Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN), in collaboration with the Township of Bloomfield and the Bloomfield Garden Committee, established the Community Garden at Milbank Park in 2019 and is enjoying it first full growing season this year. This volunteer-led project is a grassroots effort designed to create gardening space for residents, as well as a community gathering space that encourages healthy living, positive eating habits, and environmental stewardship. The garden was funded, in part, with a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
In addition to the 28 raised bed garden at Milbank Park, the Township of Bloomfield has community gardens at the Oakside Cultural Center and Pulaski Park.
The Bloomfield Garden Committee maintains strict social distancing and sanitizing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic; only 10 people are allowed in the garden at a time. The gardens have yielded 41.5 pounds of vegetables that have been donated to the Park Methodist Food Pantry thus far in 2020; they anticipate surpassing their goal of 200 pounds of donated produce by the end of the season.
Virtual programs are offered in collaboration with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, on topics such as Canning & Preservation, Bolstering Immune Systems, Meal Plan Ideas for CKD & Diabetes, and Diet & Our DNA.
Future plans include building lending libraries at each garden to be stocked with gardening books, and expanding the number of raised beds at Milbank, some of which will be customized for wheelchair access and to accommodate individuals who have back injuries.