Whether you’re grilling up some BBQ or packing a picnic to enjoy at your local park, there’s few greater joys than enjoying a meal with the people you love in the great outdoors. The warm weather is officially here to stay, and there’s no better time than the summer to get out there and enjoy the season. To help celebrate the summertime, Isles is inviting you and your family to their annual Garden Social, a much-anticipated event all throughout the Capital City.
This year’s Garden Social will be held on Wednesday, June 21st, from 4-7pm. The festivities will take place at Isles’ Tucker Street Garden, located at 33 Tucker Street, Trenton, NJ 08618. While certainly not mandatory, as this event is potluck-style, guests are encouraged to come prepared with a dish to share with friends and fellow gardeners. If possible, feel free to use produce from your own garden in your dish for a bit of bonus flair! The event is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a night in the community, share your signature dish with some friends, and get a firsthand glimpse at all the wonderful world of urban agriculture has to offer.
Trenton Daily had the chance to speak with Isles’ Urban Agriculture Coordinator, Nicole Russo, about the upcoming Garden Social and why urban agriculture is so important for a city like Trenton. When asked about what guests can expect at this year’s gathering, Russo noted “Our garden social is our yearly event where we’re celebrating all things garden. Most of our hard labor should be done – you’ve done all your your spring prep, you’ve planted your vegetables or your flowers, and now you can look forward to throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall. It’s a time with friends and other gardeners, and a chance to relax in a garden setting at 33 Tucker.”
We also had the opportunity to discuss urban agriculture and why it’s so important, especially for a community like Trenton. Russo stated, “For so many people, especially living in urban settings, what we’re finding is there’s just not a lot of access to quality, fresh produce. From that perspective, we’re looking at growing food as close to where possible from a carbon footprint perspective. By growing your own food, you’re reducing your carbon footprint; from a health status, you’re introducing more healthy foods. If there’s something cultural, that maybe you don’t find in the local supermarket, now you have access to it because you can grow it.”
Nicole also had some words of encouragement for anyone looking to get started on a garden of their own: “If it’s intimidating and daunting, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Start with a pot or maybe a couple of pots. Herbs are a great place to start – with adding fresh herbs to what you’re cooking, it can change the total flavor profile of of your dish, and it’s a pretty low key, non-intimidating way for somebody to start, whether it’s vegetable gardening or any other type of growing plants. Even when people say they kill their house plants all the time, I say you just haven’t found the right house plant for yourself.”
In discussing what she hopes guests take away from the experience, Russo said “I think we we just want people to have a good time, but also be inspired! Maybe there’s something that they see that we have at the education facility, or there’s a plant that we’re offering if they want to try take home grow and something for themselves. So I would say have a great night, enjoy time with fellow gardeners, our friends, and people who support Isles, but hopefully leave inspired as well.”
This event is hosted by Isles, a Trenton-based non-profit devoted to fostering self-reliant families and communities. From educational opportunities to agricultural programs and everything in between, Isles works tirelessly to assure that members of our community have access to the tools and resources needed to thrive. Since their founding in 1981, their work continues to uplift the city and help all residents of Trenton achieve a safer, more sustainable community. If you’d like to read more about Isles and support their work in the community, you can visit their website here: Isles – Home.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more prior to attending, please contact Isles at (609) 341-4700 for additional details. Whip up your best dish, head out to the garden, and get ready for an unforgettable summer night in the Capital City!