SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – The Union County Freeholders have awarded 2017 Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program has awarded matching funds for 20 garden projects throughout the county, including three in Scotch Plains-Fanwood. The projects will provide donations of fresh produce to those in need as well as education, recreation, civic service and social opportunities for gardeners and their communities.
The "UC Means Green" local awardees are:
- Fanwood Borough Hall Pollinator and Butterfly Garden
- Brunner School's Children’s Garden (Howard B. Brunner School)
- Scotch Plains-Fanwood Community Garden (located on the grounds of Frazee House)
"One of the things we want to do is to the front lawn of Fanwood Borough Hall into an environmental learning center," said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr. "We have a rain garden, a rain barrel and now a pollinator/butterfly garden."
“This year’s group of awardees demonstrates that the community garden movement touches Union County residents of all ages and from all walks of life,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “On behalf of the Freeholder Board I wish our awardees all the best for an enriching experience and a bountiful harvest.”
The 2017 UC Means Green garden grant program is administered by the non-profit organization Groundwork Elizabeth on behalf of Freeholder Board. The Union County community garden movement is also supported by community organizations and private sector partners, and it has even attracted state and federal interest.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has partnered with Groundwork through the More PEAS permaculture initiative, resulting in the construction of more than 100 new community garden beds in Elizabeth earlier this month. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Conservation Resource Service has also begun to partner with Groundwork in of support Union County community gardens. The agency traditionally provides assistance to rural farmers. Its interest in Union County is part of a new initiative to reach urban farmers and community gardens.
Rounding out the community garden picture in Union County is the Rutgers Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. Located by the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center, the garden has donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce for local food pantries and offers a variety of community education programs. The Master Gardeners is an all-volunteer organization run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and supported by the Freeholder Board, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national Extension system.