The North Haledon Community Garden is a perfect example of a fruitful partnership between a municipal government, community groups and dedicated volunteers. Officially opened on May 3rd of this year, the North Haledon Community Garden consists of 16 raised beds with 15 of the beds currently being used. It is conveniently located at the heart of the town’s recreation center. A visitor can stroll or bike through the walking trails and Dog Park and view the raised beds containing herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, and turnips. One raised bed is even reminiscent of a miniature meadow as it is houses different wildflowers.
Instrumental to the creation of the garden was the support of the North Haledon Green Team, led by Mayor Randy George. The North Haledon Green Team designed the garden with the assistance of urban homesteading expert, Victor Alfieri while North Haledon’s DPW prepared the area for the garden. The garden even includes a rain barrel that gardeners can access as a steady source of water. The benefits of the community garden go beyond what it brings to garden participants, as the Green Team has included it as part of their submission for Sustainable Jersey Certification. Municipalities that are certified by Sustainable Jersey practice responsible environmental management and conservation, while saving costs in energy, water and garbage bills. According to Jerry Flach, one of the passionate members of the Green Team and member of the Community Garden, the group is working to improve the community by using best practices, which highlight sustainability to help North Haledon become more self-sufficient over the long run.
Jerry has grown a number of vegetables in her raised bed this year, including tomatoes, kale, turnips, broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy. This was the first year that Jerry grew some of these vegetables from seed. From that harvest, she has shared the produce with her co-workers and family. Although Jerry has garden space at home, she has too much shade that does not allow full sunlight for some of the sun-loving vegetables. The community garden allows Jerry to grow different vegetables and be an active part of the community. Jerry is glad that the Mayor, the Green Team and other residents work together to care for open space in the community. She says that as a whole, North Haledon “makes great use of the space we have, otherwise it would be sitting there idly.”
Part of the funding for the North Haledon Community Garden was provided by the City Green and Passaic County Dig In! program.
by Claudia Urdanivia