My father, and my grandfather before him, always had a vegetable garden. Working the soil with your bare hands, impatiently watching veggies grow, picking that first red tomato warmed by the sun (and eating it out in the yard), were pleasures passed down through the generations in my family. However, many people who would like to garden face challenges – either physical, due to aging bodies, or for sheer lack of space to plant a garden.
Enter the Earth Box! Master Gardener Chrystine Gaffney of Montclair Community Farms instructed a group of residents in how to plant and grow two types of tomatoes, parsley and chrysanthemums in a manageable container garden. A family trio – Louella Dudley, her daughter Mariama and grandson Zephon planted earth boxes together, reminding us that the joy of learning to grow your own produce can and should span generations.
My dad fell in the fall and has been suffering with lingering medical complications for several months. I built my “test” Earth Box with his limitations in mind. I am happy to report that it now sits on his deck and has already produced a ripe tomato, which actually made it into a salad, still warm from the sun.
As Director of the Montclair Dept. of Health and Human Services, I oversee programs and activities that, for the most part, are mandated by the NJ Department of Health. New Jersey Healthy Communities Network and Partners for Health Foundation enables us to become involved in these special projects, designed to improve the overall health of the community, and help make our jobs more fun!