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Caring & Giving

Six Community Gardens Get Eco-Friendly Rain Cisterns

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The New Brunswick Community Garden Coalition, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Johnson & Johnson, installed eco-friendly rain cisterns at six sites around New Brunswick last spring to provide an easy and renewable source of water for plants during the summer months.

Rainwater running off impervious surfaces such as roof tops is collected through specially-placed gutters and pipes into the cistern reservoirs in a process called rainwater harvesting. Rainwater is naturally soft, free of chlorine and fluoride and is naturally distilled, providing a renewable, sustainable and high quality water source for gardens.

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(from left) Two cisterns installed at New Brunswick Community Farmers Market's Esperanza Garden; cistern at Greater Brunswick Charter School Children's Garden; mural painted by parish members on the cistern at Christ Church Community Garden

Mark Oshinskie, garden coordinator at the Esperanza Garden where two cisterns were installed is a big fan of the technology. "They were especially appreciated during the May drought," notes Oshinskie. "I'm not sure that everything would have survived without them."

This centuries-old practice of rainwater harvesting reduces stormwater runoff, saves drinkable water and reduces energy use. Collectively, each year, the rainwater cisterns will keep 82,000 gallons of stormwater off of easily flooded streets in New Brunswick and reduce pollution in rivers.

The New Brunswick Community Garden Coalition is a community group that works to improve and start community gardens in the city so that everyone can benefit from growing their own vegetables, herbs, and fruit – contributing to building healthier and happier families and more beautiful and safe neighborhoods.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have helped protect 130 million acres worldwide.

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