The annual "Greening" of the gardens alongside the driveway at the Chestnut Station Senior Complex is underway and we all anxiously await their summer evolution. This hidden, sustainable gem is part of the Incredible Edible Garden registry and a perfect example of an inventive way to transform an unused hardscape into a sustainable landscape. This garden is carefully nurtured through the dedicated effort of resident volunteer, Francis Mcgarry, and produces annual seasonal vegetables that support food security and nutrition for many seniors living in the complex. Thank you for the beauty and the bounty!
Garden enthusiasts love to get together to talk about the splendor of the garden. They also love to gather to share plants. Incredible Edible Merchantville and The Merchantville Garden Club will host Plant Swaps at the gazebo on the Chestnut Avenue bike path and Wellwood Park on Saturday on Saturday, May 1st, from 10 a.m - 12:00 p.m. Seed and plant exchanges allow gardeners in the community to come together and share seeds, cuttings, and transplants from their own gardens to swap with others - so clean out your garden beds by digging up and dividing some plants. Plant swap rules are easy to follow: bring a pest-free, beautiful plant, or two or three for trade; they can be potted or bare root as long as you’re prepared to part with them.
Merchantville was among top NJ towns recognized at the Annual Sustainable Jersey Awards on Thursday, March 11th. Sustainable Jersey announced the recipients of the 2020 municipal annual awards, which celebrate sustainability excellence, innovation and leadership at a live stream the event on its Facebook page. Merchantville Borough completed required actions to earn 155 points, reaching their goal of Bronze certification and was recognized for its innovation and creativity initiative: Incredible Edible Merchantville. Motivated by climate change and a TED Talk on "How We Can Eat Our Landscapes," two residents realized that securing future sustainability in Merchantville would require inventive community efforts. In July 2018, their proposal for Incredible Edible Merchantville was approved by the Borough Council under the municipal green team with the goals of promoting sustainable living, food justice and environmental education to encourage healthy communities. Since then, participants have been working to create food forests in public and private spaces to grow local food and support the local food economy. Though their work has just begun, IE Merchantville has already developed a vibrant outreach program with more than 30 registered gardens and donating over 200 pounds of fresh produce this summer to supplement local food pantry demands brought on by the pandemic. During this pandemic, municipalities that received Sustainable Jersey’s highest recognition awards set a new bar and aspirational example for other communities to meet as they pursue sustainability goals.
At Incredible Edible Merchantville food security is part of our mission and one of our top priorities. To that end, we are hoping to partner with local food banks to share our excess harvest during this growing season. On Monday, June 1st, the Dolores F. Clark Food Pantry at Grace Church accepted our offer of surplus produce. Their pantry takes place on Wednesdays from 12-2PM. If you have fresh greens and vegetables to donate please drop them off at the church (side door) to Peggy Stephens between 9-11AM this Wednesday, June 3rd. All harvested items should be washed and bagged before donating. IE Merchantville will be creating some packaging labels and distribute bags/labels to participating members by next week. We are very excited to have an opportunity to support food justice, nurture environmental stewardship and promote a healthy culture and sustainable future.
Why choose Heirloom Seeds, you ask? Exceptional taste is the No. 1 reason many gardeners cite for choosing heirloom varieties. Other great reasons: they are likely to be more nutritious than newer varieties, they are open-pollinated - which means you can save your own seed to replant from year to year, they are “less uniform” than hybrids - which means they often don’t ripen all at once, they are almost always less expensive than hybrids, and finally, many heirlooms have wonderful stories of how they came to America. Seeds saved from heirloom vegetables will produce plants that are true to type, unlike hybrid seeds. Save those seeds, and you can create your own locally adapted variety.