Grow it Green Morristown is not an agricultural organization, they're a community building organization that just happens to be involved in agriculture because, as Samantha Rothman said, "everybody's got to eat."
That mindset has helped grow over its last several years of existence. One of those ways they have built community is with its annual fundraiser, which raises money for the upkeep of its grounds and continued support of its programs with the Morris School District.
The event returns for its third year at 5 p.m. on Sunday at .
This time "Alfresco in the Garden" is being held a month earlier. It gives people another local event to attend during a traditionally quiet month, it separates itself from the usual "Back-to-School" craziness and, "the garden just looks so awesome right now," said Rothman, one of the founding members of Grow it Green, which also operates a and, soon, .
Attendees will once again be treated to a number of menu items, many prepared using ingredients straight from the garden they will be lounging in. This year, pizza will be prepared not from the back of Nomad Pizza's converted REO Speedwagon, but from another pizza truck owned by a former employee of that Mercer County-based company, Peter Lombardi. Music will once again be provided by The Cat Birds and a number of items will be available for silent auction from sponsors including , , , , , and .
Maureen Denman, chair for the event, started with Grow it Green Morristown in the Early Street Community Garden. She has since joined Grow it Green's board of trustees. She attributes the organization's growing popularity to an already-there desire by people in and around Morristown to think and do things in a different way.
"Overall, people are just becoming more aware and care about what they put in their bodies," she said.
Rothman, a Morristown native, said as more and more local businesses closed over the years, to be replaced by banks, people grew hungrier for that local connection they had felt before.
"Stuff like this–people want to gravitate toward it," she said.
That gravitation has shown monetarily year after year at Alfresco in the Garden. Last year, after expenses were paid off, Grow it Green was able to funnel $3,000 back into its programs. Denman said she hoped they would be able to raise even more this year.
It is more likely to happen than not, as both organizers noted, Morristown is much more than just a set of roads and businesses and houses. It's also a community.
"In Morristown, people are happy to help you," Rothman said.
The fundraiser will be held Sunday starting at 5 p.m. at the Urban Farm at Lafayette, 31 Hazel St. Tickets are $75, couples are $120 and should be purchased in advance at www.growitgreenmorristown.org.