AN IDEA TAKES ROOT
Pictured from left to right: Grow It Green Morristown co-founders Myra Bowie-McCready, Carolle Huber and Samantha Rothman.
In 2009, three Morristown women had the vision to convert an abandoned lot into a garden. Today, the Early Street Community Garden is a thriving community hub that gives nearly 100 local families the opportunity to grow their own food.
The following year, Grow It Green Morristown created New Jersey’s largest public school garden –the Urban Farm– on land owned by the Morris School District. This partnership brings farm-based education to the greater Morristown community – allowing individuals to know where food comes from, learn how to care for our environment, and experience locally grown, fresh food.
The majority of the produce grown at the Urban Farm is donated to local community partners and directly to families in need. Since 2016, through a partnership with Saint Elizabeth University, Grow It Green manages the Greenhouse on campus - giving us a space to grow year round and run experiential learning programs with college students. In its 11th year, Grow It Green Morristown operates the Winter Farmers Market.
Since its founding, Grow It Green has become a thought leader in the sustainability movement across northern New Jersey and is continually evolving to meet the needs of the community it serves to create more just, sustainable and healthy food systems. We are about to enter our 15th year embedded in our community created local solutions and we welcome you to help us celebrate, thrive and throttle forward!
EQUITY- More than a statement
Transforming communities into more equitable places of opportunity to thrive begins with each of us. Our goal is to create programs in urban green spaces in our community that nurture relationships and create trust while also being open to authentic conversations that help build racial equity.
We stand in solidarity with Black communities locally and nationwide against racism and police brutality in all its forms. We know Black Lives Matter. We are not willing to remain silent on where we stand as an organization.
We ask you to join us in taking action to create equity and celebrate diversity. Following through on a critical applied practice path lasting 5 months in 2021, joining people across the nation in an interactive series on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression led by Yancey Consulting, we have revised programs, policies and priorities. We know we need to be willing to be uncomfortable to eliminate systemic racism and oppressive practices within our organization and community. We approach this journey, dedicated to our core values of Community, Education and Equity and stand against systemic racial inequity. We are committed to act with open eyes to consistently evaluate and revise our programs, practices and communications to truly reflect these values at the farm and garden, and in our partnerships with many other local organizations and businesses.
We have been setting new milestone targets immediately and for 2022, 2025 and 2030.
Read on for more information about a few of these new programs.
Farmer Apprentice Program
Grow It Green received grant funding for salaries for vocational education from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to create two farmer apprenticeships in 2021. Utilizing a resource that sits on land ceded from the Munsee Lenape people: the urban learning farm dedicated to sustainable growing practices original to indigenous people and further shared and refined by George Washington Carver is the home of our farm apprenticeships. Farmer Shaun is bringing agriculture alive for underrepresented persons interested in a career as farmers and stewards of the land. Our 2021 farmer apprentices were Grace and Chris. Learning and growing from them we are bringing people back to the skills of farming as a way to create resilience and culturally relevant nourishment in communities. In 2022, we welcome Emanuel to our staff as a Farm Apprentice and in 2023, Allison, who join us with a rich history in food and community.
What kind of history do you have related to agriculture when you look back at your family history? How long ago was that and what perceptions are there that exist in your own household about the role of farmers in our society? Who holds those roles, who owns the land and who makes decisions about what we have available to eat and how it is grown?
In 2022, we started a Urban Farmer Training series with Newark Science and Sustainability. Click here to learn more.
Early Street Community Garden:
New collaborations brought opportunities for new neighbors to learn, grow and relax at the community garden. We welcome gardeners from Homeless Solutions, Neighborhood House, Wind of the Spirit, Morris County Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, Colonial L.I.F.E. and St. Margaret's with plots at the community garden. In spring of 2023, in a new curriculum based program with MHS, 200 Environment Science and English Language Learner students came weekly to the garden in our outdoor classroom. In addition, we continued progress on the third phase of renovations to the garden and parklet to engage more of the public who are curious and interested in this unique green space.
New communication priorities put our energy into reaching the people that live around the farm and garden that have the most to gain from our programs. Bilingual communications and canvassing efforts are helping guide our programs and increase participation along with open houses. For example, gardener newsletters are sent with English and Spanish versions. In addition, we use our voice to amplify the voices of BIPOC organizations who are working to create more equitable food systems.
Bomba-Inspired Drumming Sessions: Music and nature are simple yet powerful ways to come together and open up conversations among strangers, even without words. This summer we are excited to welcome Ritmos, Raices and Ramas to lead free Bomba-inspired drumming sessions at The Urban Farm for local teens every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-3 pm. Click here to read more.
Grow It Green Morristown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity and, in order to maintain this nonprofit status, we must abide by a strict IRS prohibition against involvement in candidate campaigns ("electioneering"). Grow It Green Morristown cannot and does not support or oppose political candidates in any way.