Middlesex County News

Giamarese Farms and Farmers Against Hunger Grow Food for Those in Need

7a452c28be518fcb9205_DSCN3405.jpg
Volunteer planters join Elyse from Farmers Against Hugder at Giamarese Farm. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
783715792c1f8cf9077e_DSCN3404.jpg
No joke - hard work! Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
20c58b874e2a46afd311_DSCN3407.jpg
Diane from the Crisis Room joins Aurelin and Joanna from PRAB at the farm. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
43653818c9ea889803b2_DSCN3408.jpg
Going back for some more veggies at Giamarese Farm. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
bf7782e96d7627e70126_DSCN3411.jpg
The team from Forester Financial digs farming. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
47a864e8bfa031fbcf39_DSCN3414.jpg
The whole group was full of spirit and energy to do good for others. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
506ef008377c251883d3_DSCN3417.jpg
Filling the rows. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
c20409bb914f889ca5b3_DSCN3418.jpg
Elyse and Yolanda talk farming Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
067e3210c4c9ee67ec93_DSCN3419.jpg
Just when you think the job is over, there's more to go. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
7a452c28be518fcb9205_DSCN3405.jpg

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a hot Friday morning before Memorial Day, volunteers were hard at work planting eggplant, tomatoes, beans and other veggies here in East Brunswick as part of an initiative by the activist group Farmers Against Hunger.  The plot on Fresh Ponds Road was donated by Jim Giamarese, and the labor was provided by corporate volunteers and local farmers.  The purpose was to support MCFOODS, the Middlesex County Food Bank, in their effort to supply fresh, local produce to those in need in New Jersey.

This is the first time that Farmers against Hunger had actually grown food at Giamarese Farm, though the group has participated in gleanings  for several years at the location, often with the assistance of Rutgers students. Gleaning is a farming practice with ancient roots in which farmers would leave an area, often the four corners of a crop, unharvested so that the poor of the surrounding area could gather some fruits and vegetables to feed themselves and their families. Gleaning is an act of charity, a tzedakah, a good deed. Late harvest gleaning at Giamarese Farms was organized by Rutgers University to provide fresh greens and fruits to local food banks and soup kitchens like Elijah's Promise or the Franklin Food Bank.

This time, however, Farmers Against Hunger, under the guidance of Elyse Yerrapathruni were starting from the beginning by planting young vegetable plants that will be tended later on by more volunteers and gleaned when ready.  Executive Director of the Crisis Room at Aldersgate Methodist Church of East Brunswick Diane Hutchins was there, busily giving some new eggplants someplace to grow.  "The Crisis Room is happy to have all the produce that comes to us through MCFOODS.  I am glad to help," she said.

Sign Up for E-News

Pre-school Family Workers from the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) in New Brunswick Aurelin Alvarez and Joanna Crespo took a "volunteer day" from work to help out at the farm.  So did Bala Vellalapalayam Sathyamoothy from the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch corporate office in Pennington.  Adding to the planters were a happy team from Forester's Financial  in Edison.  Rounding out the group was Yolanda Jackson, a hydroponic farmer from Burlington County.

Moving forward, volunteers are still necessary to sustain the project.  MCFOODS has already reached out to Boy Scouts of America Troop #223 of East Brunswick to help keep the growing going.  Says troop representative Jesseria Lovelace, "Thanks to the generosity of farmer Jim Giamarese, they now have their own small Farmers Against Hunger plot at Giamarese Farm this season. All of the crops harvested from the plot this summer will be donated to local hunger relief agencies. Due to the wonderful relationship we have formed with the MCFOODS team, they asked if the Boy Scouts would be willing to help from time to time. And of course, I shared we would love to help our community continue their fight against hunger."

Interested farmers and gleaners can also contact Farmers Against Hunger and volunteer to help in the process of moving food to those who need it. NJ Farmers Against Hunger uses the help of more than 1,200 volunteers annually ​to glean fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, reducing food waste and providing nutritious meals to community organizations serving those in need.

Jim Giamarese was a founding member of Farmers Against Hunger (FAH,) which was started in 1996 as a way to enable farmers throughout New Jersey to contribute their extra produce to those in need.  Transportation of the produce was the most challenging part for busy farmers, especially at harvest time. When farmers are in the midst of growing and harvesting, there is little time to have employees truck produce to a non-paying destination.  And, for the most part, the food banks or pantries did not have vans, trucks or drivers to go and get the produce at a moment’s notice.  

With the financial support of the Bonner Foundation to purchase their first truck, Farmers Against Hunger was founded. Through sustained partnerships with colleges and congregations, the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation has a mission to improve the lives of individuals and communities by helping meet the basic needs of nutrition and educational opportunity.



 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

City Outlines $340K Parks Improvement Project, Plans To Create One More

June 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - City officials today outlined plans to improve to four municipal parks - at a cost of nearly $340,000 - and announced plans for creation of another park on a lot where previously there stood three abandoned homes.

Mayor James Cahill’s office said the city council tonight will consider resolutions allocating $150,000 for an agreement with the private, non-profit agency ...

Thousands Expected in Hillsborough for Sourland Music Festival

June 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 14, 10:00 AM

Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood

Bag-of-Books Sale - Friends of Maplewood Library

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

What Do TSA Officers Want Travelers To Know?

June 20, 2018

RICHMOND, VA  – You come to an airport checkpoint hoping to catch your flight and arrive at your destination safely and on time. Seems simple enough, but sometimes something you weren’t expecting comes up at the checkpoint and it slows you down.

Meet Deborah Simms and Ryan Seymour, Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport (RIC).

Third-annual Juneteenth Parade and Heritage Festival in New Brunswick this Weekend

June 13, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Vulcan Pioneers of New Brunswick, comprising the city's Black Fire Fighters Association, will host the Juneteenth Parade on Saturday, June 16 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth celebrations are held across the country to mark the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865. That state was one of the last locations to learn of ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...