Capital City Farm Takes Shape

 

Right in the middle of Trenton, at the end of Escher Street, tucked behind the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), the Capital City Farm project is underway. Right now, young tomato and cucumber plants bejeweled with tiny yellow flowers are popping up from rows and rows of well-tended mounds of mulch practically as far as the eye can see.

The urban farm’s enchanting expanse was brought to life by a coalition of community organizations and public agencies last year. Their goal is to increase Trenton residents’ access to fresh food and wellness education and bring beauty to the city. At full function, the Capital City Farm will produce an estimated 10,000 lbs of fresh food.  This fall will be its very first harvest.

If you think you and the children just might dig a visit to the award-winning Capital City Farm, come on by this summer.  The farm is open to visitors Tuesday–Friday, and to volunteers Tuesday–Thursday. People can work while they learn or just learn as they “vegg” and watch other people work. Once a week, there are learning lunches as well as a health and wellness discussion circle. And the second Saturday of each month through November is Farm Field Day. It is set aside for farm fun in the sun — activities for all ages and fresh produce to take home. For this month’s session, attendees painted tires to transform them into colorful planters that now decorate the entryway to the farm.

The Capital City Farm is an exciting place to be. Standing sentry are two imposing rain barrels that feed the irrigation system, an enormous pile of mulch awaiting volunteers with wheelbarrows and pitchforks, and a 2,300 sq. ft. greenhouse that shelters tender, bright-green shoots of dozens of types of vegetables, from arugula to zucchini. Wildflowers and grasses inhabit half of the acreage — a pollinating meadow that promotes natural growth and supports migrating bees, birds, and butterflies. At the far corner of the garden, bees dart in and out of two white beehives, bent on their mission. Near the beehives sits the compost pile, the ready recipient of TASK’s vegetable scraps.

“The Trenton Health Team reports that the City of Trenton is considered a ‘food desert’, meaning city residents have little to no ready access to fresh, nutritious, affordable food,” explained Dennis Micai, TASK Executive Director. “The farm can help provide fresh, healthy produce and deliver wellness education.”

D&R Greenway Land Trust led the land acquisition and development, setting the stage for the project to flourish.  “It has been our hope all along that this property would turn into a place that will grow local, healthy food for people, while at the same time establishing a place of beauty and tranquility to support TASK and the other social service agencies working along Escher Street,” said Linda J. Mead, President & CEO.

New Jersey Future has already taken notice. Last month, it presented the Capital City Farm with its Smart Growth Award, recognizing it as one of the “best examples of sustainable growth in the state.”

For more information about participating in activities at the farm, click here or call (609) 250-2573 or email capitalcityfarm@drgreenway.org.

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