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News: NJ Grant Breathes New Life into Community Garden

 

October 06, 2020

Replacing Run-Down Fencing and Installing a New Irrigation System

Thanks to a generous grant from the New Jersey Committee of The Garden Club of America, the Short Hills Garden Club (SHGC) has been able to perform some much needed maintenance to the Millburn-Short Hills Community Garden. The work included replacement of run-down fencing as well as installation of a new irrigation system and was completed in time for the summer growing season. 

SHGC members have been stewards of the community garden since its founding in 1975, transforming a vacant lot into beds filled with zinnias, sunflowers, and lilies, and plots brimming with nutritious fresh produce for local residents and beyond.  Leased from The Neighborhood Association of Taylor Street (which includes the Neighborhood House Nursery School), the garden has also been integrated into the nursery school’s curriculum, enabling students to learn about nature through hands-on exploration. 

What began with a modest twenty plots leased to all Millburn and Short Hills residents, the garden has now grown to eighty-five plots, with a long waiting list, and has evolved to benefit those in need. In 2018, SHGC introduced Grow-A-Row. Fifteen plot owners volunteered to grow vegetables that SHGC members harvested and delivered to the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges, an all-volunteer program supplying fresh produce to food-insecure residents of Orange and East Orange. The seventy other plot owners also donate any excess produce to the same food pantry.

“The best part of the current community garden is that the gardeners have come together and are really their own "community" of gardeners, attending work days, weeding common areas, looking out for each other's plots, and taking on small jobs when needed, ” said current SHGC president. “This is a wonderful thing, both for our club and the Millburn and Short Hill communities.”

In 2013, thanks to Short Hills Garden Club’s documentation efforts, this bountiful garden became the first community garden ever accepted into the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens.

 

 

 

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