ELIZABETH, NJ - Applications are now open for the 2019 'Union County Means Green' (UC Means Green) community garden grants program, designed to foster improved nutrition as well as new opportunities for education, recreation, social activities, community service and neighborhood beautification through the experience of growing fresh produce in local neighborhoods.

“'UC Means Green' is an inclusive grant program that provides new opportunities for gardeners of all ages and abilities to work cooperatively, share with the community, and enjoy the satisfaction of growing fresh food,” said  Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Bette Jane Kowalski.

The 'Union County Means Green' community garden grants program is funded by the Freeholder Board. It was first established in 2016. Since then, it has helped to transform bare fields and empty lots into thriving centers for community activities, with thousands of pounds of fresh produce raised for local consumption and donated to local food pantries.

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Any Union County municipality or local nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is welcome to apply for a UC Means Green grant. Other local civic groups may apply by designating a grant partner. The grant partner must be a Union County municipality or local 501(c)(3) organization. Groups organized as LLCs or other commercial entities are not eligible to apply.

The program covers a wide variety of garden types. In addition to traditional soil-based gardens, eligible garden types include but are not limited to hydroponic gardens, rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, aeroponic gardens, mushroom gardens, milk crate gardens, pollinator gardens (must include food-producing plants), rain gardens (must include both pollinator-attracting and food-producing plants), hay bale gardens, forest gardens and more.

Applications for a 2019 grant are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2. Union County will notify grant recipients on or about Thursday, April 11.

The non-profit organization Groundwork Elizabeth has been awarded a contract to administer UC Means Green on behalf of the Freeholder Board.

For more details and a downloadable application form, visit ucnj.org/ garden-grants, or call Groundwork Elizabeth at 908-289-0262 or contact info@groundworkelizabeth.org.