Home & Garden

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:

Sign Up for E-News

Elizabeth

Upcoming Events

Wed, October 18, 5:00 PM

Valenca Bar & Restaurant, Elizabeth

Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce Business ...

Business & Finance Food & Drink

Thu, October 19, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Retired & Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Information ...

Giving Back Other

Thu, October 19, 7:00 PM

Elizabeth Public Library Auditorium, Elizabeth

2017 Fall Concert Series

Arts & Entertainment

Lantern Cemetery Tour of Aging Tombstones on Tap  -- If You Dare

October 15, 2017

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ--If your love of history is stronger than your fear of zombies, then mark Saturday, Oct. 21, in your calendar.

As part of the Four Centuries in a Weekend history event, the Rev. Chaz Hutchison, pastor of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church, will lead a lantern tour of one of the oldest cemeteries in the area. The tour starts at 5:30 p.m. and will run approximately one ...

Job Fair-Over Thirty Retailers Looking to Hire Seasonal Workers in Elizabeth

ELIZABETH, NJ--Over thirty retailers will be participating in a job fair on Friday, October 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at The Mills at Jersey Gardens in the Center Court.

Participating retailers will be hiring for multiple positions, a majority of those positions will be seasonal and part-time employees to help during its busy holiday season. For most retailers, the holiday shopping ...

Ninth Annual Columbus Day Flag Raising Held By Unico District X

ELIZABETH, NJ--- Union County's ninth annual Columbus Day Flag Raising event was held Friday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m., on the steps of the Union County Courthouse.

Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen, Freeholders Alexander Mirabella, Bette Jane Kowalski, Vernell Wright, Angel Estrada and County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi were all in attendance at the event.

“This year, we have a very ...

Annual Taste of Elizabeth Draws Hundreds of Foodies to Dine on a Variety of Dishes

October 17, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ--The Rotary Club of Elizabeth, celebrating its 100 year of service to the greater Elizabeth community, held its annual Taste of Elizabeth XI on Monday evening at the Renaissance Hotel.

Over 30 restaurants, bakeries, food manufacturers and beverage vendors filled the exhibit space along with over 300 foodies from all over the Union County area.

Doug Harris, chairman of this ...

Global Opportunity for Elizabeth Business Owners: NJ Step Grant Program

October 14, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ- If you own a small business you may be thinking about capitalizing on the global market to expand your company and its bottom line.

According to The New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC) it has been awarded more than $600,000 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help New Jersey companies gain access to international ...

A Call for All Library Supporters to Vote "Yes" on Nov. 7

October 17, 2017

Dear Editor:

As a New Jersey resident and strong supporter of our local library, I urge all New Jersey citizens to vote “YES” on Tuesday, November 7 for the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, supporting libraries across NJ. 

Libraries are increasingly becoming the social hubs of our communities.This act  authorizes New Jersey to issue ...

Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalksi to be Honored by Community Access Unlimited Nov. 2

October 14, 2017

ELIZABETH--Community Access Unlimited (CAU) will be honoring Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski and Kevin Casey, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, at its Annual Gala Dinner Dance, being held Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott.

CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and ...

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot (William Morrow, 2016)

Okay, so Meg Cabot is not high brow literature. However, she is a New York Times best-selling author who definitely has her finger on the pulse of life as a millennial. Best known for her Princess Diary books about an American commoner, Mia Thermopolis, who suddenly learns in her teens that she is the princess of Genovia, Cabot has made her ...

'The Honeymooners' smart, snappy production

Smart, sassy production of ‘The Honeymooners’ takes off at Paper Mill

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – “And away we go” indeed. The creative team at the Paper Mill Playhouse has taken the seeds of “The Honeymooners” from 1950’s television and turned it into a smart, snappy musical.

Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are still up to their get-rich-quick ...