Operation Cleanup – Love your neighborhood and your city!
Please join our community partners at Newark SAS on Saturday, April 25, 2015 for a neighborhood cleanup celebration in honor of Earth Day! Nobody likes to live in an area filled with trash and all types of pollution so this year we’re collaborating with local communities, faith institutions and businesses to make our neighborhoods happier, cleaner places!
You can lend a helping hand by volunteering, spreading the word, or donating supplies or light refreshments as a means to support the beautification of your neighborhood. We are inviting all residents to either help organize a cleanup in their own neighborhood or join a group at a location listed below. Events will run from 10am to 2pm.
Be the change you want to see in the world, and bring a friend or family member with you.
Alnisa Miller, Organizer 973.391.3961 email@example.com
Brenda Anderson, Office of Recycling 973.733.3861 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tobias A. Fox, Organizer 646.399.0337 email@example.com
Meeting location: 385 South Orange Ave.
Angie Smith, Organizer 973.280.4049 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting Location: Orange Public Library, 348 Main St.
Najah Amatul–Ali 973.234.3635 or email@example.com
Royston Allman 973.380.7238
The Jersey Explorer Children’s Museum, 192 Dodd Street
Masjid As-Habul Yameen, 224 N. 18th Street
The SWAG Project farm team is excited to offer various seasonal internship opportunities this growing season to students and community members interested in taking an initial step into the world of urban farming and community development. Please see the list below and attached descriptions.
– Communications + Social Media Intern: Communications Internship_SWAG 2015
– Market + Farm Intern: Farm and Market Internship_SWAG 2015
– Community Outreach + Volunteer Coordinator: Community Outreach Coordinator_SWAG 2015
Please review the description and send a resume and cover letter with the heading ‘Position Name – Your Name’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
Although the opportunities are unpaid positions, these experiences will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of key issues in our food system and their relationship to urban agriculture, helping interns to develop and hone the necessary skills and knowledge required for employment in the non-profit, community development and food system sectors. We will work with any student’s academic institution to assist the individual in receiving college credit if possible, or pay a small stipend for transportation costs.
Thanks to all of you dear friends, family and partners who donated yesterday to help SWAG Project create stronger communities through food. Because of you we raised over $700 in donations yesterday alone.
This pushed us past our halfway mark of $3000! Please continue to share our fundraiser throughout the next month. We have until the end of March to make our total goal of $6k to fund sustainability and the 2015 season at SWAG. Funding this year will go to supporting new sustainability interns, creation of a new composting program and the construction of a new greenhouse!
And if you haven’t already, PLEASE Donate to the project – $25, $50, $100 – any amount helps continue our food justice and community development efforts in Newark and beyond! To donate, follow this link: http://bit.ly/SWAG_IOBY #fundSWAG
Last year, SWAG Project was chosen by ioby as one of their 2014 Hero projects. This lovely video, made by Good Eye Video, gives an overview of our community development and local food project and it’s goals. We are incredibly thankful to ioby for highlighting our work, for helping us raise funds to continue making our neighborhood a more livable and lively place, and for making us a part of the creation of this short film. Were also incredibly thankful to all the local community members and partners who have made SWAG what it is!
Below is the blog published by ioby as part of the ‘Hero’ highlight, we hope you enjoy!
And please remember to support sustainability at SWAG through this years ioby fundraiser here.
Last year, we started cooking up a video series designed to feature some of the real heroes of the ioby community – projects and leaders we wanted to set squarely in the limelight, and hold up as role models and as inspiration. Among those we featured was SWAG of Newark: a thriving urban community farm that today educates around 700 local students per year, sells wonderful fresh produce at its own market, and has become a source of great pride and pleasure in the South Ward of Newark. The farm has even served as a wonderful resource for the unemployed or underemployed who seek a creative, confidence-building, social outlet while they search for new work.
In fact, so much has happened at SWAG since the video went into production – not least of all their latest ioby campaign, to which you can still donate here – that we wanted to accompany the video’s release with a little update. Here’s where they are now:
The last year has seen SWAG delve deeper than ever into an analysis of what sustainability means for the farm, and for the South Ward community. Becoming sustainable with a capital “S” will mean closing loops on environmental impact, on financial self-reliance, and in terms of community leadership. SWAG co-founder Alexandra Payne is thrilled about the developments on all three.
“In a lot of smaller communities that are poor communities,” says Payne, “you see these big ups and downs in how well projects work based on funding or based on how well things are going in the city or based on these small pots of money that are available. What this sustainability project is partially about doing is making it possible for the farm to continue its basic operations without having to worry about that. So without having to worry about issues like where will our seed money come from every year, or can we afford to buy seedlings and supplies, or can we afford that outside organic fertilizer, or can we afford to pay the neighbor for water? Can we afford local interns?”
How will SWAG close those loops? Well, first, they’ll make their own soil, for free. Plans are in the works for two huge new compost bins will turn organic farm waste into fresh soil for next year. “For a quarter-acre farm,” says Payne, “you do need a decent amount of soil additives to keep soil healthy, and we prefer not to buy those, not have them all be purchased cow manure or mushroom compost. We prefer to make them because you get a better mix of components, and because it means that we can do it right on farm and have more of a closed loop.” Second, a hoop-house for germinating seedlings will go up in the fall, so that SWAG won’t have to look to expensive nurseries at the start of each growing season. Taken together, these two new initiatives will mean greater security through the unpredictable ebbs and flows of external funding.
Another hugely important part of SWAG’s vision for its sustainable future is that they be able to afford to pay local interns. Some of the interns they’ve had have come back year after year, both shaping the project and being shaped by it – even choosing college majors according to new passions they discovered on the farm. “It’s really great for us to have interns who can really run small pieces of the project,” says Payne, “and who feel comfortable leading the classes and who when they’re at the market can talk to people about ‘this is why we’re doing this and these are our goals’ and who can really start to internalize that and see the project as their own.”
But Payne and the SWAG Team don’t want those dedicated interns to have to choose between the farm and earning money. Starting with their current ioby campaign and moving forward, she plans to offer interns a stipend, as well as lunches and travel reimbursements. “We really want to invest in interns from the local community,” she says.
As part of that transition toward even stronger community-directed leadership, Payne would like to see volunteer numbers going up, so that each person takes on fewer hours. “Like a co-op,” she says, so that the joy of the work spreads further, but the burden for each person is lighter, reducing burnout.
Meanwhile, an exciting transition is afoot at the farm. Payne and her team are readying the farm for a passing of the baton, in terms of leadership. SWAG belongs, she says, to the South Ward community, and that is where its future leaders will be found. “We’re there to give some direction and help raise funds and help people dream about what the farm could be, and in the future I’d love to step back and have a group of residents and students who’ve been there really take the day to day reigns of the project,” Payne says.
She and her team plan to step back a bit, starting this spring – very slowly and consciously, of course – and she’s excited to start talking about where the first satellite projects might pop up. They already have small satellites in Baltimore and outside of Philly, and want to continue to expand in the model of SWAG. “I don’t think we ever see ourselves not being a part of those projects; I just think it’s important at a community level to have them be very community directed. So once it’s stable and on its feet, that’s what I see happening.”
To support SWAG during this time of innovation and transition, and to learn more about the farm’s new initiatives, click here.
To view the original article, click here