Fostering self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities.
Summer 2020
Dear Friend,

As we move past the halfway mark of summer, community gardens in Trenton continue to thrive and make our neighborhoods greener and healthier. Each year, the gardens in our network produce more than 20,000 lbs. of food! To celebrate this harvest, we recently hosted an intimate, socially-distant Garden Social, where we reflected on the gardening season and companionship in our community. It highlighted the ways we can continue to connect, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Over the past few months, we shifted our jam-packed schedule of Isles Garden Support Network workshops and events into smaller gatherings, webinars and personalized classes. We continued to distribute resources (including thousands of seedlings & seed packets and fertilizer) with our gardening network, donate produce to local food banks, and deliver growing kits to community members. We are creating virtual content to educate and engage our members while also offering expanded open hours at our Tucker Street garden and providing hands-on tips. Hear more about how we're adapting our services to foster sustainability during the pandemic and beyond, and read further highlights below. 

In community,

Deputy Director, Community Planning & Development
Get Growing
Despite a challenging spring and summer, our Urban Agriculture team has found ways to support and expand our educational outreach. Because the pandemic has put a strain on food supplies, more and more people turned to gardening to become more self-sufficient and also engage the body and mind in the outdoors.

We were filled to capacity earlier than ever in the Incubator, our training garden, and expanded open gardening hours. Through our plant distributions, we found even more backyard gardeners wanting to join our network. This prompted us to a launch a “grow kit” initiative where we put together materials and instructions for success. We distributed over 100 kits to community members, Isles Youth Institute families, customers, and at emergency feeding sites. We plan to distribute another 500 before the end of the year.
Incubator Garden members tend to their garden beds
A new garden gets installed at Trenton's Ninth Grade Academy
Even though schools were closed, we still planted out key school gardens to serve as emergency sources of food, and began engaging with classes through virtual sessions.
Our work includes:

  • Filming a series of videos to share with classes about the beehives we manage
  • Running online bilingual nutrition workshops for 20 families
  • Installing a preschool garden and garden for Trenton's Ninth Grade Academy
  • Working with staff from NOFA-NJ (Northeast Organic Farming Association) and Rutgers Cooperative Extension to revitalize food-producing gardens at Drumthwacket, the Governor's mansion

Whether working on a hyper-grassroots level to give people the tools they need to grow food or regionally on greater efforts to promote food security, our team is always happy to get our hands dirty!
Remembering Amor Adeva
Amor Adeva was our colleague and friend who passed away suddenly in April 2019. To honor her, we have created “Amor’s Garden” at our Tucker Street location. Amor’s Garden is comprised of herbs and flowers, and we think that, as a plant lover, Amor would have appreciated the beauty and healing nature of the space.
We invite you to visit Amor’s Garden at Tucker Street to see it in person. Reach out to the Urban Ag team if you have any questions about stopping by.
Get out and get active for Miles for Isles! It's a "5K My Way" - you pick the race, route, and timing, and share your community by posting photos with the hashtag #milesforisles.