Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants


Applications for the 2017 grant cycle are closed.  2018 grant cycle coming soon!


The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to present the 2017 Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program. This matching grant program was introduced for the first time in 2016, resulting in funding for 19 garden projects in 10 municipalities. This second year of funding will expand the program and bring the benefits of fresh, locally grown produce to more neighborhoods.

Mission & Goals

This countywide program is funded by the Freeholder Board to help children and adults connect with the experience of growing fresh produce in their communities, leading to improved nutrition as well as opportunities for education, recreation, social activities, community service and neighborhood beautification. Educating gardeners on best practices for a healthy and successful garden is also an important part of this program.

A total amount of $50,000 in dollar-for-dollar matching grants is available for 2017. Applicants may provide their match in dollars or through an equivalent value in supplies, materials or professional labor.


Applications for 2017 are now being accepted. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in order to qualify.

Applicants will be notified of their award no later than Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Successful applicants will receive their awards at the start of the Freeholder Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., at the 6th Floor Meeting Room, County Administration Building, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza in Elizabeth. Attendance is required by a head gardener or other garden representative.

Awardees will also attend a grant workshop in April (date tbd).

Who May Apply

Funding from the Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program is available to non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, and to municipal entities including but not limited to senior housing, public libraries and community centers.

Other volunteer organizations may apply through their municipality or a local 501(c)(3) organization, which will accept the award on their behalf and ensure that it is disbursed in accordance with the grant guidelines. Groups that are organized as LLCs or other commercial entities are not eligible for this program.

Garden projects that applied for a grant in 2016 are welcome to apply for a 2017 grant.

What the Grants Cover

This grant program covers produce gardens including vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, herbs and spices, and plants that are used in pest management or to attract pollinators. It does not include ornamental plants or non-producing gardens.

Funding is available to start a new raised-bed garden, or to improve or expand an existing raised-bed garden, including but not limited to:

  • Beds and soil
  • Compost/composter
  • Fencing
  • Irrigation

  • Sheds
  • Tools and equipment
  • Benches and tables

Funding is also available to start, expand or improve other garden types. This category includes rooftop gardens, hydroponic tables, greenhouses, forest gardens and hay bale gardens among others.


The suggested maximum grant request per applicant is $3000.00.

A minimum application of $800.00 is suggested.

Economical, pre-budgeted grant packages are also available with a $1300.00 match (existing gardens) and $1800.00 (new gardens). These packages are designed to take the guesswork out of expanding an existing garden or starting a new garden.

All applicants must confirm that dollar-for-dollar matching funds are available in 2017. The matching funds may be monetary or in-kind donations of supplies, equipment or professional labor.

Applicants must designate a Head Gardener (Head Gardener #1) responsible for coordinating the garden, and a back-up contact (Head Gardener #2).

Awardees must agree to enroll their garden in Come Grow With Us!, a free program of the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth. Come Grow With Us! is a network for information and resource sharing among community gardens throughout Union County. Currently, 38 gardens are enrolled in Come Grow With Us!.

Awardees must spend their grant and provide documentation for their matching contributions no later than September 1, 2017.

For more information on the Groundwork Elizabeth Come Grow With Us! community garden program please visit groundworkelizabeth.com or call Groundwork, 908-289-0262.

Sponsored by 
Union County 
Board of Chosen Freeholders