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edible conservation Putting down roots


Trash-strewn and surrounded by a chain-link fence, the lot on Early Street sat vacant for as long as anyone could remember. So when Samantha Rothman, Myra Bowie McCready, and Carolle Huber told residents of the senior housing facility next door that they planned to transform the site into Morristown’s first community garden, the seniors were nonplussed. “They didn’t believe us,” said


Rothman. “But today they’re some of our most devoted gardeners.” Fifty families—including many


former skeptics from the senior center—joined Early Street Commu- nity Garden when it opened in 2009.


But they weren’t expecting to stay for long: the property was slated for development, and the gardeners were planting on borrowed time. Reluctant to see their work paved


over, the gardeners turned to another neighbor—the New Jersey office of The Trust for Public Land, head- quartered a few blocks away. Project manager Greg Socha was determined to help. “The garden is the definition of ‘grassroots,’” he says, “and it’s right here in our backyard. We knew we had to save this beloved spot.” The Trust for Public Land helped


the Town of Morristown purchase and protect Early Street Community Garden for everyone to enjoy. To-


early street community garden morristown, new jersey


day, Rothman and her fellow green thumbs are planning improvements for their permanent home—twice as many garden plots, an ADA-compli- ant walking path, and a parklet where neighbors can mingle. “This is a place where people from


different walks of life connect with each other,” says Rothman. “We have gardeners aged 8 to 80-something, all races, plenty of nonnative English speakers, all working the land side by side. We have movie nights, work- shops, solstice gatherings, and yoga and tai chi classes. It’s one of the most fun and diverse places in town—the kind of place that makes you love living here.”


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18 · LAND&PEOPLE · FALL/WINTER 2014 ALL/WINTER 2013


laura barisonzi


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