Travel

An Urban Garden Grows In Elizabeth

Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen Visits The Garden Credits: Courtesy of Union County
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

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.
 

TAPintoElizabeth.net is Elizabeths free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TAPElizabeth and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 
 

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

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Edison

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_61698f50b6d1d5f3aace_the_wreck_of_the_broker

Sat, September 23, 2:00 PM

The Metlar-Bodine House Museum, Piscataway

The Wreck of The Broker: The Story of New ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Sat, September 23, 4:00 PM

Saint James Episcopal Church, Edison

Game Night and Pizza Dinner

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, September 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Jim Breuer

Arts & Entertainment

A Call to Action on Healthcare

September 23, 2017

On July 29, 2016, one week after my 41st birthday, with no warning, I experienced a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. SCAD is an uncommon heart condition that causes arteries in the heart to tear, leading to a blockage of the artery, and, in my case, a heart attack.  I HAVE NO KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE.  

I am a mother of two young children.  I am basically ...

Maria Orchid running for Edison Town Council

September 8, 2017

I am running for Edison Town Council to make a difference in our community with our quality of life issues. I have organized the Clara Barton Neighborhood Block watch which will have the next meeting on September 21, 2017 at the Clara Barton First Aid Squad at 7pm. We meet to discuss local issue with the Police and Fire department.

I am running to make our council more ...

38th annual Raritan River Fest, Duck Race, comes to town this weekend

September 22, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The 2017 Raritan River Festival and Duck Race is coming to town this Sunday, Sept. 24, noon to 6 p.m. at Boyd Park, on the riverside of Route 18 and Commercial Avenue in New Brunswick.

Admission is free and parking is available at the Rutgers University Public Safety Parking Deck.

Now in its 38th year, the festival first came to light in 1980, in celebration of the ...

Sabattis Saved: Boy Scouts' Adventure Camp to Remain Open After Patriots’ Paths Council Executive Board Vote

September 20, 2017

CEDAR KNOLLS, NJ -- The Patriots’ Paths Council Executive Board met on Monday, Sept. 18 in a special session to discuss the future operation of Sabattis Adventure Camp, which was threatened with closure.

After discussion, the Board voted to continue Sabbatis camping activities through the end of the 2019 summer camping season. The Board discussed the results presented ...

Law enforcement personnel to be honored at 16th Annual Blue Mass

September 22, 2017

METUCHEN – Hundreds of local, county, state and federal law enforcement personnel of all faiths will be recognized for their faithful commitment and self-sacrifice at the Diocese of Metuchen’s 16th Annual Blue Mass on Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Ave.

People of all faiths are encouraged to attend and join the diocese in offering ...

The Hall Mills Murder Case by William Kunstler

The Hall-Mills Murder Case (The Minister and the Choir Singer) by William Kunstler (Rutgers University Press, 1964

At the end of Brown Avenue in Lavalette, NJ sits an ancient, gloomy, gray house. Flanked by contemporary beach homes, this brooding edifice stands out as a relic of a former era. My friend, Cathy noted to me that this house has a notorious history. “It was once owned by ...

Sam Shepard's 'Simpatico' takes off

Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” has a forceful workout at McCarter Theatre.

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, NJ – If you’re at all familiar with the works of Sam Shepard, you know that he writes about gritty, unforgiving characters in what appear to be hopeless situations.

In “Simpatico,” we learn that Vinnie and Carter are former partners in a race horse ...