The MEVO Fresh Roots Farm (Farm) is a two-acre community built educational farm. Farm located in Campgaw Mountain Reservation in Mahwah, NJ, on County of Bergen parkland, and is a project in partnership with the County of Bergen Department of Parks. The Farm was jointly developed by The County, County Executive, and MEVO to be a hands on experiential sustainability center. The unique nature of our farm derives both from it’s shared possession by the government and not-for-profit sectors and by its community-driven volunteer efforts. The volunteer efforts for our farm have resulted in a productive agricultural operation where nutritionally dense fruits and veggies are cultivated on one acre of raised bed space. In addition to our produce fields, the farm holds a robust bee apiary, a food forest, a compost operation, and a greenhouse. The success of the Farm, within it’s unique governmental partnership, makes it a tangible model for replication throughout the state and country.
Through the Farm, MEVO works to create solutions for major local and global environmental issues associated with food products such as excessive water use, topsoil degradation and loss, and high herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer application. On a global scale, Fresh Roots Farm addresses issues of environmental destruction and biodiversity loss resulting from the current industrialized monoculture system of agriculture (one crop for many acres). The vast majority of food produced in the United States, like corn, wheat, and soy, grow in monocultures. At Farm we employ polyculture which means we are growing upwards of twenty plus crops at any given time in our farm fields.
On the local level, one issue we are addressing is the lack of community access to fruits and vegetables grown in a way that promotes the health of both the consumer and their environment. In 2017 we began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program which provides a source of sustainably grown produce for community members and their families. The CSA serves a two-fold purpose: it encourages community connection and involvement at our farm while simultaneously inviting individuals into it to educate them about environmentally-friendly small-scale agriculture. Ultimately, through our global and local efforts, we hope to show the public that local, organically inspired agriculture can be a viable solution to the world-wide farming crisis.
The Farm’s untraditional design finds inspiration in permaculture principles in order to work alongside natural systems, minimize waste, and encourage sustainable development. Permaculture (permanent agriculture), in the capacity we employ, seeks to create permanent natural systems for everyday farm needs that fulfill more than one desired task. Some of these design features include our varied raised beds, swales, food forest, and composting operation. Descriptions of these permaculture practices can be found further down on this page.
As a community project, the Farm strives to serve people of all ages and economic backgrounds. We offer affordable environmental education programs which teach students about sustainability and local food and provide opportunities for on-site corporate, school, and service group work visits. We hold open to the public volunteer days at the farm every Tuesday and Sunday (10:00 am – 4:00 pm); come on out and experience the power of helping to tend to our community farm!