The Borough of Somerville was awarded a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey grant, funded by the PSEG Foundation, to help establish the Jay Scott Memorial Garden at Firehouse Field, located behind 170 East Main Street. The 1,400-square-foot community garden will make fresh produce accessible to residents who lack adequate space or appropriate conditions at home, said Councilwoman Gina Stravic.
“As Somerville has grown, there are an increased number of apartments without yard space,” according to Stravic. “The community garden is anticipated to become a place for residents and community groups to grow food, flowers and herbs, while learning, sharing, and connecting with nature and the outdoors.”
The grant will be used to purchase a storage shed for gardening tools, estimated to cost $1,400. The remaining $600 will be used for gardening supplies, such as shovels, hoes, watering cans, rakes, stakes, wheelbarrows, hoses, tarps, netting, and storage containers.
The Somerville Recreation Committee has committed $3,000 to fund 16 raised garden beds, in memory of John “Jay” Scott, a Master Gardener and former Chairman of the Recreation Commission from 2013 - 2015 and member of the Recreation Committee from 2009 - 2017. The Borough’s Department of Public Works is providing space, staff support, maintenance, mulch, soil, and fencing.
Members of the Somerville Green Team and Environmental Commission have pledged their time and leadership. “We’re planning for a ribbon cutting ceremony in June and then we will spend the next few months setting up and working out the kinks,” said Rebecca Reitman-Garofalo, a member of the Environmental Commission who is overseeing the project. Volunteers will maintain the garden beds this summer and donate extra produce to local food banks, she added. The garden beds will be available for public use in Spring 2023.
The PSEG Foundation has contributed $2.8 million dollars in funding to the Sustainable Jersey grants program for municipalities and schools. “As we work to achieve a sustainable New Jersey, our organization understands how important it is to help municipalities and schools build on the progress they are making at the local level,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey.
“The PSEG Foundation is committed to helping build sustainable and thriving communities by empowering and investing in the people, environment and infrastructure of the communities we serve,” said Calvin Ledford, PSEG director of Corporate Social Responsibility and president of the PSEG Foundation.