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The Farm Eco-Center

The Farm Eco-Center

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The City Green Farm Eco-Center is a five-acre site located on Grove Street in Clifton, New Jersey. In 2005, with the additional support of Passaic County Open Space funding and New Jersey Green Acres funding, the city of Clifton permanently preserved this land, formerly known as Schultheis Farm, to remain as green, open space forever. City Green leased the property in 2011 and has since transformed it into a hub of agricultural and environmental education and recreation.

 

Today, in addition to several acres of organic food production, the Farm Eco-Center boasts, a Learning Farm, chickens, goats, beehives, a greenhouse, and an outdoor kitchen, in addition to City Green’s offices housed in the original farmhouse on the property. City Green uses the site to host field trips, job and volunteer opportunities, farm stands, family programs, educational programs, and a wide range of events. The Farm Eco-Center is the heart of City Green. It is a model in sustainable community agriculture and urban farming, and a vibrant, living example of land production in harmony with the ecosystem.

The City Green Learning Farm is a hub of agricultural and environmental education and recreation. We host summer Farm Camp, school field trips, adult educational programming, and recreational events in The Learning Farm.  

 

All of the perennial flowers in The Learning Farm are native to New Jersey, ensuring a wild variety of birds, insects, butterflies and bees! These beneficial insects also act as pollinators for our food production, and help manage pests.

 

Visitors to The Learning Farm gain access to this beautiful natural habitat for plants and wildlife, as well as experiential learning, job and volunteer opportunities, cultural events, and the demonstration of a sustainable farming operation.

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City Green’s urban farms are the heart of the organization and consist of two separate food production farms: the City Green Farm Eco-Center in Clifton, and the Learning Garden in Eastside Park in Paterson. City Green grows over 75 varieties of vegetables and herbs that are not only culturally appropriate for the communities they serve, but healthy, local, and delicious as well. Each farm adheres to organic growing practices to ensure healthy soil, healthy farm workers, and a healthy habitat for wildlife.  Farming methods include crop rotation, cover cropping, natural pest management, hand weeding, and planting disease-resistant crop varieties.  

 

The produce grown at City Green’s farms is distributed to the local community through a network of farmer’s markets and location-specific deliveries via the “Veggie Mobile,” with a goal of providing access to local farm-fresh food along with meaningful job and volunteer opportunities in an agricultural setting. But the importance of City Green’s farms goes far beyond its bountiful harvests. Through interaction with the farm operation, individuals are able to create a connection to their food, understand the value and importance of open space, gain an appreciation for nature and local agriculture, and understand the potential of urban farming in revitalizing urban areas and improving public health in local communities. City Green Farms help ensure that farmland remains and important and productive part of the northern New Jersey landscape.

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The Learning Garden

The City Green Learning Garden is located at Eastside Park in Paterson. The one and a half-acre site was originally built by City Green in 2008 with the help of the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and Paterson middle school students!

 

In addition to food production, it serves 1,000 children each year who attend field trips, summer garden camp, and the fall Harvest Festival, which attracts 500 visitors annually. It is also home to the annual “Greenest Place in Paterson” Garden Contest, which recognizes local Paterson gardeners efforts to beautify their city and produce local food.

The Learning Garden was recently updated with the help of grant funding to include a new fence with underground wire to keep out persistent groundhogs, a pavilion covered in honeysuckle and grapevines to provide a cool shade for visitors, an educational fruit orchard comprised of 30 apple trees, a harvest station, a compost station and other fun features like a corn maze, three sisters garden, potato hill and a small edible forest.

 

The Learning Garden is proof that even the most urban places like Paterson can support beautiful open spaces for the community to enjoy. With native trees, shrubs and perennials that attract local wildlife, it has grown into a thriving natural space that has come to symbolize City Green’s commitment to the Paterson community.

South Branch Preserve

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The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has preserved a large tract of land in Mt. Olive, of which 12 acres is being farmed by City Green for organic food cultivation as part of its original use. Plans include 10 acres of vegetable production, a berry and fruit orchard, pollinator borders, beehives, and more. 

 

This project represents an innovative partnership between land conservancy and food production – it is a unique opportunity where these two inter-related fields come together in support of open space and community benefit.  Not only will the new farm support increased access to and affordability of local food for low-income families in Morris County, but it will ensure that the entire parcel of land remains open for public enjoyment. This exciting new initiative helps keep the garden in "Garden State" while, ensuring that farmland in New Jersey remains an important and productive part of the landscape.

City Green In the Community

At the core of City Green’s mission of  “Growing Healthy Cities” is a constantly expanding network of school and community gardens across north Jersey. This network began back in 2005 with City Green’s very first community project, the Women of Faith Garden Community Garden on East 27th Street in Paterson. Since then, City Green has grown tremendously, with over 100 school garden partners in 9 counties; over 75 community gardens throughout Passaic County; a dozen horticultural therapy projects; and seven “City Sprout” children's gardens.

 

City Green partners with schools, churches, community organizations, and local residents to identify potential garden locations and transform them into thriving green, productive spaces. From empty lots and forgotten corners to city parks and public schools, City Green provides the training, leadership, and resources to transform any space into a vibrant garden.

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