HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – More than 500 Duke Farms Community gardeners and farmers affiliated with the environmental learning center and nature preserve have donated six tons of food to area food pantries and nutrition programs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Duke Farms pivoted their farming and community garden operations in response to immense local food insecurity experienced by New Jersey residents.

Typically, the beef and vegetable farming program supplied the café in the Visitors' Center with high quality, sustainably-grown food. Seeing the increased demand on food banks in the local community was a deciding factor for the non-profit organization to donate the farm to fork café food to area soup kitchens.

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In partnership with this effort, the Duke Farms Community Garden, comprised of over 500 Somerset County residents, expanded a preexisting and robust volunteer giving program, donating 6,300 pounds of fruits and vegetables to food banks and soup kitchens.

Between the two arms of the donation programs, the following totals in addition to the fruits and vegetables were delivered to Feeding Hands throughout Somerset County, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Jewish Family Services in Bridgewater, Holy Trinity Church in Bridgewater, St. Ann’s Church in Raritan, Hillsborough Township Food Bank, Pentecostal Church in Somerville, and the Bound Brook School District:

- 4,200 pounds farm produce;

- 2,000 pounds of beef;

- 1,080 dozen eggs;

State Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16, recently presented a joint Senate/Assembly proclamation to Margaret Waldock, Duke Farms executive director, recognizing the efforts of the gardeners and farmers.

“Duke Farms’ farmers and our community gardeners are helping feed those in our community without   access to fresh, healthy food, a gap that has grown wider with this pandemic,” Waldock said. “We are honored to help and find hope and inspiration from the land and each other during these difficult times.”

Duke Farms is a leader in environmental stewardship and inspires visitors to become informed stewards of the land. It is a place of education, enjoyment and research that enhances the environmental health of the region. Through the beauty of its natural setting, the diversity of its wildlife, and the scope and quality of its educational programs, demonstrations, and research, Duke Farms inspires people to adopt the attitude of stewardship, protect the earth, and start building a more sustainable future.