SJC BLOG

A Sustainable Network of Community Gardens in Jersey City

Sustainable JC is launching a new project, under the generous and collaborative umbrella of the Good Food Now! initiative, involving Jersey City's community gardens. A first step encourages existing community garden stewards to create a free account on Farming Concrete and use their BARN tool for logging garden data. Most of the city's community gardens are already listed - check it out. The use of the tool was made possible through Sustainable JC's relationship with Farming Concrete, developers of the tool, which is being deployed primarily in New York, through the Design Trust's Five Boro Farms project. Sustainable JC is initiating the use of this tool in New Jersey through the Jersey City pilot.

This is what the current distribution of community gardens look like, after listing them on Farming Concrete - not bad but we need more of them !

Barn_Image

Why is it important to monitor and keep accurate track of community garden parameters? Just like in any successful enterprise, measurable indicators make it much easier to manage and improve the gardens' efficiency and impact, increasing their benefits to the community. We all know that there are not nearly enough community gardens in Jersey City, helping to address affordable community access to fresh and healty food for all ("food security"). Thus, it becomes increasingly important to sustainably MAXIMIZE the benefits of the existing ones.
A more detailed explanation of why community garden data collection is important can be found here and by watching the following video:

[embed]https://vimeo.com/69500654[/embed]

One of the goals of SJC's Good Food Now! inititiative is to connect a comprehensive community garden network for Jersey City, initiate exchanges (know-how, seeds, success stories etc.) and hopefully make available a "quantitative platform" compelling enough to attract funding to support a city-wide community garden / sustainable landscape design improvement project.  The team working on this aims to provide technical assistance to gardeners to help maximize productivity and sustainability of garden sites, while mitigating and reducing urban contamination. A website for this aspect of the project is currently under construction.
To participate in this project, please follow these steps:
  • STEP ONE: Use the form provided below to contact the project coordinator with the name and location of your community garden, to make sure your garden is listed. A rough estimation of the area surface of the garden would be greatly appreciated, along with a description of the physical limits of the garden.
  • STEP TWO: Go to farmingconcrete.org and register for a user account. Do not worry about the Five Borough reference, Jersey City has its own community garden circle already setup inside the tool.
If you have any questions about this project or the online tool, please feel free to contact the project leader using the form provided below.
[contact-form to='alina.tarmu@yahoo.com' subject='Farming Concret'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Lastly,

Sustainable community gardens can integrate no / low cost solutions like rainwater collection for irrigation and composting for enriching and treating the soil. This project is connected to two other SJC Projects: 1) Green Infrastructure / Rain Gardens +ART Campaign / Rain Barrels and 2) Community Composting. We are avid supporters of Bokashi, a fermentation approach to food waste recycling, which provides multiple benefits for urban landscapes and which can be a stand alone approach or be integrated into traditional backyard and community garden composting systems
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Permaculture at Bright Street Community Garden

As part of SJC's Urban Farming and Gardening Workshop Series, permaculture extraordinaire Wanda Knapik came to JC to give a demonstration at an underutilized lot on Bright Street for growing food using permaculture principles. It was a great turn out despite the threat of rain. Wanda started the event with some T'ai Chi to get the energy flowing and to keep us warm. Then we discussed the energies that a garden needs: sun, water, and wind. The site orientation is perfect for sun exposure, but with out a water connection we needed to get creative. Some ideas included the use rain barrels that collect water from the neighboring buildings, or getting help from the Frank Conwell Middle School next door.

Pat Byrne and Anne McTernan are the masterminds behind this community garden. Pat, who lives next door to the empty lot, took the initiative to contact the developer to find out if they could do something with it and he agreed. They want to grow vegetables and flowers, have a place to sit and relax, and maybe even show movies.

If anyone has some chickens, the garden would like to borrow them for a weekend to clean up the ground cover.

If you want to help in the creation of this wonderful garden contact Pat at BrightStreetGarden (at) gmail (dot) com

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