Morris County has ample opportunities for its residents to participate in outdoor recreation, or buy fresh, local food. But what about residents in underserved areas of Morristown, the region’s hub? What are their opportunities to access fresh food and physical activity? This ShapingNJ project, with funding provided by Atlantic Health, aims to answer that question.
Grow It Green Morristown is leading a community needs assessment on fresh food and physical activity. Grow It Green Morristown will collaborate with the Town of Morristown, Atlantic Health System and the Morristown Neighborhood House to complete an assessment of existing food and physical activity environments for residents who live in close proximity to our program locations, in underserved areas of Morristown. Data will be gathered through surveys, asset mapping, focus groups, and information collected by partner groups.
Using the buildings within the purview of the Morristown Housing Authority as our target population, Grow It Green Morristown will conduct surveys and solicit feedback from senior residents and other community members on a fixed income/ low-income budget. They will also work with Atlantic Health’s Family Counseling & Guidance program to distribute the survey to their audiences, predominantly families who have recently immigrated to the area. The Morristown Neighborhood House is located nearby and can solicit their constituents for surveys as well. As an incentive for completing the survey, Grow It Green Morristown will provide a $5 voucher to be redeemed at the Urban Farm during farm stand hours, when fresh vegetables are available at cost to make them affordable to the whole community.
The assessment will begin in February and continue for a 6-month period. Based on the outcomes of the assessment, an Action Plan will be created to address the needs identified in the community and begin working toward tasks within the Action Plan. One of the proposed activities is expanding a local community garden and creating an ADA-compliant walking path within in.
Grow It Green Morristown is a nonprofit that grows food to grow community. They create garden and farm spaces that provide educational opportunities and donate fresh, local produce to area soup kitchens, shelters and schools.