Camden City Garden Club


3 Riverside Drive
Camden, NJ 08103
County: Camden


Mr. Michael Devlin
Executive Director

Grant Amount


Program Area


Grant Details

General operating support

Organization Background

CCGC was founded by two longtime Camden residents in 1985 on the organizational pillar of helping to make Camden a more livable and food secure community through its community gardening and urban farming efforts, initially through the repurposing of vacant city lots, which were often unsafe, negatively impacting neighborhoods, Extensions of that foundational premise were three key initiatives: ? Creation of the Grow Lab/School Garden/Science Education Program in 1989, bringing environmental science education and on-site school gardens to elementary schools throughout Camden ? The Youth Employment & Training Program in 1994, providing environmental science and urban agriculture education including job training and part time employment to at-risk Camden youth ? In 1999, the creation and development of the Camden Children's Garden, a 4 ½ acre horticultural playground on the Camden waterfront, designed for children and families to explore and discover the natural world, and experience creative and imaginative play plus ongoing educational programs. Since its opening, between 40,000 and 60,000 adults and children have visited the Camden Children's Garden each year. Current Programs and Activities: Camden City Garden Club originated organically; founders Mike Devlin and Valerie Frick possessed uniquely suitable skill sets to create CCGC: former city government leader and a vocational teacher, with a shared gardening passion. Harnessing those skills, using vacant city lots, CCGC was formed (1985) to aid and train residents in community gardening skills. As the program grew, other programs were added to address related challenges: *1989-Grow Lab/School Garden/Science Education Program-inventive curriculum of hands-on environmental science lessons based on making science appealing and relevant to students' lives, linking it with other subjects, e.g. nutrition, math, language arts. Serves 200-450 Camden elementary students annually; number served varies based on annual funding levels *1994-Youth Employment & Training Program, of which the Youth Empowering Watershed Education and Action Program (2018) is an adaptation, offers underserved, at-risk Camden youth (14-24) paid employment while providing real world work experience and marketable job skills, with urban agriculture education plus water conservation education and advocacy training. Structure allows youth to complete high school, graduate, pursue post-secondary education and employment, affording a viable path to self-sufficiency, while serving their community. Serves 10 Camden youth per 1 year program cycle; provides fresh produce for up to 5000 Camden residents annually *1999-Camden Children's Garden- 4 acre horticultural playground designed for children and families to explore/discover the natural world, providing educational programs in horticulture, and water conservation, including more than 30 separate lessons *1985-Present-Community Gardening -With over 100 gardens, programs now include community greening and beautification projects, urban farming, and water conservation methods training. Serves 40,000-60,000 Camden area residents of all ages, annually.

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