Community Garden

Sharing some photos of the stages of our garden. Please see the articles below to read about how our garden project began.

Our garden flourishing…….
and flourishing

Enjoying the nector
Labor of love
Our sign goes up
Vegetables for everyone
Friends and Family who help start the garden

A place to run around and have fun. ENJOY!!!!

The Beginning

Ground Breaking at Hamilton Memorial Community Garden

Early in the morning on March 15th, 2014 AtlantiCare Growing Green and A Work in Progress were joined by their many community partners at the Hamilton United Methodist Church in Atlantic City to break ground on a new community garden site. Partners took part by lending a hand, disassembling the existing damaged beds of the Hamilton Garden, making way for the new raised garden beds, physical activity center and outdoor cooking/learning station.  The garden was sadly destroyed in Super Storm Sandy’s wake in October 2012 but plans have been made to rebuild and expand the garden this Spring 2014.

Though demolition was the main goal on that date, a great part of the existing garden was moved to a “storage area” on the church’s grounds to await its reuse in the new garden’s construction. Waste not! Shrubs and flower bulbs were also transplanted to other locations in the church yard. A break in the winter weather actually allowed workers in their T-shirts, rather than winter coats, to enjoy the sunshine and labor. Even young volunteers were there with smiles on their faces as they planted seeds in recycled newspaper pots with volunteers. Hopes are to transplant those seedlings into the garden beds after their completion. A special surprise visitor, Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian, stopped by to check in on progress and provide support to the project.

The ground is now ready and awaiting construction of the outside fitness center and raised garden beds. What will be original to this community garden is a specific area for local chefs to donate their cooking expertise to gardeners and local community members to teach farm to table recipes and cooking tips. The next step in rebuilding this once great community garden of Atlantic City will be to meet with volunteers that will assist with the construction of the raised beds, pipe in plumbing and run electrical work. As said before, great things are growing in Atlantic City.
(Liz Donaghy, Garden Goddess by the Sea, giving some gardening expertise to volunteers at the Hamilton Community Garden.)

A special “Thank you” to those that came out to get the Hamilton Garden project rolling… John DeRichie, Project Architect, SOSH Architects, Don Kelly, Kelly’s All Pro Landscaping, Jim Andrews, James Andrews Designs, LLC, Liz Donaghy, Garden Goddess by the Sea, LLC, Employees from W. Kline Construction, Members of the Hamilton AME United Methodist Church, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, First Ward Councilman Aaron Randolph, Members of “Healing Gardens”, Pastor Jevon Caldwell, Carpenter Rich Engelmann from Carpenter’s Local #255.

Time to Celebrate at the Hamilton Memorial Community Garden

Article by Laura Engelmann – Atlantic City Press, September 15, 2014

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014 nearly 200 people were on hand for the dedication ceremony for the newest urban community garden and recreation area in Atlantic City. The Hamilton Memorial Community Garden welcomed the residents of Atlantic City and those that had put their time and energy into the project. With a ribbon cutting by local children and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, the garden was celebrated along with the teamwork that brought its creation to be.
Cookie Till, founder and president of A Work In Progress Foundation

Talking with community members, all look forward to gardening at the new and improved site. Winter crops have already been started by seed and with the help of the Community Gardeners, on hand from the Richard Stockton College, they will be transplanted following the harvest of tomatoes and eggplants that are currently thriving. What is not far from everyone’s mind, despite the festivities of a dedication, is how will the garden be sustained in the future? Programming meetings are to be scheduled to discuss what strengths partners can now bring to the project to seek out new gardeners, teach gardening skills, what health messaging can be brought by the way of healthy eating demonstrations, etc. There is more to a garden than wood boxes, dirt and seeds. Partners do not forget that there is a lot of work yet to do!

With that on their minds, the community members and partners celebrated! When asked about what she thought about the project, Ms. Jefferson, an Atlantic City resident stated, “I’m just speechless when I saw this, this afternoon. Kind of brought tears to my eyes because it was a work of heart and work of dedication.”

With 32 community partners sponsoring their time and money to the project, the group was able to construct a playground, garden, gazebo, mural and an outdoor entertainment area.

Community garden and park dedicated in A.C. near United Methodist Church

  • By LUCIA C. DRAKE, Staff Writer, September 3, 2014

Less than six months after the first shovelful of dirt was upturned from a weed-filled lot next to Hamilton Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlantic City, the resort’s new community garden and park area celebrated its official opening.

Cookie Till, founder and president of A Work In Progress Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversaw the project from start to finish, said the garden was dedicated in the name of hope.

“This represents the hope of Atlantic City and hope for the future,” said Till, who invited everyone “who comes in peace and with an open mind and an open heart” to make use of the area.

Community garden and park dedicated in A.C. near United Methodist Church

Located adjacent to the church at the corner of Connecticut and Arctic avenues, the lot was the site all summer of a thriving 25-bed vegetable and flower garden. The finishing touches of the small playground, filled with new colorful child-sized equipment, and a park area with benches, picnic tables, pergolas, a gazebo and a small amphitheater, were completed a few weeks ago.

Members of the church, the surrounding community, invited guests and all the volunteers who worked on the project since it broke ground last March, attended the late afternoon dedication ceremony on Aug. 27.

Although the space was conceived by Till through A Work In Progress, the park and garden is maintained by volunteers under the guidance of the church. The project was funded by local grants, donations and the support of no less than 30 local businesses and community partners, who were all recognized for their contributions during the dedication ceremony.

The project also had the support of the city, which donated some ipe wood as material for the garden beds and fencing. The hardy wood is the same type used on the Boardwalk, which makes a symbolic connection between the park and the city, Till said.

Till shared ribbon cutting honors with Hamilton Memorial’s the Rev. Clifford Still, resort Mayor Don Guardian and children from the church.

In his welcome, Guardian said that projects such as this not only prove that “New Jersey is the garden state, but that Atlantic City is the garden city.”

“This is how we rebuild in Atlantic City and teach our children what matters,” he told the gathering. “If you helped make this little bit of heaven possible, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Still, who became the new pastor at Hamilton Memorial over the summer after the Rev. Jevon Caldwell-Gross was reassigned to a church in Montclair, welcomed back his predecessor with much praise. Caldwell-Gross worked closely with Till and her foundation since the planning stages of the garden.

“Sometimes you don’t always get a chance to see the results of the seeds you planted, but this is one of those opportunities,” said Still. “This is something for the whole community to be proud of.”

Till said she remembers standing on the barren property last winter and said her guiding idea was to create a safe place for kids to play, a relaxing area where people could enjoy being outside and a garden that would provide fresh produce and food for the community.

“I’ve done community garden projects before, but this was more encompassing. The results were beyond my expectations, and I am truly amazed at what everyone accomplished,” she commented.

The outdoor affair also featured light jazz by three teen musicians who call themselves the Steve & Cookies Jam Band.