Spring into the Garden
Finally the weather reflects the spring season. Green shoots of new growth show promise of renewed life. People are beginning to shift their diets to lighter, fresher foods. Here in New Jersey, flowers and trees are in bloom. Locals gardeners can now prepare their plots to grow food.
Since its inception GRACE has been lucky to partner with the Summit Achieve Community Garden. A collaboration between Atlantic Health, the Summit YMCA, and local green thumbs, the garden provides an accessible, affordable way for community members to grow their own produce even if they lack space, tools, or an abundance of gardening know-how.
For five years a team of gardeners have created and tended a plot of vegetables that appeal specifically to GRACE shoppers from a place of cultural relevance.
Each week through the growing season Garden volunteers make GRACE’s fresh offerings more special with their cornucopia of peppers, leafy greens, cilantro, basil, tomatoes, and squash. Some of the gardeners even share their own family favorite receipes for the more esoteric produce like broccoli raab, bok choy, and garlic scapes.
Studies by the National Gardening Association and the UDHA have shown that those who grow their own produce are twice as likely to consume the number of recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. This year six GRACE families have accepted the Garden’s generous offer to take gardening plots free of charge.
Garden Board Member Tine Mikkelsen shared, “I am thrilled about Summit Community Garden’s ever expanding partnership with GRACE. This year we are seeing an integration of these great communities where gardeners are still growing food for GRACE and the GRACE community is active in the garden for their own families.”
Rosa, one of the GRACE gardeners, is excited to grow herbs and vegetables that are important ingredients to the receipts she cooks every day. She said, “It’s a lot of work after an eight-hour day of work to garden, but we are so happy to have the plot to grow our vegetables.”
These garden plots make our community greener, healthier, and happier. Gardens mature and it is inspiring to see how this program has evolved to include neighbors who can personally benefit.
About the Grantee
GRACE stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community’s Essentials. While essentials can mean nutrient-dense food, we also aspire to enable the security, stabilization and success for all our community’s households.