Mill Creek Urban Farm/Gleaning Program
Gateway Community Action Partnership’s Mill Creek Urban Farm, a three-acre community farm on the site of a former housing project on Mill Street in Bridgeton, was created in 2009 to generate a sustainable source of food for area residents and promote community building.
Gateway is utilizing the EarthBox container gardening system, four greenhouses that include hydroponics, and plantings in raised beds to generate a sustainable food source. Gateway staff is nurturing and harvesting plants that include tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, squash, green beans, melons and salad greens and distributing the produce throughout the community.
Gateway has created a network of volunteers from the community to help in this project. Groups of developmentally disabled individuals participate regularly in farm activities as well as others interested in learning more about agriculture or wanting to give back to the community. The urban farm has also partnered with area schools to provide support for various gardening projects.
A large-scale hydroponics greenhouse was added in 2012. This commercial lettuce-growing project was part of a program known as Arthur & Friends, which provides work and training opportunities for adults with disabilities. The project was partially funded by a grant from the Kessler Foundation and operated in conjunction with NORWESCAP, a Community Action Agency in northwestern New. Jersey.
In the spring of 2018 another larger greenhouse was added, funded by a major initiatives grant from the TD Charitable Foundation. Hydroponic tomatoes and cucumbers are grown in this greenhouse, providing additional work opportunities for disabled individuals, more produce to donate to the community, and moving the farm closer to self-sufficiency through sales of the crops.
The produce is provided free to local soup kitchens in the Cumberland-Gloucester-Salem region.
The agency measures the program’s productivity in the pounds of food recovered and distributed.
Gateway's Director of Agriculture & Food Initiatives