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Elijah’s Promise to Celebrate Earth Day Weekend, April 21 & 22

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NEW BRUNSWICK – Elijah’s Promise will bring a weekend of outdoor music, food and fun to New Brunswick, April 21 and 22, with an Earth Day Fest at Promise Garden on Tabernacle Way and the spring opening of the new Esperanza Mercado on Joyce Kilmer Avenue.

The Earth Day Fest at Promise Garden (across from 52 Tabernacle Way) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, will feature live music, garden workshops, food, fitness classes and an interfaith seed blessing by GreenFaith. The event is also a venue for the month-long Hub City Music Festival now taking place at different locations throughout the city. Music will be provided The Magnolia Rounders, Black Circle Symphony and Anthony Carrera. The fest is free and open to the public.

Mercado Esperanza, a new collaborative community project at Joyce Kilmer Park (143 Joyce Kilmer Ave.) featuring vendors and local entrepreneurs, artists and musicians will have its spring opening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, in conjunction with Ciclovia New Brunswick, which closes streets to vehicular traffic to promote community recreation. Mercado Esperanza takes place in Joyce Kilmer Park at Joyce Kilmer Avenue and Comstock Street.

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The “Mercado,” or “market,” is operated collaboratively by Elijah’s Promise, New Brunswick Tomorrow, and coLAB Arts with funding from a Kresge Foundation FreshLo Grant and the New Jersey Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. The Mercado is an outdoor marketplace that promotes economic development and other community goals, using food as a creative platform for neighborhood revitalization. It will be held monthly at the park during the spring and summer.

With the mission of incubating small food and merchant businesses, the Mercado connects residents to commercial kitchens and culinary expertise at the Promise Culinary School and also offers a venue for culinary students and graduates to develop their own small food businesses. Further, the project brings Rising Tide Capital’s Community Business Academy (CBA) to New Brunswick to offer their successful entrepreneurial training program bilingually to New Brunswick residents, culinary students, and Mercado vendors. The next CBA English Class will begin April 23 at 211 Livingston Avenue. For more information, go to https://www.risingtidecapital.org/

Over the last decade, Elijah’s Promise has developed Promise Agriculture into a successful program that provides garden space to residences, produces food for the community, provides pollination and honey for our city and diverts food waste to create nutrient-rich compost.

Equally important, the sites leverage the process of production to engage and educate residents on growing their own food and utilizing urban agriculture practices. During the 2018 growing season, Promise Agriculture projects growing between 750 to1,000 pounds of fresh produce to source to the Community Soup Kitchen, while engaging 350 to 450 residents and volunteers through events, workdays and workshops.

Promise Garden promotes sustainable urban agriculture in the heart of New Brunswick, providing critical space for residents to grow their own food and demonstrating a variety of small-scale, intensive food-production methods. It operates through a land-use partnership with the United Methodist Church of New Brunswick. Local residents rent the 50 raised beds to grow their own produce and flowers.

The garden also includes an apiculture project with two honey-producing hives, a fruit- and nut- tree orchard growing hazelnuts, apples, blueberries and raspberries, and a compost project that diverts more than 10,000 pounds of plant-based food waste from Elijah’s Promise’s culinary operations.

The garden serves as an outdoor classroom for New Brunswick Public School students who participate in the Let’s Cook for Kids program each summer, and also hosts a number of outdoor events throughout the growing season.

For more information about the Mercado Esperanza, Promise Garden and other programs of Elijah’s Promise, go to http://elijahspromise.org/promise-programs/.

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