High School Students Help Grow Vegetables For Food Pantry

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EDISON — The Terra Nova Garden Club and the nonprofit EdisonWetlands Association (EWA) recently donated over 20 pounds of home-grown garden vegetables to the Hands of Hope Food Pantry in Edison. The vegetables were grown at the Triple C Ranch, the last farm in Edison, and dropped off by Michele Lawrence-Botto and a group of teen volunteers from the Garden Unit volunteer garden club at J.P. Stevens High School.

“The teens’ enthusiasm and dedication to the garden, even in 90 plus degrees, is extremely rewarding to me,” said Lawrence-Botto, who is leading the garden restoration on behalf of the Terra Nova Garden Club. “I am glad to give them this opportunity to learn about gardening and experience the pride of seeing a seed or seedling they planted grow into a thriving vegetable-producing plant.”

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The garden vegetables included tomatoes, string beans, squash and cabbage, which were grown by Terra Nova Garden Club volunteers partnering with the Garden Unit high school volunteer gardeners. Terra Nova received a grant from EWA to help expand the volunteer garden at the Triple C Ranch, located at 206 Tyler Road in Edison.

The Hands of Hope Food Pantry has offered a soup kitchen and food pantry for the needy since 1992, providing an efficient and effective centralized system for distributing food to alleviate hunger. Hands of Hope is focused on sustaining good nutrition, health and most of all human dignity by providing a means for the individual to meet their full potential and to silence the pain hunger brings. The Hands of Hope Food Pantry can be found online at http://www.handsofhopenj.net/.

As the last farm in northern Middlesex County, the 40-acre Triple C Ranch was preserved 10 years ago by EWA. The expanded garden offers native plants and habitat for migratory birds like hummingbirds, as the farm serves as the public gateway to the surrounding 1,240-acre Dismal Swamp Conservation Area.

EWA is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment in central New Jersey. More information can be found at www.EdisonWetlands.org. The Terra Nova Garden Club was founded in 1951 and is a member of the Garden Club of New Jersey. Their website is http://www.freewebs.com/terranovagardenclub/.

Terra Nova Garden Club volunteers show the produce they will donate to Hands of Hope for the Community Food Pantry.

Garden Club volunteers stand at the Hands of Hope for the Community at St. James Episcopal Church with the vegetables they are donating.

An array of fresh vegetables to be donated including tomatoes, string beans, basil, zucchini, corn, peppers, lettuce, and squash.

A Terra Nova Garden Club volunteer picks fresh tomatoes in the Triple C Ranch Garden.

Long-time Terra Nova Garden Club volunteer and organizer Michele Lawrence-Botto stands with the high school volunteers and the freshly picked vegetables.

All photos courtesy of Edison Wetlands


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