America’s Grow-a-Row is a nonprofit organization that grows and gleans fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables that are distributed to hunger relief agencies and crisis centers in every corner of New Jersey, and works with agencies, churches, and community groups in Newark, Jersey City, Camden, and Morristown to set up Free Farm Markets during the harvest season that allow local residents in need to come and select produce at no cost.
Through the Free Farm Market program, America’s Grow-a-Row provides access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables and hosts Growing Healthy Kids Farm Days in Pittstown, New Jersey during the summer when the children spend a day harvesting fresh produce for their families and neighbors, learn about healthy eating and agriculture, and play outdoor games. Through the Impact 100 grant, youth from St. Peter’s Church in Morristown attended the Growing Healthy Kids Farm Day.
As part of the Free Farm Market program, America’s Grow-a-Row also hosts recipient volunteering events which provides the clients of the Free Farm Markets an opportunity to participate in the program in a volunteer capacity enabling them to give back to the program in a fulfilling and meaningful way by harvesting produce to be distributed in their own communities and to others in need.
America’s Grow-a-Row’s 2015 goals are to donate 1.2 million pounds of farm-fresh food to various hunger relief agencies in New Jersey, with the help of more than 4,000 volunteers, while at the same time educating people of all ages about hunger, the importance of agriculture, and healthy eating.
Impact 100 Garden State is a unique organization of women dedicated to improving the lives of New Jersey residents by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Sussex counties. Each member contributes $1,000 to membership and the entire amount funds grants for organizations in five categories: Arts and Culture, Children and Families, Education, Environment, and Health and Wellness.
Jon Elsman of Randolph, an America’s Grow-a-Row volunteer, shows youth from St. Peter’s Church in Morristown how to harvest corn from a corn stalk and helps with string bean harvesting. (courtesy photo)