New Year, New Beginnings

A new year inspires us to take stock on what was accomplished (or not) the previous year and allows us to dream about where the new year will take us. It’s another chance to get things right, to think of ways to do better and to correct mistakes of the past.

The Montclair Let’s Grow grant was implemented in 2018 with the intent that community gardens would be made available to residents, workshops about how to grow, harvest, prepare and preserve produce would be provided, and bicycle repair stations would be installed at two sites popular with commuters and/or shoppers to encourage pedaling. The Montclair grant team accomplished much of what we set out to do, but we were not without our challenges.

The Montclair Community Farm staff and Master Gardeners (specifically Chrystine Gaffney) are the stars in our show. Workshops were held monthly on topics ranging from container gardening, composting, seed saving, preserving your harvest and putting the garden to bed. Community garden beds and accompanying support were made available for folks who did not have the property or knowledge to grow fresh food on their own. Produce was sold through our Mobile Farm Stand to older adults at affordable prices and made available to Healthy Corner Store participants. People who gardened, attended the workshop, or received fresh produce were appreciative and gave positive feedback.

However, we had some major setbacks. Imagine how frustrating it is to have 25 people register for a workshop and only three actually show up. And, even though progress has been made in our efforts to install the bike repair stations, they are still in boxes in our office. Our main focus in 2019 is making sure residents are aware of our efforts and increasing participation in the various programs. An exciting lineup of new monthly workshops is being promoted. We WILL have the bike repair stations installed, and plan on scheduling a ribbon cutting event and workshop to show folks how to use it.

Just like those now dormant plants hunkered underground on this frigid day, we are poised to burst forth with renewed energy and purpose. Let’s Grow Montclair! We are ready for you.

Montclair Community Farm's mission is to serve as a local hands on resource that engages and educates the community through urban farming, affordable food access and healthy living. At the heart of Montclair Community Farms is its coalition, partners and community volunteers.