Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Sustainable Network of Community Gardens in Jersey City

Sustainable JC is launching a new project, under the generous umbrella of the Good Food Now! initiative, involving Jersey City’s community gardens. A first step encourages existent community garden patrons to create a free account on Farming Concrete and use the provided data collection tool called Barn for logging garden data. Most of the city’s community gardens are already listed.

This is how the current distribution of community gardens look like, after listing them on Farming Concrete:

Barn_Image

Why is it important to monitor and keep accurate track of community garden parameters? Just like in any successful enterprise, measureable indicators make it much easier to manage and improve the gardens’ efficiency and impact, increasing their benefits to the community. We all know that there are not nearly enough community gardens in our city to address the problem of community access to fresh and healty food (the issue of “food security”). Thus, it becomes increasingly important to sustainably maximize the benefits of the existing ones.

Contamination with airborne pollutants such as lead and chromium, as well as the presence of brownfields, are well known chronic environmental problems of Jersey City. What this project aims, upon monitoring, centralizing and compiling these parameters, is to create (and eventually extend) a comprehensive community garden network of our city, initiate exchanges (know-how, seeds, success stories etc.) and hopefully a “quantitative platform” compelling enough to get funding that will initiate and support a city-wide community garden sustainable landscape design improvement project, aimed to maximize productivity and sustainability, while mitigating and reducing urban contamination. A website of this particular project is currently under construction.

If you have any questions or requests for more technical details about this project or the online tool, please feel free to contact the project leader.

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