RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.— The Ridgefield Park Green Team, an offshoot of the Village’s Environmental Commission officially opened its new Community Gardens at McGowan and Fellowship Parks in the Village on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.
Ridgefield Park Mayor George Fosdick helped officially celebrate the opening of the new Community Gardens and credited Green Team members Mark Olson, Janet Malool and Ridgefield Park High School Principal James Donahue for spearheading the effort and cited their help with the design and layout of both gardens with consultation from Bergen County Master Gardener Robyn Lowenthal.
“Our intent is to bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds, provide opportunities to meet neighbors and work side-by-side on common goals,” said Mark Olson, chairman of the Ridgefield Park Green Team.
“We are giving families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce food, herbs and flowers.”
“We are currently working with the Food Pantry of Ridgefield Park sponsored by St. Francis of Assisi Church,” Olson said.
“The Food Pantry of Ridgefield Park is open to all residents of the village regardless of religious affiliation and gardeners, if they wish, will be able to donate their produce to the food pantry.
" One person is taking a plot which will be 100 percent donated to the food pantry.”
“This is a collaborative work in progress from our DPW sourcing fill for the volunteer-built raised beds, and mulch as well, to our volunteers filling the beds and spreading the mulch for the walking areas,” said Commissioner John Anlian, who oversees the activities for the Ridgefield Park Environmental Commission and Green Team.
“As residents and restaurateurs become more aware of the Community Gardens, it is our plan to build on a group of volunteers who can help maintain and make significant contributions to this green initiative going forward. Those who have committed to this project are all anxious to get gardening.”
According to Anlian, the McGowan Park site will also contain a rain garden.
“Rain gardens are used to collect storm water and release it slowly, reducing direct storm water runoff into rivers,” Anlian said.
“Since our Village is surrounded by water on three sides, the rain garden becomes an extremely important benefit and solution to curtailing the storm water overflow.”
Currently, a combination of 20 residents and a few local restaurants have been allotted free beds so they can begin planting. There are an additional 20 beds that still remain available.
The deadline to apply for a free plot is May 15. Applications and additional information for Village residents, organizations and restaurants can be found at http://www.ridgefieldpark.org/community-garden.