During the 2013 farmers’ market season, the Nourishing Newark Farmers Market Initiative promoted the markets as additional locations for fresh food access in Newark. In August, market coordinators, a community health worker, and the City of Newark’s Office of Sustainability’s food policy student interns set up an information tent at each maket. In August and October they conducted a total of 457 surveys to capture market satisfaction and wellness surveys. The analysis of the survey results are combined into reports that provide market operators and managers feedback on the success their markets. You can find the reports here. This slide show summarizes the information we gleaned from the surveys, our price collection project, and our information tent records.
The City of Newark’s Adopt-A-Lot program is a terrific way to meet neighbors and get members of the community engaged in taking care of our city. Since 1984, residents, neighborhood/block organizations and non-profit organizations in the community have been committed to caring for city-owned land in their neighborhood. Residents take care of nearby properties by mowing the grass, planting flowers and even starting gardens. These volunteers not only green and beautify the neighborhood, their care for these lots create bonds between residents while creating a healthy community.
Here are some of the reasons lots are adopted:
- To improve the appearance of the neighborhood and possibly deter illegal activity
- To create a public space for gatherings, rest, recreation outdoors
- To increase property values
- To have space to grow food for friends, family, seniors, a local pantry, a school
In 2007 there were only 11 adopted lots that were part of the City’s Adopt-A-Lot program. Under Carol Harris’ management, the number of lots more than doubled to 32 in 2009. Later, the program was also enhanced when the Greater Newark Conservancy became a partner by adopting 24 lots to create community gardens on city-owned properties, providing soil and supplies to lessees for nominal fees, and offering gardening workshops for a fee at their location in the Central Ward. Four years later in 2013, the number of lots has increased to 98 lots which comprise 9.5 acres of total land.
Take a look at photos from our 2013 album of adopted lots, leave comments, or add your own!
It is well-documented that green spaces in urban neighborhoods make neighborhood residents feel safer and may be associated with reductions in certain gun crimes. In a recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania,results show that residents living near greened vacant lots feel safer than those near non-greened sites. The report also documented significant before-and-after reductions in gun assaults around vacant lots that were greened compared with those which were not. Moreover, another recently published longitudinal study on the effect of green spaces on mental health suggests that improved mental health and public health benefits occur where environmental policies support urban green spaces.
If you are interested in visiting an adopted lot or finding one near you check out this Google Map:
For more information on adopting a lot, please contact Adopt-A-Lot manager Carol Harris at (973) 733-3631 and click here to review the Adopt-A-Lot lease.
Interested in growing food in 4×8 beds alongside other gardeners in the community? If you are, sign up for the Greater Newark Conservancy’s Plot-It-Fresh Program. Read about it here: Plot it Fresh Overview .
Through the program gardeners can “adopt” garden plots in city-owned lots managed by the Greater Newark Conservancy. Last year over 50 beginning and experienced gardeners enjoyed the Plot-It-Fresh program because it offers the social benefits of community gardening plus the technical assistance of the Greater Newark Conservancy’s Community Greening staff. You can grow your own fresh food, receive free onsite workshops, get discounted prices on special events, supplies, and plants offered by the Conservancy for $10/year.
The Plot-It-Fresh program is also an great way to experience managing a garden before considering to lease a lot through the City of Newark’s Adopt-A-Lot program. See the map below for locations nearest you. Call Justin at the Greater Newark Conservancy (973) 642-4646 to adopt your garden plot for the 2014 season.