Signups, opening set for community garden

Patrick McDevitt, chair of Sustainable Monroe Township, talks about what’s new for the garden

Dust off your garden equipment, Williamstown. With spring around the corner, the Williamstown Community Garden is slated to open on Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m..

Patrick McDevitt, chair of Sustainable Monroe Township, said there will be approximately 50 beds for people to rent in the garden located behind the Monroe Township Public Library. The plots come in two sizes, standard and double. The standard size, approximately 4 feet by 15 feet, costs $25. The double-sized plot, approximately 8 feet by 15 feet, is $40.

“The community garden is a place where residents of Monroe Township and others can come rent a plot in community space and grow their own fruits, vegetables and flowers,” McDevitt said. “It is not open for anyone to come help themselves to the fruits of other people’s labor.”

The community garden is managed by Sustainable Monroe Township and hosts monthly events that are open to the public. Last year, some events were “Wellness in the Garden” where gardeners and others practiced yoga; “Dinner and Music in the Garden;” and a harvest festival potluck in the fall.

While the garden opens on March 31, Sustainable Monroe Township will host a “Gardening 101” class at the library from 10:30 to noon on March 23. The class will be taught by the certified gardeners of Gloucester County. McDevitt hopes they can work together on future projects during the year as well.

McDevitt said Sustainable Monroe Township plans to present the concept of a seed bank to the library board.

“People can get seeds for their own garden or the community garden,” McDevitt said. “They would have a little drawer system behind the counter at the library.”

He noted they plan to work with a group called the Library Seed Bank and referenced the Pitman and Woodbury libraries as inspiration.

McDevitt added there is discussion about setting up a community donation table or partnering with local food banks for gardeners to donate their fresh fruits and vegetables.

While the community garden has sold out in past years, the community garden is great for bringing the community together.

“As we’ve had involvement from the mayor to regular citizens, it really brings people together for common love of growing their own food,” he said. “We’ve found that typically you meet people you wouldn’t come across in your day-to-day activities.”

For more information about the community garden, visit garden or on Instagram @williamstowncommunitygarden. If you have questions or would like to sign up for a plot, email McDevitt at Sustainable Monroe Township meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the municipal building.