FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently visited and toured the Monmouth County Plant a Row for the Hungry Garden, which has donated 29,000 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries since 2006.

Monmouth County’s Plant a Row (PAR) garden was created by the Master Gardeners of Monmouth County and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in 2006 in response to a national initiative by the Association for Garden Communicators, which encouraged all gardeners to dedicate a row of their garden to produce for local food banks and food pantries.

“Monmouth County’s Plant a Row Garden is completely devoted to producing produce for local food pantries and educating the public on the needs of our community,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “It has been amazing to see how much the garden has grown since it was started. Originally the garden yielded a little more than 1,000 pounds of produce each year. Now, it is providing 3,000 pounds of produce.”

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On their tour, the Freeholders viewed the produce currently growing in the 2,000-square-foot PAR garden, including cucumbers, squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and more. The garden is used year-round and grows snow peas, radishes, kale and more in the cold weather seasons.

“This garden is a great resource for our community and the garden truly embodies the spirit of our Grown in Monmouth program,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry. “The produce from the garden is grown by Monmouth County residents enrolled in our County’s Master Gardener program and distributed to local food pantries.The Food pantries do not usually receive donations of fresh produce so they rely heavily on what they receive from the Plant a Row garden.”

The PAR garden, located Agriculture Building at 4000 Kozloski Road in Freehold, is maintained by the County’s Master Gardener program, which trains 30 adults each year to be garden experts who can provide horticultural and gardening information to the Monmouth County community.

The Freeholders were also given a tour of the Junior Master Gardener garden, which is used to teach children in Monmouth County how to garden. The children in the Junior Master Gardener program are each given a plot in the garden to grow their own produce, which they can take home to their families, enter in local fairs or donate.

For more information on Monmouth County’s Master Garden program, visit www.visitmonmouth.com or call 732-431-7260