Come Grow With Us!
The CGWU! initiative strives to increase access to sustainably grown foods and provide accompanying education in order to build sustainable and equitable communities. This initiative has widespread community support and a good administrative foundation.
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of N.J.’s 20th Legislative District was instrumental in initiating the program as a direct result of her experience as a youth in Puerto Rico. When she was elected as legislator she realized that many of her constituents lacked access to fresh and healthy produce that she had been accustomed to as a child.
By assembling a focused steering committee in 2009 made up of Groundwork Elizabeth, the United Way of Union County, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the Master Gardener’s of Union County, the group eventually laid the cornerstone for Come Grow With Us!
Groundwork Elizabeth was designated formally to oversee the CGWU! program in 2010 and has continued to expand it from its initial two gardens to 36 gardens at year end 2016.
CGWU! provides financial, technical and practical assistance to establish verdant, food producing partner gardens and farms at schools, nonprofits and in partnership with government and the private sector. The initiative provides organically grown plants and organic fertilizers each year to its’ Partner Gardens.
With Executive Director Jonathan Phillips and Jackie Park Albaum as Farm and Garden Director the program has served thousands of Union County residents.