Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Community's Pride

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Community's Pride

Article excerpt

Several longtime residents say the irregular-sized parcel at Lafayette Place and Genesee Avenue in Englewood has been a garden plot as far back as anyone in the city can remember.

Louie Bacoat, a local man who sold vegetables from a horse-drawn wagon, used to grow some of his crop there. Sometimes he would pay youngsters for their help with a batch of collard greens, neighbors said.

Bacoat died in 1968 and the city owns the property today, said Lucy Walker, a retired school teacher from Teaneck who helped organize the plot into a community garden three years ago.

On Saturday, that garden took a step that supporters hope will help make it a more permanent neighborhood fixture, as volunteers and Halloween-costumed kids celebrated the first-ever Historic Louie Bacoat Community Garden fall festival.

Youngsters romped in an inflated bouncy house, made beaded bracelets out of pipe cleaners and designed their own ladybugs on smooth stones that Walker had painted a shiny red.

And several neighborhood gardeners turned out to admire the crops their long rectangular boxes had yielded since the summer.

"This is a teaching garden," Walker said as a CD player pumped out Michael Jackson tunes. "Kids and adults are learning to grow."

Sixteen local families paid $100 each for the annual use of one of the boxes, Walker said. Several other boxes are set aside for student gardeners.

Dorothy Coombs and her daughter Lily stopped by to check out the box that was planted by members of a Boy Scout troop from Teaneck who designed and grew their own garden in a grid of one-foot squares. Coombs is the leader of that pack.

Each of the scouts got to choose what they wanted to plant. As a result, their boxes produced everything from tomatoes and peppers to blueberries and string beans.

"We had a drought, but we got excellent tomatoes and excellent peppers," Coombs said. …

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