HACKENSACK, NJ - Registration is now open for those who want to reserve a plot in the soon-to-be opened community garden in Hackensack. 

Ground was broken earlier this month to prepare a section of Johnson Park for the garden and by Memorial Day the area will be ready for residents to start planting fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers in the raised beds, according to Gary Terzano, chairman of the city’s environmental commission.

The garden currently has 36 4 ft. by 4 ft. raised beds, as well as 25 planters, that can be reserved for a small fee. To register, or receive further information, contact the city’s recreation department at 201-646-8042.

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Since the council created the environmental commission last year, its members have been focused on creating a community garden that will not only beautify the city, but also provide education to students and connect residents through volunteerism.

In January, the council authorized using the area south of the Johnson Park greenhouse as a community garden. By 2020, the garden will be expanded to include another 86 plots, Terzano said.

Over the last few weeks, environmental commission members, volunteers and city department of public works employees have worked on completing the garden’s first phase of construction, he added. 

“The plan is to have classes for school children, classes for summer camp programs by recreation, senior citizens, handicapped residents and residents who may not have the availability of a backyard to grow a garden,” Terzano said.

Another initiative of the commission includes the refurbishment of the Johnson Park greenhouse, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years. In the past, students in the Going Green Club at Hackensack High School used the greenhouse for planting but due to safety issues in the facility, it was closed.

Teacher and club advisor Lorelei Kaminski, who is also a member of the environmental commission and shade tree committee, helped spearhead a plan to rehabilitate not only the greenhouse but also to create the garden, Terzano said. 

The commission aims to transform it into a state-of-the-art greenhouse that can serve as a center to educate community members of all ages about sustainability, nutrition, conversation and gardening. They also hope it can be used as a location for community gatherings. 

“With the eventual rehabilitation of the greenhouse, the environmental commission and city plans on offering year-round programs,” Terzano said.

Funding for both the garden and greenhouse repairs will come from grants, donations, registration fees and “hopefully a city budget allocation,” he said.

“This is a brand new program that the city is establishing for its citizens,” he said. “Green programs are not a new concept, but the city of Hackensack is ready to join many of the other municipalities in New Jersey that have their citizens enjoying them.”