The Community Garden for All Jersey City Residents
Since 1995, Riverview Community Garden has provided gardening opportunities and activities to citizens of all ages and incomes.
The Riverview Community Garden Team believes that gardening can build a healthier community. Gardens uplift the mind and rejuvenate the body; therefore, the individual and communal benefits are innumerable.
Working in a garden provides cardiovascular exercise, and consuming healthy food builds a strong body. Additionally, the use of medicinal herbs improves health and well-being, and watching plants grow and bloom reduces stress. Participating in a community endeavor increases a sense of belonging, which improves individual quality of life. It is all interconnected and the more people understand these benefits, the better off the Jersey City community will be.
A HealthierJC begins with access to healthy food and healing herbs grown in organic soil, without pesticides. Many people in the community cannot find fresh organic food in local grocers, cannot afford organic vegetables, nor have access to outdoor space to grow a garden. Riverview Community Garden offers the community access, either by giving individuals the opportunity to tend their own plots, or establishing a community food share garden.
For Riverview Community Garden, building a Culture of Health starts from the ground up—by creating good soil to grow healthy plants and healthy people. Riverview Community Garden aims to educate the community in organic practices, by engaging youth and offering access to fresh organic produce. Their mission is to give all citizens of Jersey City a beautiful place to reflect, meditate, relieve stress, and to establish a lifelong relationship with nature.
Pre-covid, Riverview Community Garden conducted a food share program, which offered the community free organic vegetables every weekend during the growing season. In addition, the HealthierJC mini-grant funded a ‘How to Grow Edible Wine Cap Mushrooms” workshop, attended by a group of over 50 diverse Jersey City residents, including children, in Ward D, Jersey City Heights. This workshop distributed fungal spawn and wood chips to attendees for to jumpstart their own mushroom gardens.
The mini-grant was also used by Riverview Community Garden to purchase a small greenhouse to start seeds for next seasons medicinal and food share gardens.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the garden was closed to the public, however Riverview Community Garden established relationships with a local Jersey City food pantry to deliver vegetables to help those in need, and provide medicinal plants to augment herb gardens offerings. Seeds were also provided for children to plant and learn at home during the pandemic.
Tending a garden is a wonderful way to increase health and well-being. It is a workout for the muscles, and it yields fresh fruits and vegetables which nourish the body. It is fun, communal, and there is always something to discover about plants.
For instance, stinging nettles are a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory – great for allergy relief. When you stop by the garden, the staff takes the time to share these health tips with the community and answer questions.
Riverview Community Garden intends to have future workshops to educate the community about how to use medicinal herbs and plants to help the immune system. While the pandemic delayed plans for these workshops, they were able to do the groundwork for next year with their new greenhouse and medicinal plants.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed the need for community-based food share and health programs. With supermarkets low on supplies, community gardens became essential for access to fresh vegetables, and a source of education about growing your own food. Plant medicine can help ward off cold/flu and viruses.
Moving forward, Riverview Community Garden seeks to collaborate with HealthierJC to conduct more learning activities for the Jersey City community and contribute to food share/medicinal gardens that will impact the community for years to come.
For more information on Riverview Community Garden, please call the organizations local number at (973) 432-1893