The Urban Farm
New Jersey's Largest Public School Garden
What Sets us Apart?
Our educational farm is made alive by a small team of yearly staff, part time seasonal college and high school students, and community volunteers. All food is grown using Johnny's Selected Seeds with “beyond organic” principles, meaning we don't use chemical or organic fertilizers. The land is worked mostly by hand, with the occasional help of machine tillers and mowers. The environmental sustainability of the farm is a core value guiding all of our growing decisions.
We are consistently putting into practice new innovations to make the farm more productive and viable to the community and environment. Urban agriculture is essential to a community putting healthy, fresh food close to the need.
Designed for Learning
The farm sits on land owned by the Morris School District. In a unique public/ private partnership, the school district leases us the previously unused land to create a vibrant, living one acre farm. Having an urban farm goes beyond the concept of school garden where we provide unique interactive educational opportunities for the 5,200 school children of the Morris School District. Rather than long rows, diverse crops are grown in beds that can be easily accessed by children.
Currently those lessons look different, however the students, parents and teachers have enjoyed virtual lessons created by Farmer Tina. One of the benefits of the virtual lessons for us has been sharing them with the greater community as well. We have always known that providing the students with farm to school education puts them on a path towards healthier and greener choices with in classroom and on farm experiences.
Reaching families too as those newly learned lessons and joy of tastings translate into new practices at home is the magic. In these times, even more families are cooking together, and the time spent in the kitchen and around the table helps build to create a lifetime of healthier food choices. In addition, we are excited to see the numbers of families that are growing their own fresh food and making mindful choices that support the environment, with endeavors like composting and planting for pollinators.
We know this is not the reality of the situation for all residents though. Therefore, we consistently challenge ourselves to come up with programs and options that are more inclusive. This growing season, we provided 50 tomato and pepper plants to community members through Help MorrisNOW. We are providing free farm TO-GO kits with seedlings to the Atlantic Health families. This summer, with Kings Food Markets, we made nearly 150 free farm kits available to the children in the community.
The virtual programming includes bilingual materials that are easier to access, because we are using learning platforms that Morris School District children are already familiar with.
The farm is a learning place for higher education students including area colleges and for the general community. For example, students studying nutrition at SEU assist with starting seedlings at the greenhouse to grow at the farm. We are working on funding to grow our educational reach investigating new sustainable, growing methods, encouraging farming as a critical profession, and inspiring students to come up with new ways to feed people in a growing urban environment. We will keep modifying our lessons due to COVID-19 so we are ready to work with the community to continue to create fun learning opportunities.
Making fresh, healthy produce accessible for all is an important part of our mission. Last year, we were able to donate a record 7,000 lbs. of beyond organic, nutrient dense produce to our community. We donate to our respected partners who have the distribution networks all figured out, like Interfaith Food Pantry, nourish.NJ, Table of Hope, and Help MorrisNOW. This year we have set a goal to donate 1,000 lbs more!
We host the Atlantic Health Family Care & Guidance families with weekly, free local produce pickups at the farm along with health and wellness programs. These programs seek to inspire healthier food choices by engaging the whole family at the farm.
The rest is sold back to the community at an affordable cost through our weekly Saturday Farm Stands and Community Support Agriculture (CSA). The look of the produce grown on a small, local farm may vary slightly from what you see in the supermarket, however the taste of the produce just harvested is so fresh. We continue to make local, sustainably grown food accessible to everyone! Your donations help make urban agriculture that feeds the community possible.
Come Visit Us at the Farm!- Farm is closed to general public due to COVID-19.
Getting To The Farm
Located behind the Lafayette Learning Center, at 31 Hazel Street in Morristown, NJ.
From center of Morristown:
Turn on Martin Luther King Ave. Make a left onto Hazel St. Drive to the end of Hazel and you will see the school in front of you - go all the way behind the building past the field and you will see the farm gate.