Get Ready, Set, Action….

IMG_2397Montclair Community Farms is excited about our new Mobile Farm Stand.  Our healthy nutrition strategy is to have our locally grown produce on wheels to enable us to effectively reach our senior citizens who are in need of these healthy and nutritious foods at affordable pricing.  Being mobile also minimizes barriers for our senior customers who might find transportation or high priced farmers markets a challenge.  As this is our inaugural year,  we will be looking to measure the number of customers served by the mobile farm stand, the number of pounds of produce sold and the number of community volunteer hours contributed.

With the tell tale signs of spring here, we are gearing up to get our beds ready to plant.  Our head farmer and his assistant are in place.  Seedlings are being grown in the greenhouses of Essex 4-H, Montclair State University and Essex Tech Vocational High School.  We are in the process of building raised beds to make growing more efficient at our farm site located at the Montclair Historical Society.  We hope to solve the drainage problem, which washed away many seeds last year!   Now we are rounding up all of our community volunteers, which are an essential ingredient to our success.

While the seeds are sprouting, we will be building our new Mobile Farm Stand. This stand will be hitched to our pick up truck!  We are currently working with our master carpenters to finalize the building plan.

To find out how you can volunteer, check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/montclaircommunityfarms.  You can also sign up for our email list by clicking the link on the top of the page.

Like the buds of spring, we are bursting with excitement.

So stay tuned for “What’s Growin’ On” with Montclair Community Farms.

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What’s Growin’ On at Montclair Community Farms

Miller Street FarmMontclair Community Farms (MCF) is very excited to be apart of ShapingNJ 2015.  MCF is a grassroots, community coalition consisting of 5 local members: HOMECorp, Montclair Health Department, Montclair Historical Society, Montclair State University and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County: Essex 4-H and Master Gardeners.

Farm Camp 2014We are a Local Food Network where community and food intersect to create a food environment for a life long healthy community.  MCF’s mission is to provide community farm sites to create a local, sustainable, healthy food environment through community engagement of youth farmers and community volunteers. Benefits of our efforts include a local model for agricultural sustainability, garden based education, affordable access to local produce in our community, intergenerational community engagement, health and environmental awareness, and life skills education for all ages which include community organizing and entrepreneurship opportunities.

This season we are upgrading from the “backpack delivery”Farm to Table to a new Mobile Farm Stand, thanks to a USDA local food promotion grant. MCF’s continued growing efforts will be focused on our senior residences in town who do not qualify for assistance and are priced out of higher-end farmers markets.  Being able to bring our fresh local produce to their door step, will provide easy and affordable access for our senior community.   Our goals for this project are to increase affordable access to our seniors, develop new partnerships with local schools and community organizations to increase community volunteer participation in growing local food and increase participation in our urban youth farming program.

For more information on What’s Growin’ On at Montclair Community Farms, please visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/montclaircommunityfarms

See you on the farm!

The Eat Better Montclair Team is Bigger and Healthier Than Ever!

Now is the time of year when eating better is made easier for many by gardening, shopping at farmers’ markets, buying shares in CSAs, and purchasing locally grown produce at supermarkets.

Eat Better Montclair is determined to make healthy foods accessible to everyone in Montclair, and we are pleased to announce that Ricardo Berrios is joining our team as a volunteer to help us do just that.  Ricardo is a full-time Montclair State University Nutrition major with a minor in Business who also works with patients as a Dietary Aide at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation where he designs and prepares beautiful and nutritious vegetable and fruit platters.

And that’s not all!  Ricardo’s family owns R&H Catering Service in Clifton, and nearly seven years ago, Ricardo became a vegetarian, and is now a vegan, to address health issues.  Welcome aboard Ricardo! (that’s Ricardo with Eileen in the photo!)

Eat Better Montclair Eileen and Ricardo 6.4.14

 

 

It’s Spring & We’re Growing Our Team

Now that the harsh winter has passed (really!) and the birds are a-chirping, we are feeling very optimistic about Eat Better Montclair.  We know that good work is done through collaboration and solid teamwork.  As a result, we have reconnected with our good friends at Montclair State University to find Nutrition Science student volunteers to help execute our game plan to bring healthier food and beverage options to local stores in underserved neighborhoods in Montclair.  The talent pool is strong, and we are about ready to play ball.

Happy Spring, Everyone!

 

 

Healthier Options Coming to a Corner Near You.

The Montclair Health Department was awarded a grant through Partners for Health Foundation as part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network community grants.

The goals of the project are to:

*Increase availability and variety of affordable, fresh produce

*Increase the visibility and attractiveness of the healthier options

*Increase the sales of fresh produce

*Increase the sales of milk and water

We will be working in partnership with Eat, Play, Live, Better….Montclair and the members of the Healthy Eating Action Team (HEAT). Team members include our neighbors at the Bloomfield Health Department, The Salvation Army, Bike & Walk Montclair, The Devil Gourmet, Boxed Organics,  Toni’s Kitchen and Montclair State University.

We are still in the early stages of planning, but be on the look out for healthier options near you!

ELP