Health & Wellness

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

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9f10dd006eb244d1d92d_3e17b24a26d5956a4b67_scarecrow_clipart

Sun, September 24, 11:00 AM

Trailside Nature and Science Center , Mountainside

36th Annual Harvest Festival at Trailside, Sept.

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_ff2dd2ca2a5d6a274cc0_citizenship_corner

Thu, September 28, 6:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Naturalization/Citizenship Information Session

Community Calendar Education

Carousel_image_d0a441be937cfd1e4b35_class-rosa-2

Thu, September 28, 6:30 PM

Homebuyer Seminar, Roselle Park

Homebuyer Seminar

Real Estate

Parents and Students Care Demand Equity in Funding For Elizabeth Public Schools, End to Zero Tolerance Policies

September 21, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ-- Elizabeth Parents and Students Care, (EPSC) a grassroots education justice advocacy group, is taking on what they say is an “unresponsive school board that makes decisions in the best interests of its own members rather than the children whom it is charged with educating.”

The organization will be holding an event tonight to discuss issues they see with public ...

Elizabeth Offers Free Diabetes Workshop Series in Spanish

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Gateway Family YMCA and Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network is sponsoring free diabetes classes in Spanish as part of the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program.

Quality Insights collaborates with healthcare providers, patients and allied organizations across the network to bring about widespread, significant improvements in the quality of care they ...

Volunteer Opportunities Exist for 55+-RSVP Information Sessions

ELIZABETH, NJ-The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Union County will hold two information sessions for all adults 55 and older in Union County.

Opportunities exist throughout the county for volunteers in friendly visiting, community gardens and school-age tutoring and more.

The information sessions will take place at Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, a non-sectarian ...

Union County First To Take “Stand Up for the Other” Pledge

ELIZABETH, NJ-Union County is the first in New Jersey to take the “Stand Up for the Other” pledge. The pledge calls people to action and to challenge bigotry in all its forms.

Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen and the Freeholder Board announced that they welcomed Dr. Mohammad Ali Chaudry of the New Jersey Interfaith Coalition to share the "Stand Up for the ...

New Law in Effect Changes the Way New Jersey Residents Use Car Seats

TRENTON, NJ – New legislation went into effect September 1 that has changed the rules about using infant and child car seats in New Jersey.

The law went into effect September 1 and includes new regulations that require children under the age of two and 30 pounds must be in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness.  Older children must remain in a booster seat until they are ...

Trinitas Regional Medical Center Unveils the New Gary S. Horan Emergency Department

ELIZABETH, NJ – In an opening ceremony held last evening at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, a brand new and expanded $18.7 million dollar Emergency Department was unveiled.

The new emergency department was named for Trinitas President and CEO Gary S. Horan to pay tribute to his decades of leadership in the healthcare field. FACHE, (Fellow of the American College ...

Suspect Sought In Early Morning Carjacking In Elizabeth

September 20, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ—Police are searching for the driver of vehicle after a shooting and carjacking earlier this morning in Elizabeth.

The suspect was reportedly driving a beige or light-colored Cadillac SUV, with a reported NJ license plate number X91-GSB. The suspect is wanted for shots fired at the scene that left another man suspected in the carjacking injured in the area of ...

The Benefit for Gregory-Elizabeth Residents Come Out To Support Cause

September 22, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ-A benefit was held earlier this month to help raise funds for the family of a thirteen year old who was struck by a train in Elizabeth back in May.

Community members attended the event organized by Hispanos Unidos, a non-profit organization that helps people in need in Elizabeth.. It was held to raise funds to help with health care bills, said President of Hispanos ...

Union County College Names New Governor to the Board

September 22, 2017

CRANFORD – At the September 19, 2017, Joint Meeting of the Union County College Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, Hugh C. Welsh, of Cranford, was sworn in to serve as a new Governor. Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor M. Richel and Board of Governors Chair Elizabeth Garcia welcomed Mr. Welsh to the meeting and initiated his swearing in.

Mr. Welsh is the ...

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 ...