Our Mission Statement
America’s Grow-a-Row’s mission is to positively impact as many lives as possible through a volunteer effort of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce. At America’s Grow-a-Row we:
- Provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need
- Educate people of all generations about hunger and ways to help
- Introduce our youth to farming and healthy eating
- Cultivate in tomorrow’s leaders the habit of giving back
- Contribute to the sustainability of agriculture
What We Do…
Planting & Harvesting
We GROW, GLEAN & GIVE℠ away free fresh produce by organizing groups to plant and harvest from our own farms and our partner farms. (See locations below.) At each visit we provide a short presentation about hunger issues and healthy eating.
Free Farm Market℠ Program
Throughout the season (mid-July through October) we deliver produce every other week to food desert areas (areas where people lack access to healthy, fresh, affordable produce) in Newark, Jersey City, Camden, and Morristown to set up a Free Farm Market℠. By partnering with organizations in each of these cities, we can connect with residents in need of produce and thus help address issues of diabetes, obesity, and other health concerns that are often associated with food desert areas and financial hardship.
Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days
We collaborate with our Free Farm Market℠ partners to bus children from low-income areas to our farm during the summer months for Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days. The children spend a day learning about nutrition, healthy eating, and agriculture; harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables to take home to their families and neighbors; and taking part in outdoor games and activities. Email [email protected] or see more information about signing up here. A basic background check for volunteers will be required.
Off the Field Gleaning
Every day, our volunteers rescue “not quite retail perfect” produce from ShopRite stores in Clinton and Flemington to deliver it to local food pantries in New Jersey. Email [email protected] to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
Winter/Spring Education Presentations
During the off season, we give presentations about America’s Grow-a-Row and deliver educational programs (about hunger, poverty, and healthy eating) to schools, after school programs, faith-based organizations, universities, the work place, and more. Our goal is to connect with groups that visit us in the field so they can better understand the issues our communities face and then take steps to improve these conditions. Take a look at the variety of workshops we offer here (Word or PDF) and reach out to [email protected] to schedule your date!
Where We Do It
- Pittstown Farm – Pittstown, NJ (our main location)
- Milford, Alexandria Township Farm – Milford, NJ (owned by AGAR)
- Valley Crest Farm and Preserve – Annandale, NJ
- Longmeadow Farms – Hope, NJ
- Riamede Farm – Chester, NJ
How It All Started
This program started in 2002 with a small plot and a single volunteer (Chip Paillex). After seeing a plea from the Flemington Food Pantry requesting that any gardeners donate excess produce, Chip and his daughter Kyra, who was four years old at the time, cultivated their own garden and donated about $3,000 worth, or 120 pounds, of produce that year. From these humble beginnings, we’ve grown into an organization that has donated over 6 million pounds of produce through the active participation of more than 7,000 volunteers!