Community Sharing Garden expansion allows continued efforts towards food insecurity

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After being awarded a Community Impact Grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the D&R Greenway Land Trust will expand its Community Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell and Point Breeze Historic District in Bordentown.

The expansion will allow the Land Trust to provide more organic produce to food-insecure local residents, maintain the sustainability of the garden projects, and host educational gatherings to connect visitors to the history of the land that was once owned by Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Naples and Spain and brother of Napoleon.

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St. Michaels Farm Preserve

D&R Greenway began the Community Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in response to the needs of the community during the pandemic. Originally volunteer-run in 2020 and 2021, it continues to provide fresh food under the leadership of gardener Lara Periard while also serving as an outdoor place to make new friends during a time of isolation.

With a wide variety of crops, the garden donated a total of 2,740 pounds of organic produce last year – more than double the 1,300 pounds of produce the previous year. The food was donated to The Chubby’s Project, a local nonprofit that provides relief for food-insecure residents.

The garden aims to increase their production even more, hoping to grow over 40 different crops to surpass their goal of 3,000 pounds of produce donated to the Chubby’s Project.

Point Breeze Historic Garden

The D&R Greenway Land Trust’s new Historic Garden at Point Breeze in Bordentown will also be expanding. Originally the land of the Lenape tribe and once the home of Joseph Bonaparte, the historic garden now grows the same heirloom plants during Lenape and Bonaparte’s time, with 27 different crops to be fully planted this year.

Similar to the Community Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Farm Preserve, produce from the Point Breeze Historic District is donated to combat food insecurity through Christ Church, First Baptist, and Trinity United Methodist Church’s meal distribution programs.

The garden also donates produce to local restaurants in Bordentown. In partnership with five Bordentown City restaurants, the D&R Greenway Land Trust launched the “Garden to Bistro” month-long event last October, with the produce harvested from the Historic Garden featured in local restaurants.

“With ‘Garden to Bistro,’ anyone can have a taste of history,” CEO Linda J. Mead said. “I spoke with Mayor Jenn Sciortino of Bordentown City, and she emphasized how pleased she is with the garden in the community and our local partnerships.”

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Point Breeze Historic District serves as an essential educational site to connect people with local history. The grant will allow them to expand their educational signage, communications, and programming.

“I’m optimistic that through our crops, local residents will be more connected with their history,” Periard said. “It’s a physical fragment of history that lives on today.”

Learn more about the Community Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Preserve and the Historic Garden at Point Breeze at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s website at https://drgreenway.org/

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