Montclair Community Farms
Inspired by the Boston Food Project and the Learning Garden Laboratory in Portland, Oregon, The Montclair Community Farms (MCF) seeks to educate and engage campus and community constituents in sustainable farming practices, nutrition education, food safety, environmental awareness, stewardship, and civic responsibility in cooperation with other non-profit groups in order to increase food security and teach sustainability in a holistic way.
Montclair Community Farms (MCF) is a collaboration of Montclair State University, Montclair Historical Society, Essex County 4-H (Rutgers Cooperative Extension), HOMECorp, Montclair Health Department, TerraNoble Design and United Way of Northern New Jersey. Since its inception, the project has been funded by Partners For Health Foundation, and has also received funding from Montclair State through a grant from Capital One Bank.
The MCF is comprised of two sites. The first, situated on small plot of land nestled in a residential community in south Montclair on Miller Street that is owned and donated by HomeCorp, and the second is a 6,000 square foot plot located behind the Montclair Historical Society's Clark House on Orange Road.
Urban Youth Farm Program
Through the urban farming program, middle and high school age students serve as youth farmers and learn the practice of organic farming while also learning about sustainable food systems, healthy eating, ecology, and life skills. Through training provided by Rutgers University Master Gardeners and Essex County 4-H, youth farmers are educated in organic farming practices, the utilization of fresh produce, and how to share their skills with community members. See them in action on Youtube!
The MCF project also enhances the health and wellness of area residents by providing fresh, organic produce to low income individuals, families, soup kitchens, and food pantries which have limited budgets to regularly purchase produce, local or otherwise. Last year, youth farmers donated approximately 750 pounds of vegetables to emergency feeding programs, low income senior housing sites, and sold at a low cost farm stand.
University Engagement Opportunities
The MCF provides a ready platform for engagement for MSU faculty and students who have teaching, learning, and research interests in sustainability, health and nutrition ecology, urban planning, education etc. This past year, Montclair State University Professor Christopher Matthews, of the Center for Heritage and Archaeological Studies, led an archeological dig for his service-learning class at the Montclair Historical Society's community garden, while another graduate student used the future garden for an internship project.
For more information about the MCF, contact Bryan Murdock at: firstname.lastname@example.org.