UNION COUNTY, NJ – Young gardeners now can get their hands dirty with the new “Union County Kids Dig In” garden grant program for schools in Union County, sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Schools with students in grades pre-K through 12 are eligible to apply for a Union County Kids Dig In grant, which are funded through the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

“Last year we launched our first garden grant program for municipalities, non-profits and other organizations to help improve community nutrition as well as recreation, education and social activities,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “This new program will help extend the many benefits of community gardens into Union County schools as well.”

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“In addition to their tremendous educational and nutritional value, school gardens provide our youth with new opportunities for engaging in healthy outdoor activities and forging connections with their communities,” said Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados, who is Chairman of the Open Space Trust Fund. “This grant program is a perfect way to bring together families, school personnel and communities, and it is a perfect fit for the Trust Fund. I’d like to thank my colleagues on the Freeholder Board for supporting it.”

Schools that are awarded funding through the Union County Kids Dig In grant program pledge to donate a percentage of their harvest to local food pantries or shelters in their communities.

“This helps to reinforce our commitment to giving back to others,” said Granados.

Grant application forms have been sent to school superintendents in all Union County school districts. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

Principals and educators who are interested in having their school apply for a grant can contact Victoria Durbin-Drake, Administrator, Office of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund at vdurbin@ucnj.org or 908-558-2277.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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