We are proud to announce Jersey City has been selected as one of eight cities nationwide to participate in a community building exercise sponsored by GOOD magazine that we hope will create a brighter food security future in Jersey City. %u2028 %u2028
Our first initiative will be a workshop and brainstorming session, on the afternoon (2-6pm) of August 21st at the Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Street, that will CALL TO ACTION Community Leaders, Systems Thinkers, Artists, Students, Seniors and other Motivated Citizens to participate in a dialogue about how to create a community-supported Urban Agriculture Program in Jersey City.
Our objective is to create an Urban Agriculture/Food Access document and action plan that is realistic, easy to implement and empowers every day citizens to take action towards environmentally beneficial projects in Jersey City.
We think such an initiative will have the following impacts (above and beyond increasing the availability of affordable, fresh and healthy food in Jersey City):
Educational: we want to involve students and young people so that they can learn about where our food comes from and what is required to grow food. Gardens are "teaching labs" that can engage students, and citizens of all ages, to develop core skills and values that inspire life-long learning.
Recreational: we hope to have seniors join us in this endeavor so that they can enjoy healthy fun exercise and bring invaluable intergenerational learning to their neighborhoods. We consider our seniors a valuable resource as many of them have tended gardens, a hobby that was once quite popular and even vital to our nation's security during the war years.
Economical: fresh local organic food is the fastest growing segment of the food production industry. We know that our initiative can stimulate entrepreneurial activities in addition to empowering families who might not always be able to afford the benefit of fresh local produce. Diverse, local, urban food gardens and farmers%u2019 markets become hubs of connectivity in the larger context of urban revitalization.
Social: urban gardens serve as great places for people to come together and strengthen community bonds and share cultural diversity that promotes appreciation and peace.
Mental Health: there is something powerfully soothing and relaxing about working the earth. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of this type of activity. We can better manage the hectic quality of our modern lives by participating in activities such as gardening.
Physical Health: Eating vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries helps us maintain optimal physical health. Combined with an active lifestyle, a plant-based diet can help address obesity and diabetes issues. Vegetables provide the vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients our bodies need to fight off cancer and many stress related illnesses.
Environmental/Ecological: Growing food locally significantly reduces "food miles", how far food travels from where it's grown to where it's consumed. A local "foodshed" requires fewer natural and human resources for distribution and the food is more nutritious since it's fresher. Converting lawns in urban parks into vegetable gardens has many benefits: the land produces food, lowers lawn care maintenance fees, and lowers lawn chemical use (much of which runs off into stormwater). Growing food vertically on trellises and up walls enables large harvests in small spaces.
We hope that you will join us to discuss and design Jersey City's urban agriculture plan and we invite you to forward this invitation to interested parties. We are still confirming location details but please contact Mory Thomas at 201-533-9571 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and we hope to see you on August 21st!
The Jersey City Green Team
Washington Park Association
Jersey City Food Coop
Riverview Community Gardens
Greater Good Giving
Jersey City Green Map