The township’s first Community Garden – where Jersey-fresh tomatoes, cool cucumbers and other delicious vegetables will soon sprout – has taken root at Fairway Park on Riverdale Avenue.
The 12 vegetable garden planters, each measuring 4 feet by 8 feet, will soon be available to Belleville residents on a first-come, first-served basis for the 2021 growing season by online registration and a nominal fee.
The application and garden rules will be posted soon on the township website.
The Community Garden provides the ideal local opportunity for residents who might not own land or have access to a plot of earth to grow their own vegetables.
“There has been a real boom in recent years of residents who have started their own backyard vegetable gardens,” Gabrielle Bennett-Meany, Belleville’s Green Team Coordinator, said. “This gives people access to fresh, nutrient-rich food and helps them save money on produce that would otherwise be purchased at the supermarket. The Community Garden is perfect for residents who doesn’t have the opportunity to start their own.”
The Green Team’s Vinny Cozzarelli, a member of the Township Council, noted that gardening has other health benefits.
“Many people find that digging in the ground and planting seeds and tending to their gardens is a great way to relax and relieve stress,” he said. “We are happy to bring this new, healthy hobby to more Belleville residents.”
The new Community Garden area will also offer opportunities to educate residents of all ages about a variety of gardening topics and sustainability.
Mayor Michael Melham said a future expansion of the Fairway Park Community Garden is already being planned as well as looking for other gardening locations throughout the town.
“I applaud the Green Team’s efforts,” Melham said. “The Community Garden is the sort of amenity we will continue to add to not only make Belleville an even better place to live, but a greener one, too.”
The members of the Belleville Scout Troop No. 350 played a huge role in the creation of the community garden. They helped build the planters and filled them with soil. Participating in such a community project helps the scouts advance in rank and obtain a community service award.
Members of Belleville’s Department of Public Works also did some site work to lay the foundations for the project, which is funded through a grant.