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Teens Doing Good Work

Teens Doing Good Work In Ocean County, New Jersey

Note the benches that elevate the EarthBoxes that enable seniors and those with physical limitations to garden.

The students who made this garden didn’t just learn to dig dirt. They built the benches and learned how modern sub-irrigated planter systems (SIPs) work. They learned some valuable skills that will lead some of them to new jobs in urban greenscaping.

We desperately need them to teach others how to do it. The greatest shortage we have is education about modern methods of growing food in the city. We appear to be stuck in the dirt of a bygone era.

Gooding said the gardens were planted in “earth boxes,” which contain special nutrients and are on above-ground benches built by the special-needs Vo-Tech students in Ocean County. He expected to harvest about 120,000 pounds of fresh produce.


Despite the sweltering heat on a recent afternoon, dozens of Ocean County teenagers diligently tended to gardens, even though they will not even enjoy the fruits of their labors.


Taking part in the Summer Youth Team Nutrition Community Gardens program, young adults helped build vegetable gardens at affordable-housing complexes around the county.

This is the first time OCEAN Inc., a nonprofit organization that was created in the 1960s to combat poverty throughout the county, is conducting the community garden program, which is funded by a $290,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“We thought it would be great to have a nutritional program and work with seniors to provide gardens on their sites,” said Ted Gooding, president and CEO of Toms River-based OCEAN Inc.


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