One of the goals of SJC's Good Food Now! initiative is to connect the people behind the emerging urban ag movement in Jersey City and to provide more opportunities to exchange know-how, seeds, success stories etc. A natural next step was to launch this project, A Network of Sustainable Community Gardens for Jersey City (NSCG), to collect important data and map activities going on at ALL JERSEY CITY GARDEN SITES. This will allow us to build a compelling overview of what's happening, what's working and not working, plus offer some meaningful metrics (attracts funding!) + inform SJC's educational outreach efforts. It will also provide a roadmap for a sustainable landscape design improvement project we have in mind, for all of these sites across Jersey City - stay tuned!
Thank you Jersey City Gardening Coalition for helping us to discover the 20+ community gardens in Jersey City - who knew? And look forward to working with you as key collaborator on this project :-)
A First Step
We encourage existing community garden members to create a free account on Farming Concrete and use the BARN TOOL INSTRUCTIONS for tracking your garden data and to provide specific details about the STORY of your garden! Most of the city's community gardens are already listed - let us know if we missed yours!
- The use of this 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 expanding the use of this tool beyond NYC and into New Jersey through this Jersey City pilot.
The map below reflects the current distribution of community gardens - food growing + ornamentals. Not bad, but we need more of them!
Thank you for participating in this new adventure. PLEASE verify that the information is accurate, this is YOUR MAP! See if your garden is on the map by hovering over the sites / locations - if not, follow the directions below to get in touch with our Project Leader, who will 1) put YOUR GARDEN ON THE MAP and 2) help get you started with CREATING A NARRATIVE ABOUT YOUR GARDEN on the Farming Concrete / BARN tool.
All CONTACT data for each garden can be found in the downloadable link here.
Why is it important to monitor and keep accurate track of community garden data and parameters? Just like in any successful enterprise, measurable indicators make it much easier to manage and improve the gardens' efficiency and impact (i.e., success !!), increasing their benefits to the community. If one of the goals of a Sustainable Community Garden Network is to address affordable community access to fresh and healthy food for all ("food security"), it becomes increasingly important to MAXIMIZE the benefits of the existing ones (sustainably of course!), which is the goal of this project. AND... you can't manage what you don't measure!
- The number of community gardens in Jersey City is slowly growing, but there are not nearly enough - consider the City's Adopt-A-Lot Program, which is managed through Health & Human Services and which recently announced NEW LOTS ARE AVAILABLE!
- OR, consider opportunities to garden on Developer Owned Lots, i.e., often times allowing gardeners to grow food until the Developer chooses to build on the site, OR other privately owned lots that may be open to garden stewards coming in to develop the site for food growing. SJC has a toolkit for those interested to navigate this option on SJC RESOURCES page.
The team working on this plans to provide technical assistance to gardeners to help maximize productivity and sustainability of garden sites, while mitigating and reducing urban contamination of these landscapes. A website for this aspect of the project is currently under construction.
- STEP ONE: 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 BARN tool; after you've registered click on the BARN tab.
- STEP TWO: Click on 'YOUR GARDENS' on the garden map menu in right hand margin, then start typing your garden name, which should bring you to your garden page, if it is listed. If you have logged in before, when you click on YOUR GARDENS, list of garden links you are affiliated with will appear at the bottom of the page (you can be affilited with more than one garden!).
- STEP THREE: Just start entering information about your garden, to help tell us what is going on there, and the story of your garden, e.g., do you grow food? what food are you growing? do you have a composting system or a rain barrel, etc. If you don't see your garden list, use the form below to get in touch with the Project Leader. **IMPORTANT: A rough estimation of the square footage of the garden would be greatly appreciated, along with a description of the physical attributes of the garden, e.g., building structures, fences, perimeter, boundary shapes (See the Health & Social Date fields if you'd like to upload photos).