Camden County educator Brooke Bivona, from the LEAP Academy University Charter School District, was awarded an $8,273 grant to carry out a project to create a “virtual community garden” for the LEAP Academy Charter School students in Camden. This grant has been designated as the Visions Grant for Social Justice. Visions Federal Credit Union has provided NJEA with a grant that supports the creation of social justice programs. This grant designation commemorates that commitment.

Bivona writes “first, we intend to stoke an interest in gardening among all district families. This project will kick start that process by exposing 50 school families to growing their own food through the ‘Garden in a Box’ project. The 50 families in our ‘Virtual Community Garden’ get to know one another and share their learning experiences in an online community. This will help spread the many benefits of gardening (healthy eating, more time outside, stress relief) and create a stronger sense of community and school spirit. In a COVID-19 context, when existing food access issues have only been exacerbated, local food provision measures like backyard and community gardens are even more important. Long after the pandemic has subsided, this kind of community building will remain important for our school.”

In addition to students participating alongside their families in the “Garden in a Box” project, Bivona will work with students who will be learning 21st century skills such as video production, film editing, social media management, and graphic design in a new AV club. The AV club will team up with the young farmers to create informational videos for 50 families as well as record the schools progress throughout the program.

For more information, contact:

Brooke Bivona, Project Coordinator
856-614-0400 (School)

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