Believing there are too many hungry people in Asbury Park, Trinity Church and the Environment and Shade Tree Commission are organizing a citywide effort to get more fresh produce to the people who need it.
The program is called the Anti-Hunger Coalition and according to Tom Pivinski, head of the ESTC, the plan is to expand the Community Garden, located behind city hall, to other parts of the city where empty lots are available to start small neighborhood “farms” to grow things.
Noting that hunger is a companion of the poor, Pivinski announced the proposed Anti-Hunger Coalition at last week’s City Council meeting and said the group’s first meeting will take place on Wednesday, August 19 at 2 p.m. at the Mercy Center, 1106 Main St. He asked the mayor and City Council to get involved by helping locate vacant land that could be used for the farming project.
Pivinski said the citywide group will be made up of residents, volunteers from local churches, businesses and other organizations interested in feeding the hungry. The Environment and Shade Tree Commission has operated the Community Garden at City Hall and has been providing produce to local residents at the Senior Center and at the Garden on Saturdays. He said a fence was recently put up around the garden because people were going in and helping themselves.
The Anti-Hunger Coalition was established by Trinity Church which has hired Derek Minno-Bloom as the Anti-Hunger Program Director. Minno-Bloom, a native of the Philadelphia area, moved to Asbury Park July 1 with his partner, Liza and their 12-week old daughter River. They relocated from Flagstaff, Arizona where Minno-Bloom had been assisting members of the Navajo Indian nation displaced by a coal mining company.
Minno Bloom said he considers Asbury Park to be a “food desert” because of the lack of freshly grown food available for many city residents. The program will include training people to work on the farms and to learn how to grow their own food.