Grantee Blog 2020

Reaching Our Community Where They Are

Now that summer has officially begun, our partner’s farm sites at Montclair Community Farms (MCF) are in full bloom. Our zucchini is taking over the beds and we are harvesting garlic, beets, kale, collards, and swiss chard. Dill, parsley and cilantro have welcomed pollinators like the NJ state butterfly, the Blue Swallowtail.
Earlier this month, we launched our Mobile Farm Stand which looks a little different this year as a result of COVID-19. Our goal is to minimize human-to-human contact while maintaining safe interaction with our community.  Customers must follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings, and unfortunately they cannot inspect MCF’s gorgeous produce looking for the perfect head of lettuce.  Our Mobile Farm Stand continues to bring fresh, local, and affordable produce to vulnerable populations in our community. This is a critical service as food insecurity increases during the pandemic and now more than ever it is important to ensure that our community members have access to fresh produce.
COVID-19 has delayed our plans to upgrade our shared kitchen spaces for commercial use, but has encouraged us to innovate and think about new ways to support our community.  As a result, MCF has launched two virtual series aimed at helping our community to start and grow thriving vegetable gardens – a longer term and more sustainable solution to reducing food security including the Grow Your Own Veggie Garden series.  Next week, MCF will also launch a new children’s series, Sweet Pea Kids program. This program will provide children aged 4-8 years old with an opportunity to embrace the make-your own lifestyle utilizing items that can be found in ones kitchen, garden, and in nature.  It will hone children’s innate skills and foster an appreciation for everyday creativity and nature in a safe environment.  Throughout these programs, we have found that meeting our community where they are – whether in person or virtually, on a weekend or at their leisure, has been critical to reach and support more people in our community.  These programs will provide important learnings to launch our value added products programs in a safe way.  Our intention is to launch the value added products programs in late Summer/early Fall when produce is at its peak production and to offer those products on our Mobile Farm Stand.
The Township of Montclair is a member of the Montclair Community Farms Coalition. 

About the Grantee

Township of Montclair

The Montclair Health Department is a founding member of the Montclair Community Farms Coalition. Montclair Community Farm’s mission is to serve as a local hands-on resource that engages and educates the community through urban farming, affordable food access and healthy living. At the heart of Montclair Community Farms is its Coalition, partners, and community volunteers.