Growing Strong In 2021
The past year has certainly been another challenging one, but with every challenge comes an opportunity for strengthening and growth, and 2021 was certainly an enormous growing year for Montclair Community Farms! Growth means so many things to our team at MCF, from the physical growth of young seedlings into the fruits and vegetables that sustain so many of our community members, to the social-emotional growth of young ones as they explore the natural world together, to the transformative growth of our impact in the community we hold so dear.
Something that remains at the forefront is that community gardening is a shared endeavor. This year, with the help of dedicated high school students from across Essex county we grew over 6,230 organic seedlings in the Van Vleck Greenhouse. To spread our impact and outreach, we donated over 2,800 seedlings to other gardens that also support families in need.
One of our biggest challenges growing in an urban setting is maximizing yield in a limited space. Our farmers along with the help of volunteers grew over 4,000 pounds of organic produce right here in the heart of Montclair! Our mobile farmstand frequented over 40 locations throughout Essex county and served over 470 individuals in the process, including 5 times more SNAP transactions!
For many families, the greatest challenge during the pandemic has been making sure that their children have safe opportunities to learn, socialize, play, and grow, and MCF has been proud to offer more educational opportunities this year than ever before. This year we held over 25 unique programs, workshops, field trips, and educational experiences, with over 350 children making lasting memories and connections on the farm!
With the support of the USDA, this year we also successfully launched our new Farmpreneur Program – Seed to Sale, which empowers local youth entrepreneurs to engage their food systems directly while exploring careers in food and agriculture. This summer 9 youth entrepreneurs learned how to grow their own food, create value-added grain products, and sell their items on our mobile farm stand route.
The powerful work of Montclair Community Farms is only possible because of the strong community that stands behind us. Your support, whether participating in our programs, volunteering, talking about us with friends, or donating, has been instrumental to our success. Thank you!
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!
About the Grantee
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.