Allies Farm Program – Project Grow
Project Grow, located on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College, is an innovative farming initiative developed by Allies four years ago that continues to thrive.
It’s a program designed to provide individuals with disabilities an opportunity to receive employment training, horticultural therapy and nutritional education in a healthy and productive environment.
Project Grow emphasizes creating positive relationships, learning generalized employment skills, and gaining a greater sense of self-reliance while experiencing job training in the farming industry.
The program participants learn how to manage a fully operational farm starting with preparing the soil to harvesting and distributing the crops.
Each year, a bountiful harvest of vegetables, herbs and flowers are produced which are then made available for sale in local communities or donated for use in homes supported by Allies. Proceeds from sales go back into the program to help purchase supplies for the next season.
“I have never worked at a garden farm before and I like coming here. I like getting fresh air, learning about growing vegetables and it’s peaceful.” says Kenny Hauser, program participant.
Plans are being made to prepare the land for next season and because no chemicals are used on the farm since the inception of the program, it is eligible for organic designation in the upcoming year.
Project Grow is made possible through strong community partnerships between Allies, Mercer County Community College DREAMS Program, The Arc Mercer, Verve Restaurant in Somerville, NJ and The Somerville Farmer’s Market.
Many volunteers come from the corporate and private sectors along with donations from local individuals and wholesale nurseries.
For more information about Project Grow, please contact Beth Carey or call her at 609.689-0136 x147.