What is America’s Grow-a-Row? America’s Grow-a-Row is a 501(c)3 organization that grows and gleans fresh produce that is then donated to food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and crisis centers in NJ, PA, NYC, and beyond. Thanks to our partnership with Feeding America, our produce is also distributed from New England to TX. Since we began in 2002, we have donated over 15 million pounds of produce! We have volunteer events from mid-May through November, when thousands of volunteers help harvest our crops. There are limited spring events.
Is there a fee? We don’t require donations but strongly encourage your support. We are a 501(c)3 that does not accept state or federal funding but relies on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations.
How do you get funding? We receive all funding through private and corporate grants and individual donations. Groups can also make a donation to support their team building day or become a Farm to Fork Volunteer Sponsor and enjoy the benefits, which includes full-year exposure on our website and your company logo on a banner in our headquarters barn/education center. We encourage corporate volunteers to see if their company has a Dollars 4 Doers program or matching grants. You may also spark up some friendly competition and participate in a Pennies 4 Produce fundraiser.
What does a volunteer outing look like? Most events take place weekdays from 9am-12pm and Thursday evenings. First, we educate our volunteers about hunger in NJ and the impact they will make that day! Then, it’s time to harvest a crop in the fields. No prior experience or tools are necessary.
How many people can I bring? Adult groups can be anywhere from 5-200 people. Children groups can be from 5-40 people. We understand that last minute conflicts may come up, but please keep us updated about your group size. We use your expected group size to plan what we will harvest during your visit, which in turn impacts our plans for how much we can harvest that week, ensuring that no produce goes to waste.
Where do we go for our event? Most of our events take place at our Clinton, NJ area farms (two farms less than 15 minutes apart in Pittstown and Milford). We will let you know whether you’re needed at the Pittstown Farm or Milford Farm a few days before your scheduled volunteer date depending on which crops are ripe at the time. We sometimes have a pressing need to harvest a particular crop and may ask you to change your farm location. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding of the challenges of agriculture. In September and October, we also glean apples in Chester (Riamede Farm) and Hope (Longmeadow Farms). These gleaning locations are firm and the location will not change upon scheduling.
What produce will we harvest? We may not know what you’re harvesting until the day of your event. It depends on the season, weather, crop maturity, and how much volunteer groups before you were able to harvest. Crops include corn, string beans, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, apples, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, squash, and more!
Where does the food go? 100% of the produce is donated, we don’t sell anything. We harvest 2.5 million pounds of produce each growing season. The produce primarily goes to foodbanks that serve New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia and smaller local food pantries. We also have our own Free Farm Markets® in Newark, Jersey City, East Orange, Camden, Philadelphia, and other nearby cities.
What should we bring? Dress for the weather and to get dirty. Sturdy closed-toed shoes are required. We also suggest that you bring refillable water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, hats, and work gloves.
What about the weather? Please dress for the weather. Our events are rain or shine and we will only cancel for thunderstorms or severe weather. We keep a close eye on the forecast and will let you know the day before if we need to cancel the event. We do not book rain dates but can try to reschedule a canceled event.
Will my group be in the field alone? All of our events are led by AGAR team members. Depending on the task and group size, your group may be paired with other teams to get the job done. Out of respect for the thousands of individuals that support America’s Grow-a-Row, we request that there be no soliciting or proselytizing of volunteers, employees, or supporters at our events or otherwise.
What do you have on site?
AGAR Pittstown Farm, 150 Pittstown Road, Pittstown, NJ: We have picnic tables for 75-100 in the barn area and can set up tables for 200+ on the lawn with advanced notice. There are three BBQ grills, a fire pit, and optional lawn games. We also have two port-a-johns and a handwashing station. We provide full water coolers.
AGAR Milford Farm, 401 Woolf Road, Milford, NJ: We have picnic tables for 50, two port-a-johns, and one handwashing station. We provide full water coolers. There is no physical structure on site.
Riamede Farm, 122 Oakdale Road, Chester, NJ: No picnicking is allowed. There are four port-a-johns.
Longmeadow Farm, 521 Hope Blairstown Road, Blairstown, NJ: There are no picnic tables, but you are welcome to tailgate. There are two port-a-johns.
Can we have food or a meeting on site? Yes and yes (subject to change due to COVID-19)! We recommend that morning groups bring breakfast to give your volunteers the energy needed for the day! See below for local recommendations for breakfast or lunch. Please let us know if you’re planning to come early or stay late.
Local Food Venues by Farm
Pick up food to bring to your event (subject to change due to COVID-19)!
Delivery available at select locations
Pittstown or Milford/Alexandria Township Farm
- ShopRite Clinton, 50 Walmart Plaza, Clinton, NJ 08809, 908-730-6800
- Chive & Thyme Catering & Cafe, 1250 Rt 31 North, Lebanon, NJ 08833, 908-323-2200
- Clinton Bagel Company, 38 Route 173 Clinton, NJ 08809, (908) 735 -9800
- Frank’s Italian Restaurant, 67 Walmart Plaza, Clinton, NJ 08809, (908) 735-9293
- Jersey Mike’s Subs, 61 Walmart Plaza, Clinton, NJ 08809, (908) 894-6363 – 20% discount offered to America’s Grow-a-Row volunteer groups
- Chick-fil-A Flemington offers free delivery for minimum orders of $125
- Just Chill Frozen Desserts & Creperie, 47 Main St, Clinton, NJ 08809, (908) 963-3491
- You are welcome to use our charcoal camping grills on the Pittstown property! Bring your own charcoal, lighter fluid, lighter, and grilling utensils please
If you’d like to extend your day out, your group may enjoy going to:
- Beneduce Vineyards, 1 Jeremiah Lane, Pittstown, NJ 08867, (908) 996-3823 – Have a wine tasting! Call ahead and let them know you volunteered at AGAR!
- Ironbound Farm, 360 County Road 579, Asbury (NOT Asbury Park), NJ 08802, (908) 940-4115 – Call ahead and let them know you volunteered at AGAR!
Longmeadow Farm, Hope/Blairstown
- Mediterranean Diner, 484 Blairstown Road, Blairstown, NJ, 908-459-0418 (pizza, sandwiches)
- Hope Market Deli, Cedar Street and Route 521 Hope, NJ, 908-459-4800 (breakfast and lunch)
Riamede Farm, Chester (no picnicking allowed on the premises)
- Sub Pub, 127 Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930, (908) 879-5334
- Chester Bagel & Deli, 17 West Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930, (908) 879-1155
- Roman Pizza, 81 West Main Street, Chester