Farms and Farming for those Most in Need
Two articles this week pointing to the importance of New Jersey farming in providing access to fresh food for urban communities and for those in need in more suburban and rural areas.
New trustees named at Valley Crest Farm and Preserve
Robert J. Shanahan, Jr. an attorney from Flemington, and Mike Beneduce Jr., a fourth generation farmer and winemaker from Pittstown, have been named to the Board fof Trustees at the Valley Crest Preserve. The Valley Crest Preserve is a nonprofit that grows and provides fresh produce for people in need. Valley Crest Preserve is located in Lebanon NJ.
Urban Farming in NJ: A Vital Link in the New Jersey Foodshed
Michele Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation penned columns in the Hunterdon County Democrat and The Daily Record about the importance of urban agriculture in New Jersey.
Urban agriculture and the repurposing of old industrial sites for agriculture and food processing has also been a key concern of NJ Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher as well.
Byers provides links to a number of key urban agricultural initiatives in Trenton, Newark, Camden, and Patterson:
Capital City Farm an initiative of the D&R Greenway Land Trust is supported by Isles which is developing 30 community gardens around the City of Trenton. Capital City Farm will be located on two acres of land behind the Trenton Soup Kitchen.
Greater Newark Conservancy supports two urban farms in Newark, including an orchard with 75 fruit trees.
AeroFarms is converting an old steel factory in Newark’s Ironbound section into a vertical farm that will provide fresh greens year-round.
Camden’s Center for Environmental Transformation operates the Emerald Street Garden which includes a greenhouse, chicken coop and bread oven. Community gardens operate in many abandoned lots throughout Camden. Camden’s agricultural landscape includes orchards as well as community gardens and urban farms.
City Green operates in Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic. Projects include a one acre farm in Paterson and a five acre farm in Clifton. City Green is a good example of how to operate at a bioregional scale in a state dominated by home rule and fragmented jurisdictions.
It’s Farmers Market Time!
Farmers markets are starting to open across the state, usually in a south to north pattern. Here’s a quick rundown of those markets that made the press this week.
Cowtown Farmers Market in Pilesgrove NJ. It’s old school in that piles of fresh produce and fresh farm products from nearby farms are intermingled among rows and rows of flea market wares, bargain basement stuff, and antiques. Great way to spend a 1/2 day or so with the kids.
Brigantine Farmers Market in Brigantine NJ.
Shore Area Markets The Asbury Park Press provides a handy dandy guide to farmers markets in Monmouth and Ocean Counties this week. One of my favorite memories as a kid is driving to the beach with my grandparents and watching the fields and farms unfold. Pulling in at some roadside farmers stand and getting fresh sweet corn and tomatoes on the way home was always a treat.
While the roadside stands and roadside markets are fast disappearing along with many of our small roadside farms, NJ’s still abundant produce, fruit, and value-added products can be found at many of these farmers markets covered by the APP.