LSM Camden’s Summer Camp Program Sprouts Community Garden

New life, in the form of a community garden, is sprouting on the grounds of the former Grace Lutheran Church in Camden.

As part of its summer camp program, Lutheran Social Ministries of Camden – an 89-unit housing community – sponsored the garden to help children understand how vegetables grow, as well as the importance of healthy eating habits. The housing community is a program of Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSM/NJ).

The gardening project kicked off earlier this summer with staff from the LSM/NJ Central Administration Office in Burlington volunteering their time to clean out the area and remove debris. Throughout the summer, 10 children – ranging in age from 5 to 13 – have been cultivating, weeding, and harvesting produce, including bell and jalapeño peppers, zucchini, butternut squash, tomatoes, parsley, and basil.

A food education specialist from  Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Camden County also taught the children how to create simple, healthy meals with their harvest. Produce was shared not only with the camp participants, but also with neighbors in the surrounding community.

Staff members of LSM/NJ pose for a photo after weeding and clearing the area for the community garden to be planted.