For those who have not heard about our special 2021 project, “Growing in the Garden State,” we share this post so you can learn about it and get involved.  We have assembled generous organic farms, skilled vegetable gardeners to share their gardening know-how and central jersey volunteers and donors to work with the Cooperative Gardens Commission of NJ, Rutgers, and NOFA-NJ to Garden at Drumthwacket. The Drumthwacket and Wells Fargo foundations have donated generously to support the production of an online gardening class that is being shared free every third Tuesday evening of the month during the growing season. Through this class, we are receiving generous donations with Community gardens throughout the state so that they can distribute seeds and seedlings, soil and containers to communities throughout our garden state. Did you miss the first class? If you did, you can watch the recording on NOFA NJ’s You Tube. Do you want to sign up for the classes during the rest of this season? If you want to join us for the rest, please register so we can send you a link.

New Jersey is experiencing an alarming rise in food insecurity due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the COVID-19’s Impact on Food Insecurity in NJ report from September 2020 (Special Report: COVID-19’s Impact on Hunger in New Jersey – CFBNJ), the number of New Jerseyans with uncertain access to healthy food was expected to increase by more than 50% by year end because of the pandemic, totaling 1.2 million “food insecure” people or 13.5% of the population. For children, the projected increase was bigger, at 75%, bringing the report’s stated total to 365,000.

Now more than ever, the Garden State needs more gardens. Gardening nourishes the body, helps develop peace of mind, elevates the spirit, and cultivates connections through community building.   Farmers, you can help by donating seedlings.  Gardeners you can help by sharing the gift of time and knowledge at our many community gardens.  Consumers, please consider a donation to support community garden non-profits throughout the state who are successfully sharing seeds, seedlings, soil and containers to folks in Atlantic City, Glassboro, Bridgeton, Newark and Trenton. You can learn more about these Organizations, please use following links: Isles, Newark Conservancy, Communities Revolutionizing Open Public Spaces, Bullock Garden Project, Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (“CATA”). Through the creativity of these inspiring teams, most started distributing containers last year during the pandemic, when we were not certain that people gather ion our community gardens.  Since then of course, things have opened up, but we have learned that home growing has benefits that can support many who have experienced unprecedented food shortages and personal isolation. So please support these New Jersey community gardens so they can keep sharing container gardens.

Author: Devin