While there is some dispute, many people believe that the nickname “The Garden State” was coined on August 24th, 1876. The man many attribute the phrase to, Alfred Browning of Camden, was speaking at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and altered Benjamin Franklin’s description of New Jersey as a barrel with New York on one end and Philadelphia on the other with good things to eat coming out of both ends.

Others say the nickname goes back to the Revolutionary War when many New Jersey small farms helped feed the troops. In either case, according to Netstate.com, the nickname was added to license plates in 1954 via legislation that the governor refused to sign, since he believed that the state was known for much more than just agriculture, including manufacturing, mining, construction, power, and more. The Great Seal of the State of New Jersey also features Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, holding a cornucopia of harvested produce as well as three plows.

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