Providing increased access to affordable and fresh produce to Asbury Park residents is a health priority for the Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park. There is only one small grocery store in town on Memorial Drive, several local bodegas or corner stores, and one farm store. Since more than 30% of Asbury Park residents do not own a vehicle, it’s important to have convenient places in town where the community can get fresh vegetables. Six years ago, the Community Vegetable Garden began with the help of Tom Pavinski and a dedicated team of volunteers from the Asbury Park Environmental Commission, supported by funding from the city and some local banks. The garden features 24 raised beds and is located on a sunny plot of land adjacent to the Municipal Building and the Railroad station near Bangs Avenue and Memorial Drive.
The Asbury Park Environmental Commission and its many volunteers have maintained both the garden, and a mission to address the healthy food desert that exists in Asbury Park. The garden offers free fresh vegetables twice a week to all residents.
Those who receive vegetables help determine the garden’s crops, so the available produce options usually include okra, mustard greens, lettuce, collard greens, tomatoes, eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, herbs, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and black eyed peas.
When these photos were taken in early May, a group of volunteers was busy planting collards. The cool Spring weather we had recently was perfect for growing cold-weather crops like cabbage, greens and lettuce. Chives with edible purple blossoms were blooming and ready to be harvested and added to a delicious salad. This summer, the Alliance hopes to partner with the Community Vegetable Garden to offer on-site cooking demonstrations, healthy recipes and tastings and health screenings for residents.
Produce is available on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. at the farm stand in front of the garden. The farm stand is staffed by a wonderful team of volunteers during Spring, Summer and Fall. Additional volunteers are always welcome. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Tom Pavinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info about the Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park and all of the health prioirities it has identified and is working to address, please contact Lisa Lee at email@example.com or visit our FB page: Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park.