Building Healthy Communities from the Ground Up

NJHI 2018: Upstream Action Acceleration Accelerating Community Safety

The Passaic County Food Policy Council is working to build a Culture of Health through multiple goals and strategies, one of which is improving Community Safety.  The goal of the Community Safety focus area in our Blueprint for Action is to create healthier, safe neighborhoods in Paterson and surrounding areas by working with community stakeholders.

The Green Acres Community Garden is an example of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design strategies being implemented in Paterson’s Fourth ward.  A community resident, Deacon Davis, runs the garden full time and distributes the produce to the community at no charge. The Green Acres Community Garden is a shining example of how the power of partnerships can transform blight and create spaces that improve healthy food access.  The garden has become a safe gathering space for residents in a distressed neighborhood, fostering a greater sense of safety as neighbors engage with each other in the garden. Paterson Habitat for Humanity owns the lot and has worked with Deacon Davis to expand the garden. 

Through the NJHI: Upstream Action Acceleration initiative, we were able to fund the installation of a greenhouse at the garden, which will extend the growing season and enable more produce to be grown and residents to be engaged. Paterson Habitat for Humanity led the construction efforts and youth leaders from New Jersey Community Development Corporation’s Paterson Youth Cares team worked to install the greenhouse.  This July, we were able to celebrate the official opening of the greenhouse and that it features electricity thanks to an installation donated by High End Electric, a local business, and support from the City of Paterson. 

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disproportionately impact vulnerable communities, we know the garden will help promote health by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to residents throughout the year. Community residents continue to lead the way in building healthy neighborhoods in Paterson!

For more information about the Building a Culture of Health: Blueprint for Action in Passaic County please contact Mary Celis, Director of Health Initiatives, United Way of Passaic County: or visit our Facebook page: @PassaicFood.  Please read more about our progress here: Blueprint for Action Progress Report.

For more information about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, please contact Darryl Jackson of Paterson Habitat for Humanity:

For more information about Green Acres Community Garden pleases contact Deacon Davis:

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Mary Celis
United Way of Passaic County