NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced Aug. 30 the 14 recipient organizations that will receive funding from the Nourishing Newark Community Grants Program. The city of Newark is investing $2 million to support community-based organizations to combat hunger and food insecurity resulting from and worsened by the adverse economic impacts related to COVID-19. With the great disruptions to the global economy, many low-income Newark families are experiencing a greater degree of food insecurity than ever before. The Nourishing Newark Community Grants Program seeks to spur the creation and expansion of sustainable urban food cooperatives, and other community-based healthy food distribution channels.
“Fourteen highly deserving Newark community organizations are receiving $2 million in grants to advance urban agriculture and increase our community’s food self-sufficiency,” Baraka said. “These grants will make a major difference in the lives of residents, improving their well-being by ending food deserts, creating community gardens that provide fresh, healthy food to families in need, and strengthening neighborhood economies. I congratulate each organization on earning this grant award. They will keep moving Newark forward.”
This program aligns with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Food Desert Relief Program, which is designed around the central purpose of eradicating food deserts. A “food desert” is a geographical area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. In developing its programmatic focus, the NJEDA has determined that a large portion of the city of Newark is considered a “food desert.”
Grant recipients are: Better Tomorrows, $25,000; City Green Inc., $65,000; Clinton Hill Community Action, $350,000; Go Green Initiative at West Side and Central high schools, $10,000; Greater Newark Conservancy, $150,000; La Casa de Don Pedro, $200,000; Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity, $150,000; Morning Glory Community Garden–Newark, $7,500 plus in-kind services courtesy of the Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities; Newark Science and Sustainability Inc. and Urban Agriculture Cooperative, $200,000; Project U.S.E., $150,000; The Trust for Public Land, $120,000; United Community Corp., $135,000; University Hospital, $137,000; and Urban League of Essex County and AMPERE Civic Improvement Association, $100,000.
Clinton Hill will use its grant to create a “‘Nourish to Flourish’ From Desert to Food Oasis” farmer’s market, the first resident-run food co-op in the South Ward.
“No one should go to bed hungry or be forced to eat unhealthy food because they cannot afford or get access to it. Nourishing Newark will help us move the city from being a food desert to a food oasis. Our ‘pay what you can afford’ food co-op will serve as a model for giving everyday residents the tools and know-how to solve long-standing community challenges,” Clinton Hill Community Action Executive Director Khaatim Sherrer El said.
Project U.S.E. funds will go to its “Newark Healthy Food Access and Empowerment Project,” which will provide education, networking and collaboration, gardening skills workshops, and food distribution to expand healthy food access and empowerment for community residents.
“Project U.S.E.’s existing work in the city of Newark to expose young Newark residents to gardening and healthy food access will be greatly expanded thanks to the Nourishing Newark grant project,” said Jeffrey Key, director of operations for Project U.S.E. “In particular, we are looking forward to both expanding our garden space, which will allow us to grow more produce, and having the resources to provide year-round employment opportunities to more youth in Newark, who will help increase the number of residents with access to free or affordable healthy food choices.”
The American Rescue Plan is the source of funds for this initial round of community grant funds. Awards under this round range from $10,000 to $350,000 to Newark organizations and coalitions. The program is administered by the city’s office of sustainability.