Union County, NJ – As part of Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados’s 2018 Union County Plant a Seed grants initiative, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that grants have been awarded to 27 garden projects in nine municipalities through the Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program.
“The goal of Union County Means Green is to enable more County residents to experience the benefits of growing fresh produce in their neighborhoods, including improved access to fresh produce as well new opportunities for education, socialization, recreation and civic service,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “By supporting these gardens, we support healthier lifestyles and help people forge stronger bonds with their neighbors and the community at large.”
Grants from Union County Means Green have helped to improve existing community gardens, start new gardens and transform empty lots into thriving centers for social and educational activities, with hundreds of pounds of fresh produce consumed and donated to local food pantries each year.
“The Freeholder Board has a longstanding appreciation for community gardens, and our goal is to ensure that these benefits are accessible to as many County residents as possible,” explained Freeholder Bruce H. Bergen. “Community gardens bring people together with a creative, cooperative purpose.” The Union County Means Green grant program was launched by Freeholder Bergen while serving as Chairman in 2016.
“As in past years, our 2018 awardees represent the wide range of diversity in the community garden movement, from small installations to large plots with dozens of beds,” said Chairman Granados. “Even a small plot of land can yield a bountiful harvest and provide people of all ages and abilities with an empowering experience. This year’s projects include extra high ‘senior’ beds that enable easier access for people using wheelchairs and walkers, and hydroponic tables that allow gardening to be practiced indoors, throughout the year.”
The 2018 program awarded three types of grants: pre-budgeted $1,250 all-in-one grants for starting new gardens, $500 block grants for expanding or improving gardens including the purchase of equipment and supplies, and $3,000 pre-budgeted grants for hydroponic gardens.
The 2018 awardees are:
Berkeley Heights Community Garden, Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission ($500 materials and supplies)
Hope Grows, Our House ($1,250 new garden beds with materials and supplies)
Elizabeth Branch Community Garden, Gateway Family YMCA ($500 materials and supplies)
Elmora Branch Library Community Garden, Elizabeth Public Library ($500 materials and supplies)
Peterstown Garden, City of Elizabeth ($1,250 new garden beds with materials and supplies)
Sampson Center Garden, City of Elizabeth ($3,000 hydroponic garden)
JFS Urban Community Vegetable Garden, Jewish Family Services ($500 materials and supplies)
Harvesting Without Soil, Josephine’s Place ($3,000 hydroponic garden)
P.I.S.C. Vira Verde, Portuguese Instructive Social Club ($3,000 hydroponic garden)
Elizabeth Parent Support Group Garden, Prevention Links, ($3,000 hydroponic garden)
Fort Leonard Senior Garden, Elizabeth Housing Authority/Division Street ($500 materials and supplies)
Bayway Family Success Center, Elizabeth Housing Authority ($3,000 hydroponic garden)
Sunny Gardens of Linden Garden ($500 materials and supplies)
Linden FSC Community Garden, Communities in Cooperation ($500 materials and supplies)
The B.A.C.O.N.J./City of Plainfield Community Garden, Barbados American Organization ($1,250 new garden beds with materials and supplies)
JoAnne Hollis Garden, Plainfield Housing Authority ($1,250 new garden beds with materials and supplies)
Richmond Towers Community Garden Club, Plainfield Housing Authority($3,000 with materials and supplies)
RWJ Hydroponic Table, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ($3,000 hydroponic table)
Rahway Community Garden, City of Rahway ($500 materials and supplies)
JFK Community Garden, JFK Community Center ($500 materials and supplies)
Glamformers Community Garden, Glamformers/Borough of Roselle ($1,250 new garden beds with materials and supplies)
BT and Diane Mathis Community Garden, Roselle Community Center ($500 materials and supplies)
Scotch Plains – Fanwood Community Garden, Scotch Plains/Frazee House ($500 materials and supplies )
Summit ACHIEVE Community Garden, Summit Area YMCA ($500 materials and supplies)
Five Points Branch Community Garden, Gateway Family YMCA ($500 materials and supplies)
W.I.S.E. Center Branch Community Garden, Gateway Family YMCA ($500 materials and supplies)
Township of Union Community Garden, Union Township ($500 materials and supplies)
Union County Plant a Seed includes the Union County Means Green and Union County Kids Dig in grant programs, both administered on behalf of the Freeholder Board by the nonprofit community organization Groundwork Elizabeth. Plant a Seed also includes state-funded recycling grant programs administered by Union County and other initiatives that foster education, empowerment and community service.
For more information about Groundwork Elizabeth visit online at groundworkelizabeth.org.
For quick links to all Union County environmental programs, activities and services visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
Connect with Union County on social media.
Photo caption: Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, Vice Chairman Bette Jane Kowalski and Freeholder Alexander Mirabella congratulated representatives from the Barbados American Organization and the Plainfield Housing Authority on receiving Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants (photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union).