UNION COUNTY, NJ – Neighborhoods around the county are gaining new gardens or getting additional support for established ones, thanks to the new Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program, launched by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Twenty projects have been selected for matching grant awards in the program that is intended to improve access to locally grown fresh produce throughout Union County and enable local communities to expand opportunities for recreation, socializing, environmental education, volunteer service and neighborhood beautification

 “On behalf of the Freeholder Board, congratulations to our awardees and best wishes for a successful harvest,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “We are very excited about this new grant program, which supports fundamental civic goals by helping more Union County residents enjoy the benefits of growing fresh produce in their communities.”

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The Community Garden Grants program provides for matching grants of up to $1500 for building new gardens, or for expanding or improving existing gardens.

“This is an exemplary program that will help raise awareness about the benefits of community gardens, and help ensure that more Union County residents have access to fresh, nutritious food,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (District 20).

The non-profit organization Groundwork Elizabeth is administering the grants for the Freeholder Board under its existing Come Grow With Us! community garden program.

“Come Grow With Us! began in 2009, inspired by Assemblywoman Quijano’s work to help improve access to fresh produce,” said Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director of Groundwork Elizabeth. “We are very proud to partner with the Freeholder Board to expand this message across Union County.”

The 20 projects will be notified by mail about the details of their awards. They are

  1. Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission, Community Learning Garden at Little-Lord (Berkeley Heights)
  2. Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Bernice's Place "Peace Garden" (Elizabeth)
  3. Jewish Family Service, JFS Urban Community Garden (Elizabeth)
  4. Hillside Victory Community Garden, 242 Pennsylvania Avenue (Hillside)
  5. Communities in Cooperation, CIC, CIC Youth and Family Engagement Community Garden (Linden)
  6. Sunny Gardens of Linden, Dill Avenue (Linden)
  7. Sustainable New Providence, New Providence Community Garden (New Providence)
  8. N.J. Rastafarian Cooperative, Queen City Organic Community Garden/Berkeley Terrace (Plainfield)
  9. Garden #1 Mt. Zion AME Church, 327 1/2 Watson Avenue (Plainfield)
  10. Grace Episcopal Church, 600 Cleveland Avenue (Plainfield)
  11. Richmond Towers Resident's Garden, 510-520 E. Front Street (Plainfield)
  12. Rahway Community Action Org., JFK Center Community Garden (Rahway)
  13. Gateway Family YMCA Rahway, “Super Secret” Square Foot Garden (Rahway)
  14. Roselle Recreation Department, BT Mathis & Diane Mathis Community Garden (Roselle)
  15. Roselle Park Environmental Committee, Roselle Park Community Garden (Roselle Park)
  16. Scotch Plains-Fanwood Community Garden, Frazee House (Scotch Plains)
  17. Township of Scotch Plains, Scotch Plains-Fanwood Community Garden (Scotch Plains)
  18. Homefirst Interfaith Garden, The Avital Abraham Community Garden (Scotch Plains)
  19. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Hobart Road (Summit)
  20. Township of Union Community Garden, EleanorR. Erikson Park (Union)

The Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program is part of Chairman Bergen’s 2016 “Union County Means Green” 2016 initiative for environmental outreach. The new grant program builds on the Freeholder Board’s ongoing support for the Master Gardeners of Union County, an all-volunteer community gardening program run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County.

More information about the 2016 Union County Means Green Chairman’s Initiative is available at ucnj.org.