Health & Wellness

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano Comes to See How the St. Genevieve’s Garden Grows

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano poses with Eage Scout Ryan Agostinho, his parents, Fr. Gillen, Dan Bernier, Lois MacNamara and fellow scouts. Credits: Fran Sullivan
Ryan Agostinho explains how the garden was created to Assemblywoman Quijano as Lois MacNamara looks on. Credits: Fran Sullivan
Ryan Agostinho and Assemblywoman Quijano study the garden as Dan Bernier looks on. Credits: Fran Sullivan
Lois MacNamara and Assemblywoman Quijano discuss the garden. Credits: Fran Sullivan

ELIZABETH, NJ - Assemblywoman Annette Quijano marveled at the site before her, row upon row of tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants growing in wooden planters under a bright, spring sun that makes up the St. Genevieve’s Parish Community Garden on Princeton Road.

“Fresh produce tastes so much better than processed,” she remarked. Community gardens are a favorite project for the Assemblywoman. Realizing that many of her constituents had no access to fresh, healthy food as she did growing up in Puerto Rico, she introduced the Come Grow With Me project in 2009 to encourage groups to start community gardens.

The garden is the Eagle Scout project of Ryan Agostinho. “Everyone else has done something for the county. I wanted to do something for the church. It is my way of giving back to the church for everything they have done.”

Sign Up for E-News

Said Quijano, “It is wonderful that someone at his age is getting the message out about healthy food and how to take care of your neighbor. Most teen-agers don’t know where their vegetables come from, so this is a great opportunity to learn from the ground up.”

But the garden is truly a “community” project for the parish, bringing together a number of groups who didn’t normally connect. The original idea actually came from Leisure Group member Lois MacNamara who heard about community gardens from a speaker at one of the group’s meetings. “They talked about community gardens, and we thought it was a good idea.”

Long time Scout Master Dan Bernier thought the garden would be a valuable addition to the parish. “This is a great tie-in with what we do in scouting.”

When the application for a grant from the county was denied because of St. Genevieve’s  religious status, they decided to pay for the garden themselves, with many suppliers either donating or discounting supplies. Said Rev. George Gillen, “We felt it was a good idea to bring two organizations, youth and senior citizens, together on a project that is a very positive one for the community. It we are successful as farmers, we can get some produce to those in need. It is a teachable moment. Everyone is very excited about it.”   

For the Assemblywoman, her visit was a chance to see how her Come Grow With Me Initiative was sprouting roots in new places, and she pledged her support. She put a call out in her weekly newsletter for donations, explaining, “Although Ryan did this as cost-effectively as possible, it still cost $2500 when all was said and done. Please consider sponsoring this garden so that they can give even more back to the community. Contact Reverend Gillen at STGENS@OPTONLINE.NET if you or your company are interested in supporting this great work in the community.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Union County Freeholders Partner in Two Upcoming Hiring Events

February 17, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have announced two hiring event opportunities coming up with Griswold Home Care of Union County and the United Airlines “Summer Assist” youth program.

The first event is with Griswold Home Care of Union County. They are a privately owned, non-medical home care company and are looking for Certified Home Health Aides ...

“Hidden in Plain Sight” - A Presentation Centered Around a Teen’s Bedroom 

ROSELLE, NJ - Elizabeth Parents, grandparents, caregivers, when it comes to your children and drugs, do you know where to look? Do you know what you are looking for? You may be surprised at what is "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The Roselle Everett Hatcher Prevention Coalition and Prevention Links invite all parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and other adults from the city of ...

At Westfield High School, Student Says ‘It’s Almost Normal to Juul Here’

February 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This story about the rise in teen e-cigarette use, written by Westfield High School student Greta Frontero, originally ran in the Jan. 8 edition of WHS student newspaper Hi’s Eye.

WESTFIELD, NJ — A 12th-grade Westfield High School female said she doesn’t bring her Juul to school, but will use someone else’s if the opportunity ...

Indictment Handed Down in Millburn Carjacking

February 21, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – An indictment was handed down in the November carjacking in Millburn where a 13-year old girl was allegedly grabbed by the neck and the suspect threatened to kill her. 

The 11-count state grand jury indictment charges Ahmed Anthony, 30, of Newark with conspiracy, carjacking, robbery and making terroristic threats among other charges. The conspiracy in the first-degree ...

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

February 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Mintz & Geftic Secures Class Certification for Drivers in Wage and Hour Case

February 16, 2018

Is your employer failing to pay you time and a half for working more than 40 hours/week?

Is your employer misclassifying you as an independent contractor rather than an employee to avoid paying overtime premium pay?

These are some of the allegations being made by the plaintiffs and their attorney Bryan Mintz, of Mintz & Geftic LLC, against Big City Automotive and its ...