For the Entire Community

Havemeyer Edible Garden Donates Organic Plants to Golden Age Towers Residents

Jacqueline Mercer Presents Tomato Plants Grown at Ramapo College

GARFIELD – The Founder of Ramapo College’s Edible Garden met with Bergen County officials and residents of the Golden Age Towers recently to present two dozen organic tomato plants that will be planted and harvested for residents and other senior citizens who visit the facility.

Dr. Jackie Ehlert-Mercer, a registered dietitian and founder of the Havemeyer Edible Garden met with seniors who participate in a nutritional program at the Towers, which is funded by the Bergen County Division of Senior Services.

“We at the Havemeyer Edible Garden and Ramapo College are so pleased to be part of this wonderful nutrition program here,” said Ehlert-Mercer. “Healthy, sustainable food is the foundation of a healthy and productive life, a lesson that the residents of Golden Age Towers have already embraced with their own garden.”

Ehlert-Mercer presented the plants to Lorraine Joewono, Acting Director of the Bergen County Division of Senior Services and residents of the complex.

“Ramapo College’s donation of these tomato plants from their edible garden will enhance our seniors’ quality of life by promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney. “It’s wonderful to see institutions of higher education getting involved with the community and establishing programs that promote nutrition and better living.”

The Havemeyer Edible Garden was established by Ramapo College President Dr. Peter P. Mercer and his wife, Jackie, in Spring 2006. Funded with private donations, the garden was founded in response to a call for public institutions of higher education in New Jersey to establish educational programs on obesity. It is a place for learning about sustainable food, eating and nutrition.

The garden is the foundation for a curriculum that provides Ramapo College students experience in sustainable eating and nutrition. The edible organic garden contains a wide variety of hybrid tomatoes, egg-plant, carrots, green and red peppers, cucumbers, beans, radishes, onions, strawberries, apples, blueberries and a broad array of fresh herbs.

Each year, area school children also visit the garden for courses on nutrition and sustainability. The educational programs at the Havemeyer Edible Garden are entirely run by volunteers using an academic theory based curriculum developed by Jackie Ehlert-Mercer, a registered dietitian with the support of other professionals.