This is a rendering of the expansion proposed by Interfaith Neighbors to the Kula Urban Farm on Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park.
By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
The expansion of the Kula Urban Farm is part of the $18 million capital campaign proposed by Interfaith Neighbors which also is building early childhood facilities along with job training and affordable housing in a centralized district on Asbury Park’s West Side.
The project is budgeted at $500,000 well below the $3 million necessary for the nearby Early Childhood Learning Center and the Marmora Family Community and Education Center which requires $14.5 million to bring to fruition.
The Kula Urban Farm is what Interfaith describes as a social enterprise brought to life in 2014 with the purpose of helping improve the economic outlook for Asbury Park and its West Side community. Ther farm provides on-site job training, community and youth educational programs and fresh produce for sale and distribution to those who cannot afford to pay.
In the multi-pronged capital campaign titled “Meeting the Moment,’ Interfaith asserts that West Side residents need and deserve access to more healthy food choices and to education about nutrition and healthy living. Better food helps build healthy habits and a healthy, more equitable community, the group maintains.
“We want to place ourselves right in the neighborhood’ where food production and a commercial kitchen would have immediate, tangible and edible benefits, said Paul L. McEvily, executive director of Interfaith Neighbors whose various concerns include food justice.
Interfaith proposes to develop an adjacent, vacant Atkins Avenue parcel to increase growing operations and seasonal farming beds. Also on the planning board is a three-season pavilion to host community workshops and educational initiatives including youth STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs in an expanded space that can accommodate up to 75 workshop attendees. Interfaith Neighbors will renovate and expand the existing storage garage to introduce a catering kitchen to accommodate the Farm to Table Dinner Series conducted with local guest chefs and provide seating for 50 people. The project will include restroom facilities.
The project will involve relocating community programming out of the greenhouse.
To contribute to the Interfaith Neighbors Capital Campaign, contact the agency at 810 Fourth Ave. in Asbury, 732-775-0525 or Stephanief@interfaithneighbors.org. For more information, go to interfaithneighbors.org.