LONG BRANCH, N.J. – The Long Branch Concordance Family Success Center proudly hosted its first workshop with The Monmouth County Park System on Saturday, March 12th. The free Mini-Greenhouse Workshop taught local families how to plant and grow seeds for planting at the Strengthening Families Community Garden Kickoff and Health Fair on April 23, 2016.

The naturalist, Joan Capriotti, of The Monmouth County Park System traveled to the Family Success Center located at St. James’ Church in Long Branch with her seeds, dirt and planting tools to teach over 30 adults and children about winter-seedlings. Families brought their own used plastic containers and recycled them into mini-greenhouses. The naturalist led the class and taught how to properly cut and aerate the container then fill and plant the tomato, cilantro or pepper seeds. Families also learned how the greenhouse works and that it can remain outdoors in the cold and snow and naturally remain warm enough to still produce a hearty seedling ready to plant in the ground at the 7th Avenue Community Garden in April. Lourdes Alcaraz, the Family Success Center’s Bilingual Family Support Partner, translated instructions or addressed questions when needed.

Joan found this workshop to be especially rewarding. She said, “Although I enjoy teaching this workshop to all groups, I found that taking this one on the road to the Family Success Center was especially rewarding. It’s so gratifying to know that aside from the fun we all had today this project is truly productive. What we made today will grow, be planted in the Community Garden and be harvested by families so they have free, nutritious food! It’s amazing.”

The workshop was not only educational but a fun-filled family day where parents and children learned something new together. In addition to following the demonstration and listening to English instructions, everyone made new friends, children colored on gardening-themed coloring sheets and all enjoyed organic fruit, nuts and snacks together. One lucky family happily won a beautiful, fresh fruit basket from the free raffle the Family Success Center provided thanks to the generosity of Delicious Orchards of Colts Neck.

For questions or more information about obtaining a family plot at the 7th Avenue Community Garden or the Long Branch Concordance Family Success Center, please contact Elena Delaney, Volunteer and Community Resource Coordinator at (732) 571-1670 or elena@lbc4help.org.