Roosevelt School, Junior Girl Scout Troop 82010 and the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market (NBCFM), which is administered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, are working together to build the Children’s Garden at 178 Jones Ave., New Brunswick. The girls will work on the garden as part of their “Take Action Project” assignment, the last step they need to complete the Agent of Change Leadership Journey they have been working on all year. New Brunswick Community Farmers Market’s Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Carolina Mueller (SEBS 2013) visited the troop at its meeting place early in May and spoke about the importance of the Children’s Garden for the community of New Brunswick. She discussed with the girls the different flowers and vegetables they can plant and worked with the girls to create “Garden Guardians,” including a tin man out of recycled cans and a clay pot man.
In mid-May, the troop visited the garden and enthusiastically prepared it for planting; they weeded, tilled the soil, and planted vegetables and flowers. After two hours of hard work, muddy gloves and sweaty brows, they transformed the plot of earth into a garden. The troop will visit the garden regularly to continue to care for the flowers and vegetables, taste the fruits of their work and learn about healthy eating habits.
Mueller is thrilled to have the Girls Scouts adopt the plot. “Gardening is so valuable for kids. It teaches hard work, patience, and where food comes from. Plus, it’s fun!” Along with tomatoes, okra and sunflowers, the girls requested strawberries at the first meeting. So, with a donation from Pop’s Farm and Garden Center, the local vendor at the market, the girls planted 16 ever-bearing strawberry plants, ensuring a steady supply of fruit throughout early summer. “Are we going to get all of this food for free?,” asked one of the girls, incredulously.
Angela Blardony, community development specialist for Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey, is very proud of the troop. “The girls embraced this project with so much enthusiasm. I think they finally understand that even at their young age, they can make a change in their community.” Angela oversees girl scouting at the after-school programs in New Brunswick, which is made possible by a grant from the Laurie Foundation. This grant gives over 150 girls in the after-school program the opportunity to experience girl scouting to its fullest, with trips, uniforms, books, transportation and adult leaders, without putting the financial burden on parents.
This collaboration between the NBCFM and Girl Scouts will not only benefit the community, but the experience will have a profound and positive impact on the girls of Troop 82010 for many years. When community partners work together to benefit the youth of our society, we know the future becomes brighter, is a sentiment echoed by Carolina and Angela.
Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey provides services and support to over 30,000 girl and adult members statewide and builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. For information on Girl Scouts or to volunteer, call 800-582-7692 or visit its website at www.gscsnj.org
The New Brunswick Community Farmers Market is a partnership among Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Johnson & Johnson and the City of New Brunswick that began in 2009. In addition to providing residents with local, fresh foods from June to October, the market features the Esperanza Community Garden and the Children’s Garden. The market opens June 14 at 178 Jones Avenue and June 18 downtown at Kilmer Square Park. For more information, visit www.nbcfarmersmarket.com or visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nbcfarmersmarket.