The Greater Newark Conservancy seeks to empower everyone who lives and works in and around Newark to live healthy, productive lives in harmony with nature. The Conservancy was established in 1987. Under the leadership of Sarah O’Leary, Director of Youth and Family Education, Shannon Murphy; FoodCorps Service Member, Megan Sweet; Nutrition Education Coordinator, Mark Kearney; Farm Manager and Malcolm McClain, Newark Youth Leadership Project Program Coordinator, the Conservancy has spread it’s wings throughout the Newark Community.
Some of the Conservancy’s programs and innovations are as follows:
“Hawthorne Avenue Farm and Hydroponic Greenhouse” grows Jersey Fresh produce throughout the year. The produce is sold at their youth farm stand, donated to community organizations, and used in education programs in Newark schools.
“Family Fun in the Kitchen” uses seasonal produce to bring families together for hands-on cooking.
“Youth Farm Stand” run by teens who teach customers how to pick great produce and provide recipes to the shoppers.
“Everyone Gets a Garden” distributes Jersey produce bags and eggs along with gardening materials and education weekly to neighborhood residents
“SuperHero Foods Cookbook” was developed with easy and tasty recipes containing lead-fighting ingredients like milk and broccoli. It is disseminated to families with young children, the Newark libraries, and through the Conservancy’s website.
“Thanksgiving Thank You Pie Baking Marathon” used pumpkins leftover from their school harvest festivals. More than 70 pies were distributed to teachers, administrators, community activists, librarians, and others who supported Farm to School efforts.
During the pandemic the Conservancy created recipe cards highlighting many of the fruits and vegetables found on the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program’s “Jersey Tastes!”. These recipe cards included simple recipes, cooking and growing tips, vegetable and nutrition facts, farmer bios, kids’ activities, cultural and historical facts. The cards were placed in weekly emergency food distribution bags that were distributed to thousands of seniors, families, and community groups. In 2020 and 2021 they expanded their free offerings of seeds to encourage families to engage in home gardening. The Conservancy’s Mission is to plant seeds within the community to change lives!