SOUTHAMPTON >> Rancocas Creek Farm is a new sustainable farm created by Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) to demonstrate chemical-free food production, soil conservation and habitat management on 72 acres of farmland here.
On June 22, Jeff Tober, the farm manager, and his team held the farm’s first harvest and partnered with Allies in Caring (AIC) to deliver the first 200 lbs. of summer squash, zucchini, beets, kale and Swiss Chard to Hammonton families in need.
Rancocas Creek Farm delivered the produce to Allies in Caring in Hammonton. Allies in Caring staff took bags with a selection of the produce to local families affected by COVID-19, who lost jobs and are caring for children with disabilities, or who struggle with mental health issues, and worked with El Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA-The Farmworkers Support Committee) and Migrant Worker Outreach to provide produce to farm laborers working in the region’s farm fields.
“It is good to know that the first harvest at Rancocas Creek Farm is going to families who are having a hard time putting fresh, healthy food on the table,” said Jeff Tober.
“Many families are struggling, and now more than ever, so this kind of cooperation between a local farm and social service groups who work directly with people in need is very important,” said Ivette Guillermo-McGahee, the founder and director of Allies in Caring. “We hope to work with more local farmers to make this kind of healthy food available to families regardless of their means.”
"Farmworkers are essential to our economy and way of life in Southern New Jersey, but most of us do not know the people who do this labor on our behalf, or the challenges they face. This kind of collaboration is important to support low-income workers and their families, many who are struggling with lost income and working in industries where they are particularly vulnerable," stated Kathia Ramirez, CATA’s Food Justice Coordinator.
This project is part of the work that Allies in Caring, Pinelands Preservation Alliance and CATA do as members of the Hammonton Health Coalition, a partnership of agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals working to improve the physical and emotional health of Hammonton residents by ensuring all segments of the community have access to the services, activities and opportunities Hammonton has to offer. For more information about the Hammonton Health Coalition, go to www.hammontonhealthcoalition.org.
Rancocas Creek Farm is a project of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, a nonprofit charitable organization, based in Southampton, that is devoted to preserving the natural and historic resources of the New Jersey Pinelands. For more information, go to www.pinelandsalliance.org.
Allies in Caring is a charitable organization devoted to helping under-served individuals who have emotional and behavioral problems move toward recovery, health, and greater independence through culturally affirmative and linguistically appropriate services, including counseling, education, and community support. For more information, go to www.alliesincaring.org.
CATA - The Farmworkers Support Committee/El Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolas, is a non-profit grassroots organization founded by migrant farmworkers in 1979 that works with the Latino immigrant community in New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and along the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland on issues on workers' rights, immigrant rights, and food justice. For more information, go to www.cata-farmworkers.org.
Migrant Worker Outreach is a group of volunteers dedicated to welcoming migrant workers during the blueberry harvest. For more information, go to www.migrantworkeroutreach.org.
Farms interested in participating should contact the Hammonton Health Coalition via Carleton Montgomery at 609-304-9902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.