Monroe unveils plan for greenhouse thanks to donations


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MONROE – The Friends of the Monroe Township Community Garden accepted a $10,000 grant from Northfield Bank to use toward the construction of an on-site greenhouse.

The nonprofit group, which maintains a 176-plot community garden on a two-acre Applegarth Road site, anticipates erecting an approximately 15-foot-by-30-foot greenhouse on the property’s north end by next fall, according to information provided by the township.

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Accounting for hard and soft costs, organizers estimate that the greenhouse will cost around $25,000.

“This garden has come a long way since we were first approached with the idea,” Monroe Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro said in the statement. “They’ve expanded the garden plots and yield and now they’re going to add a greenhouse. If we continue to see increasing interest and participation in the program, the Township may look into opening a second gardening site on the northeast side of town.”

In the nearly three years following its incorporation, the organization, Friends of the Monroe Township Community Garden, has been on the receiving end of a number of generous donations, including a shed from Costco, $1,000 from K. Hovnanian Homes and $500 from BCB Community Bank.

Additional and more modest donations collected over the past few years, amounting to approximately $4,000, are also on hand to supplement the remaining cost of the greenhouses’ construction, Gary I. Busman, treasurer of the Friends of the Monroe Township Community Garden, said in the statement.

A new greenhouse would provide an opportunity for growers to cultivate plants and seeds year-round, and allow for vegetation that might otherwise not survive New Jersey’s harsh weather, he added. The structure will also help facilitate a seed-to-table program with school-aged children, which Community Garden organizers hopes to launch prior to the next growing season.

“Our mission is to provide residents of the Township of Monroe infrastructure, resources and education involved in growing and harvesting organic produce, flowers and herbs in a community setting that fosters teamwork, learning, responsibility, camaraderie and sharing,” Busman said in the statement. “Establishing such a program for school-aged children would be a complement to our education initiative.”

Aside from the most recent endowment presentation at the Dec. 13 meeting at the Senior Center, the Friends of the Monroe Township Community Garden opened up admissions for the 2018 season, updated residents on composting and heard reports from an in-house beekeeper and a master gardener.

“We owe the mayor and the past council members, along with the Department of Public Works and the Utilities Department, quite a debt of gratitude,” Councilman Leonard Baskin, who was a founding member of the Friends of Monroe Township Community Garden and has served on the Township Council since July, said in the statement. “It’s not often you see this type of cooperation between municipalities and organizations, such as the Friends. Without their assistance, none of this would not be possible.”

For more information on the Monroe Township Community Garden, including reserving a plot for next year at the annual fee of $30, interested parties may log onto or email Busman at

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