LAKEWOOD _ The Common Grounds Community Garden opened last year as an initiative of One Ocean County, a nonprofit that seeks opportunities for individuals of different backgrounds to come together.
On Sunday, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the garden, located at the John Patrick Sports Complex, is celebrating the start of the warm weather planting season with a garden tour, kids craft activities and a plant sale, said Tova Herskovitz, One Ocean County mother.
Throughout the summer and the beginning of fall, the garden will host a set of gardening and harvesting workshops for anyone interested in learning or participating in the garden. As Herskovitz pointed out, the garden is communal, meaning that participants don’t grow plants individually, but rather in groups.
“We grow everything as a group. Anybody who wants to participate and use the garden, they can just sign up as a volunteer. We don’t have individual plots for individual people. No one has their own thing. We all grow everything together,” she said.
After harvesting, the crops are placed in a basket at the entrance of the garden for anybody to stop by and take some produce home.
Currently, the garden is harvesting fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, zucchinis, cantaloupe and strawberries; herbs such as oregano, thyme, mint and peppermint; and marigolds and carnations.
Ayala Schlossberg, the head gardener, who promotes the idea of bringing back the food that urban development takes away from the wilderness, will lead the workshops for families. She designed the workshops to teach the science behind gardening and harvesting, and offers a sensory tour so that participants can learn what the different smells, tastes and textures of plants communicate.
Fun activities are also on the schedule, such as the July 4th harvesting of red, blue and white ingredients that participants can then barbeque.
The workshops’ calendar includes special sessions for senior residents and elementary school students.
“People are disconnected from what growing food looks like. When it comes to the kids, I’m interested in them learning how food looks when it grows.”
Jenna Ferguson, who homeschools her children, includes visits to the garden as a way of teaching her two children about how to serve the community. “We use an eclectic approach to homeschooling, besides a basic subject matter, we want them to learn social studies through community involvement,” Ferguson said.
Her children love it. Every time they see a flower they planted blooming they get excited and say, “Oh we did those,” she said.
The event on Sunday will include refreshments and gardening and harvesting tools are going to be provided.
For more information on the workshop schedule, visit the Garden webpage.
Juan Carlos Castillo is a reporter covering everything Lakewood. He delves into politics, social issues and human interest stories. Reach out to him at JcCastillo@gannett.com