpg
JFS Director Elie Bodner, JFS Retired & Senior Volunteer Coordinator Nathalie Garcia, Dave Williams of Williams Nursery, JFS Executive Director Tom Beck, and Afnan Khairulllah of Groundwork Elizabeth Credits: Courtesy of Union County
f20cf1e0159b422267a1_UC_garden_1.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ - Take a stroll on Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth and you will come upon an unusual, lush little farm brimming with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. The garden, with its perfectly arranged beds, is thriving just feet away from the busy four-lane street.

The garden is one of 18 that are funded by the Union County Means Green Community Garden grant program. The garden helps fund the Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that helps provide social services to families throughout the area, along with supplementing its community nutrition program. The garden surrounds JFS headquarters in Elizabeth.

“The Jewish Family Services garden is an outstanding representative of the community garden movement in Union County,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen said. “Even a small piece of land can find new purpose as a source of fresh, locally grown produce, helping to improve nutrition and well-being in local neighborhoods.”

Sign Up for E-News

Launched in 2016, UC Means Green-an initiative spearheaded by Bergen, has a goal of bringing community gardens to neighborhoods in Union County. Since 2016, more than 24 gardens have been funded by the program.

“The Freeholder Board has supported a large community garden for many years” Bergen explained. “It’s an invaluable community resource and we wanted to help local neighborhoods realize some of those benefits, too.”

The mission of the program is to foster education, create social engagement and to donate a portion of the harvest.

The garden at JFS received its grant in 2016 for the construction of specially raised beds, which helps seniors actively participate in gardening without the physical demands of kneeling or stooping.


In partnership with the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth, the raised beds are used as a social activity for a group of seniors at risk of isolation.

“Community gardening is a holistic movement that links access to healthy food with civic service, environmental awareness and an opportunity to make new connections with family, friends and neighbors,” JFS Director of Community Engagement Elie Bodner said.  “Our garden stretches all along the front of our building, creating a beautiful message of community strength for all to see.”

This year’s grant was used to improve the garden’s irrigation system. This season, the garden is expected to produce more than 1,600 pounds of produce, with apple trees donated by Williams Nursery of Westfield.

“Open space is a precious commodity in our area, so it’s been wonderful to see how our grant awardees bring new life to land that would otherwise go underused,” Bergen said.

Groundwork Elizabeth, which administrates the program, now coordinates dozens of gardens in Union County.

A new grant program was launched this year by Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados for school gardens in Union County.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Very special "Annie, Jr." coming June 29-July 1 at Rahway High School

June 18, 2018

The CAU Community Players will be staging a very special production of "Annie, Jr." at the Rahway High School Center for Performing Arts on Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, at 2:00 p.m.

The CAU Community Players is a troupe of actors both with and without developmental disabilities. Formed in 2012, the troupe empowers members with disabilities ...

Kessler Foundation Seeks Volunteers with Spinal Cord Injury for New Study!

Kessler Foundation is a research center in West Orange, NJ that specializes in disability research. We are currently seeking individuals with spinal cord injury to participate in a new research study:

Dr. John O'Neill, principal investigator in Spinal Cord Injury research seeks volunteers for a spinal cord injury study. The purpose of this study is to identify ways of enhancing the ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Dine at Chipotle in New Providence, June 18, in Support of Covenant House

Support Covenant House by making dinner a selfless act and support a fundraiser that supports Covenant House. Come in to Chipotle at 1260 Springfield Ave. in New Providence on Monday June 18 between 4 and 8 p.m. Click here to print flyer, or show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you're supporting the cause for 50 percent of proceeds to be donated to Covenant House.

About: ...

Watchung Borough Mayor and Council Approve Affordable Housing Settlement

June 9, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -The Watchung Borough Council voted on Thursday night  to settle its third round affordable housing obligation mandated by the state of New Jersey. Watchung Borough’s immunity from builder's remedy lawsuits  expires on June 30.

 Mayor Stephen Pote was forced to cast the deciding vote after the council deadlocked at 3-3.

Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith Attends Gun Safety Bills Signing Ceremony with Gov. Murphy in Trenton

June 14, 2018

TRENTON, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith attended a gun safety package bill signing ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton on Wednesday with Governor Phil Murphy. Mayor Smith joined a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials, as well as members of Moms Demand Action of Union County, at the event. 

“As a leader in Sandy Hook Promise, I was happy to accept the ...

Union County Freeholders Support LGBTQ Community with Historical Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

June 4, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The rainbow flag, a symbol of pride and independence fly’s high at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. 

This historic event by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Office of LGBTQ Services, Department of Human Services and many others, brought dignitaries and people from all over New Jersey to the steps of the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c562cbbb99ee8ce36130_covenant_house_flyer

Mon, June 18, 4:00 PM

Chipotle, New Providence

Dine at Chipotle in New Providence June 18 in ...

Food & Drink Giving Back

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_3e68b1f0c65d22cd79bc_d6a71058d531d31a8cff_achievers

Mon, June 25

Summit YMCA, Summit

June 2018 College Tour

Education

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Berkeley Heights Here and Now: May Edition

Berkeley Heights Here and Now

https://youtu.be/-Z6bxdOIRrk

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...