Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that the new Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program is now accepting grant applications to start a new community garden, or to expand and improve an existing garden. The garden grant program will be administered by the non-profit organization Groundwork Elizabeth under its Come Grow With Us! community garden program.
“Growing fresh produce provides the benefits of improved nutrition, environmental education, recreation, socializing, volunteer opportunities, and neighborhood beautification,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “This new funding opportunity is designed to help local groups assemble the resources they need to bring these positive experiences to their community.”
“The community gardens funded through this program will provide a source of enrichment for many years to come, and I thank Chairman Bergen and the Freeholder Board for introducing this new grant program,” said New Jersey State Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (District 20), whose advocacy for community gardening lead to the founding of Come Grow With Us! in 2009. “Come Grow With Us addresses the goal of making sure everyone has access to locally grown, fresh foods, and the Union County Means Green initiative is a key part of meeting the objective of sustainability and food access.”
The Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants program is part of Chairman Bergen’s 2016 “Union County Means Green” 2016 initiative for environmental outreach. It builds on the County’s support for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County Master Gardeners program, which focuses on community nutrition and education.
“This new grant program joins Union County residents with national efforts to raise awareness about the importance of gardening for a fit, healthy community, such as the USDA Peoples Garden Initiative and the Let’s Move! Initiative, and we are very excited to help this movement grow,” said Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director of Groundwork Elizabeth.
Funding from the Union County Means Green Community Garden Grants is available to non-profit civic organizations and agencies including historical societies, community centers, senior centers, municipal agencies or departments, and volunteer civic groups such as municipal Environmental Commissions and neighborhood associations. At this time funding is not available to schools or school districts.
The grants for new gardens are designed to take all of the guesswork out of creating a new community garden. The grant package includes planning, setup, maintenance, education and guidance, all provided in one package by Groundwork Elizabeth’s expert community garden team. Matching grants of up to $3,000 are available.
For existing gardens, matching grants of up to $3,000 are available for expansion or to replace critical infrastructure such as sheds, fences, new soil, and raised beds.
Applications for 2016 are due May 6, 2016. Union County will notify grant recipients by May 16, 2016.
More details and downloadable application forms are available on the County website, at ucnj.org/garden-grants.
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