ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County kids will get a chance to dig in the dirt thanks to the UC Board of Chosen Freeholders.   In total, 82 garden projects in 16 municipalities were awarded through the Union County Kids Dig In school garden grant program. 

“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.”

According to officials, schools around the county with grades pre-K through 12 were eligible to apply for a grant. If provided, the grants are to be used toward fruit and vegetable gardens, pollinator-attracting planting or plants to help with pest management.  The grants are not provided for ornamental gardening.

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Grant-recipients must agree to donate 30% of the garden’s harvest to the community and enroll in Come Grow With Us, a resource and sharing network for community gardens run by Groundwork Elizabeth, which administers the Kids Dig in program on behalf of the UC Freeholders. 

 The grant program is part of the Union County Plant a Seed initiative for community service, education and environmental stewardship launched by Freeholder Sergio Granados when he served as Chairman in 2017.

“I am passionate about doing all we can for the youth of our county. I encourage students, school staff and parents to grow healthy produce for students at their own schools. Providing teachers with the tools necessary to expand educational opportunities is important, and this grant has exceeded expectations. Through this initiative that I created in 2017, we have awarded over 175 garden grants to schools throughout Union County, and introduced healthy food choices to thousands of children,” said Freeholder Granados. “To help teach our youth about donating to others, a portion of produce grown will be donated to soup kitchen, food pantries and those in need.”

The 2019 awardees are:


Valley Road School

Mother Seton Regional High School


Walnut Avenue School

Lincoln School


Joseph Battin School # 4

Abraham Lincoln #14

William F. Halloran # 22

George Washington Academy # 1

Winfield Scott School # 2

Nicolas S. LaCorte # 3

Mabel G. Holmes # 5

Mabel G. Holmes Annex

Toussant L. Ouverture  # 6

Terence C. Reilly # 7

iPrep Academy # 8

Jerome Dunn Academy # 9

Elmora School # 12

Benjamin Franklin School # 13

Abraham Lincoln School Annex

Christopher Columbus #  15

Madison Monroe # 16

Robert Morris School # 18

Woodrow Wilson School # 19

John Marshall # 20

Victor Mravlag # 21

Nicholas M. Butler # 23

School # 25

Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy # 26

Dr. Antonia Pantoja # 27

Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Julian Marti # 28

Dr. Albert Einstein Academy # 29

Ronald Reagan Academy

Frances C. Smith # 50

Donald Stewart Center Early Childhood

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. # 52

Alexander Hamilton Prepartory Academy

John E. Dwyer Technology Academy

John E. Dwyer Annex

William F. Halsey Academy

Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy

Thomas A Edison Career & Technical

Elizabeth High School # 89 FJCA

J. Christian Bollwage Finance Academy


Garwood Lincoln School


Walter O' Krumbiegel MS

Hillside High School

George Washington School

A. P. Morris Early Childhood Center

Calvin Coolidge School

Hurden Looker School


Saint Theresa School


Highland Avenue School # 10

Linden High School Academy of Excellence

School #4

School # 8

Public School # 2

Linden School 1

Elementary School Five

Myles J. McManus Middle School

New Providence       

Morris-Union Jointure Commission


Plainfield Academy of Arts & Advanced Study

Emerson Community School – 2 applications

Cedarbrook Community School

Evergreen School

Jefferson School


Rahway High School

Madison School

Grover Cleveland Elementary School

Rahway High School Alternative Center


Grace Wilday Junior

Washington Elementary School

Leonard V. Moore Middle School

Scotch Plains 

William J. McGinn Elementary School


Jonathan Dayton High School

Edward V. Walton Early Childhood Center


Battle Hill Elementary School


Jefferson Elementary School

McKinley Elementary School

Tamaques School

Crossroads School

Westfield YMCA Preschool/Kindergarten

Westlake School


Winfield School