UNION COUNTY, NJ -- The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has awarded “Union County Kids Dig In!” grants to 32 schools in 12 County municipalities. The grant assistance covers establishing/building of gardens, garden boxes and/or tools and equipment. It is aimed at educating students about gardening and fostering the growth and creation of community gardens at the schools.
The following local schools applied and will receive assistance through the Kids Dig In! program:
1. Coles Elementary School
2. McGinn Elementary School
3. JCC of Central NJ (Brody Family Early Learning Center)
“Our goal is to teach children how food is grown, to educate them about nutrition, and to make them think about the environment and the world around them, including their own communities,” said Freeholder Sergio Granados, who worked to create the program this year as the Chairman of the Union County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. “Studies show that when children are engaged in gardening programs, their school performances improve and health outcomes improve. This is a great way to get everyone involved in community gardening not only the children, but also parents, teachers and local residents.”
Granados noted that the grant requires the donation of a portion of what is grown for community donation, teaching children about charity. Gardens must agree to set aside 30% of their harvest for community donation and enroll in Come Grow With Us!, a free countywide information and resource sharing network for community gardens.
Grant applicants were given to apply for one of four options: 1.) tools and equipment; 2.) establishing a garden with four raised beds with soil, irrigation, soil amendments, seedlings and provisions for educational programs; 3.) requesting ten (10) Earthboxes with soil, tools, soil amendments, seedlings and provisions for educational programs; and 4.) funding other garden types including rooftop, hydroponic and others.