A Chance To Bring A Bit Of Nature To The Neighborhood
The Growing Together "Adopt-A-Lot" Community Gardening
Program Wants You!
You and a group of friends know you want to adopt something, but none of you are ready to commit to your significant others and two of you are allergic to pet fur. What’s a group of City Apartment Dwellers to do?
Why, Adopt-A-Lot of course! The City is looking for community minded individuals who dig the idea of Urban Gardening to adopt an unused City lot or plot of under-used park land. The group leases it for a dollar for two years and, along with other community members, turn what had the potential to be an eyesore and blight on the neighborhood into a beautiful and bountiful pocket of urban green!
Made possible by a recent amendment to the City’s Adopt-A-Lot ordinance, interested community groups are encouraged to learn how to turn vacant lots and under-used park lands into viable flower and vegetable gardens. The $1 leases are for two years and the City has even teamed up with City Green to assist aspiring community gardeners by providing them with the resources and skills, such as plant choice, maintenance, and composting, all of which are necessary to successfully get gardens up and running, but also to maintain them for years to come.
“This is a great program for everyone who loves their neighborhood, loves the outdoors, and wants to improve their community,” said Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. “Gardening is not only beneficial for the environment, but it’s also an extraordinarily healthy activity. Whether you’re planting vegetables for a better diet or growing your favorite flower, working in a community garden is a great way to meet your neighbors and get a little physical activity.”
Just one of a number of green programs currently under development by the Mayor’s Office and the City’s Green Committee, the new Adopt-A-Lot program will be part of the City’s application for Sustainable Jersey designation, a program that helps municipalities improve efficiency, cut waste, and stimulate their local economies.
Municipalities with Sustainable Jersey designation also get special priority access and notification of incentives and grants, and are eligible for the Sustainable Jersey Small Grant Program, which funds $220,000 worth of sustainable projects annually across New Jersey. The Adopt-A-Lot program is just one of those projects the Green Task Force is developing to enable the City of Jersey City to qualify for Sustainable Jersey Status.
Urban Gardening Not New To Jersey City
As many long time residents will attest, community gardening is not new to Jersey City. At least a dozen well established community gardens, such as the Brunswick Community Garden, Sgt. Anthony Park Garden and the Riverview-Fisk Garden, have thrived in Jersey City for years, maintained by roughly 500 residents, according to Senior City Planner and Green Task Force member Tanya Marione-Stanton.
“The number of people it takes to maintain a community garden or pocket park varies,” said Ms. Marione-Stanton. “I’ve seen wonderful plots managed by as few as four people and by as many as a hundred volunteers.”
While only three of the established community gardens in the city grow vegetables, Marione-Stanton said the response to the Adopt-A-Lot program has been extremely positive and that “we’re hoping to have two or more vegetable producing community gardens up and running by fall 2011.”
The Down and Dirty Details on How to Adopt-A-Lot
• Only City owned lots and parks may be adopted.
• Lots may be used for community gardening or recreational purposes.
• Non-profit corporations or Community associations may submit a written request with completed application to Rodney Hadley, Director, Department of Public Works, along with a copy to Tanya Marione-Stanton, Division of City Planning. See Forms below for details!
• Applicants whose applications are approved will be sent four (4) original Lease Agreements to be completed and returned to DPW / Div. of Park Maintenance.
• Properly completed Lease Agreements will be forwarded to the Business Administrator (BA) to be executed. The Lease shall be valid for 2 years from the day Lease is executed by the BA.
• After receiving the Tenant copy of the executed Lease, the applicant must notify DPW and together a representative of the applicant and DPW will inspect the site to locate and remove, if feasible, hazardous conditions. If a dangerous condition exists that cannot be remedied at reasonable cost to the City the Lease may be terminated immediately.
• Community groups will be required to abide by the rules and regulations listed in the Lease. This includes attending an educational workshop, registering your garden online, providing a minimum of 20 hours of public access, and participating in an annual Green Your Block program.
• For other questions regarding the program please contact the Department of Park Maintenance at (201) 547-4449, or the Division of City Planning at (201) 547-5488.
Download Adopt-A-Lot Forms Needed To Get Started
• Adopt-A-Lot Fact Sheet
• Adopt-A-Lot Application
• Adopt-A-Lot Lease
• Adopt-A-Lot Ordinance
Read about Jersey City's first master gardener and seedsman, the legendary Peter Henderson, original landscaper of Van Vorst Park.