Fresh Roots Farm
Welcome to the MEVO Fresh Roots Farm, a two-acre community based educational farm, located within the preserved forests of Campgaw Mountain Reservation in Mahwah, NJ. The Fresh Roots Farm is a community built and managed productive agricultural operation which contains a permaculture food forest, sixteen bee hive apiary, one acre raised bed fruits and vegetable market garden, large scale compost space, a 4 season greenhouse and refrigerator built out of 80% recycled materials, and a reused and recycled bulk material storage and tool area. Our farm is located on County of Bergen park land and is a project in partnership with the County of Bergen and signed on by the County Executive, Board of Chosen Freeholders, and Bergen County Parks Department. It is an outstanding demonstration of partnership between the not-for-profit and government sectors in support of the important mission of creating a more sustainable community and future. This farm opens up the door to similar environmental projects and shows a tangible model for replication throughout the state and country. Our Fresh Roots Farm program serves people of all ages and economic backgrounds and we are working to meet the needs of the local community. We offer affordable environmental education programs which teach students about sustainability and local food. We volunteer at the farm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday (10:00am – 4:00pm) come visit us!
The unique features of Fresh Roots Farm are that the design draws upon permaculture principles in order to work alongside natural systems, minimize waste, and encourage sustainable development. One of the design features which Fresh Roots Farm utilizes includes swales. Swales are large trenches which were dug on contour to follow the existing shape of the land and trap rainwater runoff flowing downhill. This system minimizes water loss, prevents erosion, and encourages stronger root formation in our plants. In addition, the wood chips within the swales encourage the growth of beneficial fungi and bacteria as they break down, adding fertility to the adjacent garden beds. Our swale and berm raised bed design has been so successful we have been able to grow our 1 acre market garden with no formal irrigation system only using a lawn sprinkler on occasion to support just a few needy plants throughout the season. This water conservation focused farming is very different than most conventional farming styles that usually required irrigation at a minimum of twice a week. Fresh Roots Farm also contains an edible, “food forest,” which incorporates different layers of food producing plants, with a canopy, understory, and ground cover which replicate a natural forest system. By employing these permaculture principles, along with others, Fresh Roots Farm works alongside, rather than against natural systems.
Our Fresh Roots Farm is working to create solutions to major global environmental issues associated with food production and sustainability. The local farming strategies and techniques we are using can be easily replicated in other communities across the region and country. We believe that by addressing the root causes of issues we can create an alternative which will lead our community in the direction of a more sustainable future. On a global scale, Fresh Roots Farm addresses issues of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss resulting from the current unsustainable industrialized monoculture system of agriculture through which most of the food within the United States is produced. This high-input system is a large strain on our natural resources, is linked with vast amounts of water consumption, and pollutes the environment and its inhabitants through the use of toxic pesticides. Fresh Roots Farm represents an alternative sustainable method of farming, while simultaneously encouraging community empowerment.
On the local level, one of the root problems which we are addressing is the lack of community access to sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. In 2017 we will begin a Community Supported Agriculture program which would link Fresh Roots Farm with community members and provide a source of sustainably grown produce for local families. Fresh Roots Farm’s CSA will encourage community connection and involvement while simultaneously providing the opportunity to outreach to members of the local community and educate them about sustainability and the benefits of small scale agriculture.
The Farm Crew is made up of people who are passionate, friendly, and independent thinkers who want hands on skills in organic farming, beekeeping, and to learn the principles of community based suburban agriculture. This crew builds on a four year legacy of sustainable food activism and education by empowering and training environmental leaders with a focus in engaging with our local and regional food system.
Check out our volunteer and internship opportunities!