City Green, an urban farming organization headquartered at the City Green Farm Eco-Center in Clifton, NJ, operates a variety of programs and projects, from farming and farm stands, to community and school gardens, all with the purpose of connecting people to nature and healthy food. The Farm Eco-Center is a beautiful open space for the public, including a Learning Farm, native habitat installations, 2.5 acres of vegetable production, a greenhouse, and even goats and chickens. But the original design of the space did not properly accommodate people with disabilities or senior community members.
Working with the City of Clifton, and guided by focus groups with people with disabilities and consultations with horticultural therapy experts, City Green launched an initiative to make its facilities and programming accessible to everyone. The Farm Eco-Center is now equipped with accessible surfaces and pathways, raised accessible garden beds, accessible seating, and horticultural therapy elements to enhance visitors’ sensory and restorative experience. The project also improved accessibility at four of City Green’s community garden partner sites that serve senior citizens, veterans, and individuals with developmental disabilities. City Green’s Dig In! partner gardens now feature wider pathways, wheelchair-accessible garden beds, and adaptive garden tools.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, City Green founder and executive director Jennifer Papa remarked, “Everybody should have access to natural outdoor spaces, to grow healthy food, enjoy passive recreation in a beautiful space and a beautiful garden, and participate in our programming.”