Commissioner Bob Martin Joins DEP Staff for Volunteer Day at Liberty Hall Farm at Kean University in Union County
DEP EMPLOYEES TO HELP HARVEST CROPS, MARK END OF GROWING SEASON
(16/P101) TRENTON –Department of Environmental Protection staff are helping prepare an urban farm for harvest as part of a Volunteer Day effort at Liberty Hall Farm on the campus of Kean University in Elizabeth.
Commissioner Bob Martin, Deputy Commissioner David Glass and other DEP management and staff joined Groundwork Elizabeth’s Come Grow With Us! Community Gardening Program today to harvest crops and work the farm.
Liberty Hall Farm provides locally grown produce to nearby urban communities that may lack adequate resources to access healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The Christie Administration recognizes the importance of improving the quality of life in urban communities across New Jersey,” Commissioner Martin said. “I am proud of the nearly 60 DEP staff who have volunteered to spend today at Liberty Hall Farm to help fulfill that mission by harvesting locally grown, healthy produce for families, and preparing the farm for the end of the growing season.”
The DEP volunteers are helping to weed, harvest, spread compost and perform general winter preparation work. Partners that are participating in the event include the Elizabeth Housing Authority, Elmora Public Library, Groundwork Elizabeth’s Green Team, faculty and students from Kean University, and the Elizabeth Board of Education.
Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director for Groundwork Elizabeth, which oversees the Come Grow With Us! program, is overjoyed by the volunteer response
“This is our second successful activity day at the Liberty Hall Farm for volunteers posted by the office of Environmental Justice at DEP,” said Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director for Groundwork Elizabeth. “We make them all a promise – they will be put to work, they'll have fun doing it, and they'll be helping our community and our environment.”
In April, DEP awarded a $250,000 grant to Groundwork Elizabeth’s Come Grow With Us! Community Gardening Program to improve access to healthy foods, develop strategies to build sustainable agricultural systems, develop green-focused career opportunities, as well as quality of life initiatives in socially and economically challenged areas of the City of Elizabeth, Union Township and other urban sections of Union County.
Groundwork Elizabeth is working to achieve those goals through an initiative known as Permaculture Education Agricultural Systems (P.E.A.S.), which is sponsored in part by DEP. The program promotes environmental stewardship, social and cultural revitalization, urban reinvestment and recycling.
Founded in England in 1979, the Groundwork program was formed as an international effort to engage the public sector, private sector and community in addressing challenges in urban communities. The Groundwork Elizabeth program, an outgrowth of this effort, promotes economic and social well-being in the Elizabeth area through a variety of community-based partnerships that empower residents, businesses, educational institutions and other organizations that improve quality of life.
For more information about the P.E.A.S. initiative, please visit: www.groundworkelizabeth.com