In 2009, Groundwork Elizabeth began developing the “Come Grow With Us! Community Farm and Garden Initiative” to improve access to sustainably grown local produce for urban communities bordering Kean University in Union Township, Union County.

As a result of the program, Groundwork Elizabeth now manages a growing network of over 200 Community Farm and Garden Partnerships and continues to fulfill its mission of helping at-risk communities in Union County receive healthy, locally grown, nutritious produce in order to combat poor nutritional habits, lack of nutritional education, and reduce obesity rates.

Each year, the Groundwork Elizabeth MicroFarm harvests and donates over 5,000 pounds of produce, grown at the Elizabeth MicroFarm, to local food pantries.

Featured Healthy Community Programs

Community Farm & Garden Partnerships Program

The “Come Grow With Us!” Community Farm and Garden Partnership builds food-producing farms and gardens and hosts a FREE, garden information sharing network in Union County. Each year all of our Partner Gardens are invited to Jerry’s Free Plant Sale to receive organically grown seedlings and to select donated seeds for the gardens. On average, over 18,000 plants and 30,000 packets of seeds are donated each year to community gardens in Union County that participate in the program and all community gardens are invited to join.

Program Partners: Union County and the City of Elizabeth. Special thanks to our previous season’s seed donors: Renee’s Garden, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Williams Nursery, Hudson Valley Seed Company

“Union County Plant a Seed” Community Garden Grant Programs

Established in 2016 by the Union County Board of County Commissioners, “Union County Plant a Seed” includes the “Union County Means Green” and “Union County Kids Dig” in grant programs, both administered on behalf of the Freeholder Board by the nonprofit community organization Groundwork Elizabeth. Plant a Seed also includes state-funded recycling grant programs administered by Union County and other initiatives that foster education, empowerment and community service.

Program Partners: Union County Board of County Commissioners

Farm & Garden Adventures Program

Our educational Farm & Garden Adventures Program, based at the Groundwork Elizabeth MicroFarm, advocates for the right of students of all ages to play, discover and interact in a safe, outdoor farm environment while learning how to garden, harvest and prepare foods they have grown. It also hosts several green infrastructure demonstrations and teaches conservation.

Our program addresses the needs of our at-risk communities for healthy, locally grown, nutritious foods, as it engages nutritionally-challenged students in curriculum that promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles, directly counteracting the lack of physical activity, poor nutritional habits and lack of nutritional education that is prevalent in low income urban communities.

Farm & Garden Adventures are available in a diverse array of topics including Composting, Gardening 101, Good Bug – Bad Bug, and Community Gardening 101, among others. Farm & Garden Adventures can happen at your garden, at your school and within your community!

Program Partners: The City of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Public Library