Community Food & Wellness Maplewood South Orange Towns

Producing Pounds of Produce at Rent Party Garden

This year, the Rent Party Garden will produce 2,000 lbs. of produce for food pantries in the South Orange and Maplewood community.

This morning, Rent Party organizer Chris Dickson showed off the crops at the Rent Party Garden’s South Orange Elks location. Twenty-three beds were bursting with tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers — and a few flowers.

Drip irrigation system installed and donated by Maplewood Green Team.
Drip irrigation system installed and donated by Maplewood Green Team.

Dickson explained that each Saturday from June through October, volunteers are harvesting produce, weighing it (the poundage is important for grant applications) and delivering it across the street to the Our Lady of Sorrows food pantry or down the road to the St. Joseph’s food pantry.

Rent Party Garden
Rent Party Garden

“It’s farm-fresh delivered!” said Dickson.

Now in its third season, the Rent Party Garden is in three locations, with 23 beds generously hosted by the South Orange Elks and seven more beds split between the Maplewood Community Pool location and Maplewood Town Hall location hosted by the Maplewood Community Garden.

Dickson said that “community” is a big part of the Rent Party Garden which is in its second year of management by volunteer Kerry Miller. Jespy House volunteers help to water the garden, local groups like Boy Scout Troop 60 help to harvest, and CB Cares from Coldwell Banker built additional beds for the garden last year.IMG_1208

Also last season, Tracy Woods and the Maplewood Green Team generously donated a drip irrigation system at the Elks location after holding a how-to demo at the site.

Dickson extolled the garden’s natural beauty and bounty: “It’s all organic — organic soil, no pesticides.”

“It’s actually a magical place,” said Dickson of the Elks location. “Anything grows here.”

To volunteer, email [email protected].

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