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North Bergen residents petition for community garden

The idea is to give kids a place to learn and appreciate fruits and vegetables

The community garden in Braddock Park. Photo via NB Earth Talks

North Bergen residents have asked the township to consider the creation of another community garden, for educational purposes.

Jina Morano brought her son Lucas and other children to raise the idea at the Oct. 6 meeting of the North Bergen Board of Commissioners.

“A community garden is not just a place the kids go and pick up some tomatoes and vegetables,” Morano said. “It goes beyond that. There are many studies that have proved that children who attend community gardens are more likely to adapt healthy habits.”

Morano said she is very enthusiastic about “healthy living” and has her own garden in her backyard.

“Having a garden is a lot of work, so it’s a good exercise for the kids,” Morano said. “It would be doing something not only for the kids of the community, but also for the family. Studies have shown that [community gardens] make families get together.”

Morano asked the board to help make this community garden a reality and that the whole community would appreciate it.

“This will be a place not only will be to grow, but also to educate and to have fun,” Morano said.

Reusing old park space?

Mayor Nicholas Sacco said that the township did try something similar already and added there was a community garden in Braddock Park. Another resident, Hailey Benson, said that the plots in that garden are not for public use.

“This would be specifically for the elementary school,” Benson said. “This would be an educational tool specifically for a science teacher to actually bring the students to learn with hands-on experience.”

Benson said that they have located a potential spot for the garden: “We have found a property that has been abandoned for many years. It used to be a park space.”

Morano said there was ample space for the garden at the spot 71st Street and Columbia Avenue. Benson said the area was safe and already had lockable gates.

Township Administrator Janet Castro said the walkway in the area was under construction after damage incurred by Hurricane Ida, but that the township could explore the idea of a community garden at the location. Sacco told Morano to speak with Castro after the meeting.

“We can put our ideas together and maybe work something out,” Sacco said.

‘More compost bins!’

Residents also asked the board for more compost bins following the success of the bin at the Braddock Park Community Garden.

“The compost bin has diverted over 700 pounds of waste thus far in the two months that its been there,” Benson said. “Since the program is showing great success, I would love to propose an investment in a second bin at that location for an additional $516 dollars for the pilot program which expires in January.”

Benson wants to keep up the conversation to get more compost bins at other locations in the township: “I know residents downtown have been speaking to me, saying that they would really love to see more compost bins downtown. 80th Street is pretty far for them.”

Stephanie Martinez echoed Benson, calling for more compost bins in the township considering the success of the existing one.

“We should have more compost bins available throughout North Bergen,” Martinez said. “Maybe setting another compost bin downtown?”

Martinez suggested putting one at the 10th Street Park that is currently being renovated: “Driving to 80th Street to drop off compost defeats the purpose of being sustainable.”

According to Martinez, adding the compost bins and community garden can also build community. The board did not respond to any of the proposals regarding compost bins.

The next North Bergen Board of Commissioners meeting will be held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 20 at Town Hall at 423 Kennedy Blvd. For more information, go to northbergen.org. 

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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