This spring, the Village of South Orange will open an organic community garden, giving residents the opportunity to grow fresh annual vegetables and flowers.
The garden, which will consist of approximately 30 raised-bed garden plots, measuring 4 ft. by 12 ft., will be located on Third Street, in a section of the Third Street Playground.
Student Jacie Jones, former Ecology Club president, and student representative to the University Sustainability Committee, is involved in environmental projects and organizations in South Orange and Maplewood.
“I got involved in the community because I learned of their incredible environmental efforts and wanted to be a part of the amazing work they’re doing locally,” Jones said.
According to the Village of South Orange website, “The South Orange Community Garden will be dedicated to supporting and operating a recreational, community garden for the residents of the Township of South Orange Village for the promotion of education and sustainable, ornamental and edible plant culture.”
“People are always jealous of the awesome community gardens maintained in Boston and other cities, so I think it’s really exciting that we’ll have our very own here in South Orange,” Jones said.
The Village designated the community garden as an organic garden. According to the Village website, the use of chemicals such as inorganic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, inorganic rodenticides and inorganic herbicide will not be permitted in the garden.
The garden only permits the use of beneficial organic practices to control garden pests.
The garden will be run by a newly-formed South Orange Community Garden Group, which consists of all registered gardeners. According to the Village website, “SOCGG will function as a a non-profit, community organization that will be governed by an elected, volunteer Executive Committee, which will govern the garden based on By-laws and Operating Rules and Regulations.”
Registration for garden plots, which began on March 1, was closed early on March 11 due to overwhelming response by residents of South Orange.
“I think it’s great that such a demand was demonstrated. It shows that residents are supporting the community and are excited about the project,” Jones said. “Hopefully it will prove successful in its first year and be expanded later so that more can get involved, including Seton Hall and the Ecology Club.”
Those who purchased a plot will pay an annual fee of $50 and a refundable security deposit of $20. The Village website also states that the funding for the garden, aside from the revenue of the Garden Season Permit fee, is generously being donated by the HK Community Fund.
“I think the garden is a fantastic idea. It will bring community members together, allow for local residents to better appreciate nature, and also foster some new bonds between consumers and their food supply,” Jones said. “If Seton Hall students are able to get involved in the future it would be an invaluable way to build new relationships between residents and students with common interests and a similar investment in their community.”
In the future, Jones said she hopes the Ecology Club could reserve a space next year.
“I’m certain the Ecology Club would love to have a plot in the future if it were possible,” Jones said.
The garden will begin construction April 17 and will be open May 1 through October 15. Gardening hours will be Monday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Samantha Desmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.