Kula Urban Farm just off Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park is hosting an open house Sat., June 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Visitors to the farm at 115 Akins Ave. can tour the year-round greenhouse and outside seasonal beds, get advice from Master Gardeners, buy produce and plants, participate in seed swaps, and learn about the new neighborhood garden “Farm Without Borders” taking shape across Springwood Avenue.
Refreshments will be served by the adjacent Kula Café, 1201 Springwood Ave.
Both the farm and café are social enterprises developed and operated by Interfaith Neighbors to be viable West Side businesses and also provide paid on-site job training, food and plant education, good meals at fair prices, and fresh produce.
The upcoming greenhouse tours offer an understanding of how vertical hydroponic growing towers work so that fresh produce is available to area restaurants and residents year round. The outside beds are cultivated in the non-winter months.
The produce includes, among others: kale, collard greens, Asian greens, mustard greens, eight kinds of lettuce, basil, sorrel, herbs, and microgreens.
“The farm is beautiful and I hope folks will join us at our open house,” says Roger Boyce, director of Interfaith’s Business Development Center in the Springwood Center.
Kula’s customers include: Langosta Lounge, Seed to Sprout, CRDNL, Graze, Watermark, Taka, Grand Tavern, Talula’s, Moonstruck, Local 130, Russell & Bette’s, Cross & Orange, and Kitch Organic.
Fulltime farm manager Lisa Bagwell, also a well-known trash artist, has incorporated her artistic talent into the farm landscape.
She said the new Farm Without Borders, nicknamed “The Turf” will evolve along with the public interest in the project. That garden is being developed on vacant land Interfaith Neighbors owns across Springwood Avenue from Kula Café.
“The initial plan is to plant up the garden and maintain for the public a space for folks to use as they like – to sit, meet with each other, harvest produce, volunteer and water,” Bagwell said. “As we work to hire on a manager from the neighborhood, the site will continue to be mulched and planted.”
The farm and café also offer the public the opportunity to host Farm to Table dinner parties for their families, friends, and business associates at the farm.
“Our open house is to engage everyone and to show them what we’re doing, what we’re capable of,” said farm manager Matt van Oosterhout. “And to get some sales!”