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 seasonal staff, part time seasonal high school students, and community volunteers led by Farmers Shaun and Marley. All food is grown using sustainable practices whose origins are heavily rooted in indigenous cultural growing methods. On the farm we don't use toxic chemicals or non-organic fertilizers. The land is worked mostly by hand. Healthy soils sequestrates carbon, preserve water, and supports biodiversity. These sustainable practices improve the resilience of the farm while bringing nutrient dense food to our neighbors.
We are consistently putting into practice new innovations to make the farm more productive and sustainable. Our role as a learning farm allows us to demonstrate these practices in use for local community members, students, farm apprentices and new this year, in the Newark Urban Farmer Training program. In addition, we encourage students to explore new ways to grow fresh food for the future.
Urban agriculture is essential to a community putting healthy, fresh food close to the need.
Designed for Learning
Farmer Shaun and Education and Garden Mgr., Jenna, bring the farm alive and this year there is great demand for the enriching programs. Through farm based education we create experiences that impact lifelong choices starting at the youngest ages. Farm to school lessons incorporating STEAM principles put children on a path towards healthier and greener choices. Outdoor classrooms are essential and we are so excited to have students returning to the farm and Jenna and Shaun back in the schools.
The farm sits on land belonging owned by the Morris School District, made up of 5,700 students from Pre-K to high school. 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. Grow It Green raises fund to keep this garden vibrant and ready to greet students of all ages providing unique interactive educational opportunities.
We are reaching families too as newly learned lessons and joy of tastings translate into new practices at home. Our programs are helping more families to choose their food and prepare food together. The time spent in the kitchen and around the table helps to celebrate the joy of food and lead to a lifetime of food choices that support learning, playing and working. 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.
Programs are created to be accessible and respectful of the incredible diverse community where the farm is located. For example, handouts and virtual programming includes Spanish materials 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 St. Elizabeth University assist with starting seedlings at the greenhouse on campus to grow at the farm. In addition, we are working with students to come up with new ways to feed people in a growing urban environment like the hydroponic kit project made available to 100 freshman STEM students at Morristown High School.
The farm apprenticeship program began in 2021 to grow our educational reach investigating new sustainable, growing methods, empowering underrepresented individuals to pursue farming as a viable profession.
Addressing Nutritional Inequity
Increasing access to fresh, healthy produce is an important part of our mission. Last year, we produced 30,000 lbs. on the acre and increased fresh food donations by 25% to a record 11,000 lbs. of urgently needed nutrient dense produce to our community. We donate to our respected partners who have established distribution networks, like Interfaith Food Pantry Network, nourish.NJ, Table of Hope, and Newark Science and Sustainability for their free Farm to Table shares. With your support, we can continue to grow to donate to local food banks challenged by supply chain shortages, inflation and the climate impacts of drought and flooding.
One of our programs at the farm to solve nutritional access inequity is to 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 while creating positive, fun food experiences.
In addition, we hold a weekly farm stand for the community. We welcome SNAP benefits with nutrition incentives. Over 30 varieties of produce are made available at an affordable cost through our weekly Saturday Farm Stands and Community Support Agriculture (CSA) shares. 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 incredible. Fresh food grown in healthy soil has incredible flavor and life as well as increased nutritive value.
Come Visit Us at the Farm!
There are lots of ways to get involved.
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.