Verona resident Jane Eliasof is the executive director at the Montclair Historical Society and she has let us know that the MHS is adding a garden on its property to help families on limited budgets get fresh produce.
The grounds behind the Israel Crane and Clark houses on Orange Road have become the second location for Montclair Community Farms. The MHS has cleared and fenced a 6,000-square-foot plot, with the first harvest season slated for 2013. The Montclair Community Farms Project is a youth farming program that teaches local teens how to grow and sell vegetable, and makes fresh produce available at affordable prices. The new farm at the Clark house will also be home to a dozen chickens whose eggs will be sold to local residents or donated to local group residences and soup kitchens. (Backyard chickens are legal in Montclair, but not Verona.)
The Orange Road site, home to three historic buildings, a former farm and the current drop-off location of the Montclair Food Co-op CSA, was a natural spot for the expansion of this program because it helps to reconnect with the community’s agricultural past. “This project allows us to interpret our agricultural past within today’s demands for sustainable, local and organic produce,” says Eliasof. “We are thrilled to be part of this project that both connects the community with its agricultural roots and encourages a healthier lifestyle.”
MHS and Montclair Community Farms will celebrate the launch of the new farm on Saturday, October 27 as part of Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. At that event, local restaurants are invited to participate with their own soups that are made from local, sustainable ingredients. At the “Spoon-a-thon,” visitors will partake in soup tasting and judging, tours of the Israel Crane and Nathaniel Crane houses, tours of the new farm and chicken area, story reading, live music, and more. At this time, the Montclair Historical Society is looking for local restaurants to participate at the October 27 event.