Roselle Students and Senior Citizens Break Ground on Intergenerational Vegetable Garden

ROSELLE — Roselle students and senior citizens planted the seeds of intergenerational friendship on May 24 at the Anthony Amalfe Community Center.

Sixth grade students from Grace Wilday Junior High School joined forces with senior citizens and other members of the Roselle community to break ground on a plot of land behind the community center parking lot. They worked from 9:30 to 11 a.m. prepping the soil and planting seeds in small containers. The next week, they came together to plant vegetables on the plot.

Starting the garden took a combined effort from Roselle Public Schools, the Borough of Roselle and the Community Acting Now non-profit organization, which is based in Roselle. Students read Paul Fleishman’s Seedfolks in advance to develop an appreciation for community gardens and working together to achieve a goal.

“We were trying to think of the kinds of programs we could engage students with,” said Diane Mathis, founder of Community Acting Now. “We sent out letters to the schools asking if they’d like to get involved and Grace Wilday and Abraham Clark responded immediately.”

The garden will be seeded, weeded and maintained by senior citizens and students from the Roselle community, especially students from Grace Wilday and Abraham Clark High School. Student Kameron Serrano, 11, said she is ready for the challenge.

“Since we planted these seeds, they’re part of our life now,” Serrano said. “They’re a part of our life and we have to make sure they grow.”

The goal of the garden is to bring the community closer together, teach students about healthy eating, teach students about the science behind gardening and provide nutritious food for members of the Roselle community. Community Acting Now will create a maintenance schedule students and other community volunteers will follow through on throughout the year.

If the garden proves a success, Community Acting Now may organize a farmer’s market to distribute the locally-grown produce throughout Roselle and teach students about entrepreneurship, according to Mathis.

Lilly Brown, a member of the senior citizen social group the Roselle Red Hatters, said she is happy the garden will be a learning experience for the students.

“It is a pleasure for the Red Hatters to be involved with our young people as they learn to plant an intergenerational vegetable garden, preserve our Earth and make Roselle a greener place,” Brown said. “Together, we’re making Roselle a more beautiful community.”

Roselle community members, senior citizens and students from Grace Wilday Junior High School broke ground on their Intergenerational Community Garden on Monday, May 24.

Grace Wilday Middle School student Ericka Gary, 12, plants cucumber seeds at the Roselle Intergenerational Garden groundbreaking on Monday, May 24.

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