CRANFORD, NJ – Walnut Avenue School, Lincoln School, Hillside Avenue School and the Calvary Nursery School and Child Care have all been awarded the “Union County Kids Dig In!” grant, to assist students in building, planting and using the proper tools and equipment to upkeep gardens. The grant was announced at the Union County Freeholders meeting on Thursday night.

The grant was awarded to 32 schools in the county, in an attempt to teach kids how to create gardens and to encourage the creation and upkeep of community gardens in schools.  

“Our goal is to teach children how food is grown, to educate them about nutrition, and to make them think about the environment and the world around them, including their own communities,” Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados, who brainstormed the program, said in a press release by the county. “This is a great way to get everyone involved in community gardening—not only the children, but also their parents, the teachers and local residents.”

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According to the press release, a portion of what is grown in each garden must be donated. Additionally, the gardens must be enrolled in Come Grow With Us!, a countywide database for community gardens.

“New Jersey is the Garden State and we have a rich tradition and history of horticulture in the state even with all the changes in density over the years,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen said in the press release. “This is a great way to instill the benefits of gardening in our future citizens at a young age.”