"I think gardening is a great activity," Balzac said. "Growing your own food is not only a healthy practice, it's a fulfilling practice."
Town officials are backing the community garden project.
"As government leaders, we love community involvement," Supervisor Douglas said, adding that any offsetting of food prices is just an added bonus.
The grant Balzac is applying for on behalf of the town is from Essex County Public Health Department. This money comes from a "Creating Healthy Places" grant that ECPHD applied for and received from New York state in the fall of 2010, according to Balzac. The money can be used to fund seven to 10 proposals that support healthy nutrition, physical activity and a sustainable environment.
Community gardens cost on average $1,000-$4,000 to create, Balzac said. Potential costs of the Jay garden include fencing, tools, and a tool shed.
Vegetables at the garden will primarily be grown for the consumption of the growers, though Balzac said he'd love to see some of the produce donated to local food pantries. Growers will likely have to pay a nominal fee to raise plants for the year. All garden policies will need to be approved by the town of Jay.
The town will learn whether their application has been approved by June 30, Balzac said. He said it was his goal that people could begin growing plants this calendar year, but was unsure if it was possible.