Rooted in Community

The Kula Urban Farm was opened on Atkins Avenue in Asbury Park in 2015. We’re a social enterprise providing on site job training, educational programs and free fresh produce to those in need. Through the Kula Farm Experience program, local residents are offered short-term temporary employment on the farm. We farm vacant lots and manage a hydroponic greenhouse. Our hydroponic produce is sold to local restaurants.

The Kula Farm Experience

The Kula Farm Experience is a temporary job designed to reinforce basic workplace skills for local members of the community who have been in between jobs for a while. We hope to take away barriers to future employment by offering a positive work environment with room for personal goal achievement. Participants can obtain a certificate and/or a reference letter upon completion of the program.

We welcome candidates to come fill out a job application at the farm.

Since there is more work available during the outdoor growing season, some enthusiastic participants will be offered a seasonal part time position.

There are also a few long term promotion options for excellent participants as managers. We hope to empower these participants with management experience and bigger responsibilities.

Farm design

Inside our greenhouse, vegetables are grown hydroponically, allowing us to create a year round high volume growing environment. Outside, produce is grown organically and intensively in raised beds with a focus on annual vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs and edible flowers. In our gardens we strive to create a biodiverse and ecologically balanced growing space with plants for pollinators, beneficial insects and birds applying concepts such as permaculture and succession planting. We recycle and compost all of our waste, including compostable waste from the cafe and other local establishments.

Commercial Growing Space

This is the source of revenue that sustains operations. A 20″ by 84″ fully automated greenhouse. The produce in the greenhouse is grown using several different hydroponic techniques to create a year round growing environment. We use organic methods to control pests such as hand removal, water, neem oil and biological control. What we grow is sold to the neighboring Kula Cafe as well as restaurants on the East side of town. We grow over 7 varieties of lettuce, kale, endive, mustards and Asian greens, chard, basil, edible flowers and tomatoes. Microgreens are seeded and cut weekly for our customers.

Please contact us if you are a local restaurateur and would like to use microgreens grown locally and delivered on day of harvest.

 

 

Our customers:

 

The Farm Without Borders

The Farm Without Borders was started in the spring of 2017 on a vacant lot on Springwood Avenue. Hiring local residents we converted what was a parking lot to a large garden the produce from which was given away to residents. In 2018 we were granted access to even more land on the block expanding the garden 3 fold. The produce on the Farm is accessible to residents 24 hours a day though a large majority of it is distributed during working hours. We estimate over 4,000 pounds of produce was grown in 2018. The farm is supervised and managed by participants of our job program who demonstrate empathy and a good work ethic. The beauty of this garden and its proximity to the street help Kula to engage with community members, as it generates interest in passersby and opens a dialogue about urban farming. This garden space is also used during educational programs like Green Thumbs and is open to community residents. This section of the farm focuses on sturdy vegetables that can be easily harvested by local residents. We grow Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Strawberries, Hot Peppers, Cowpeas, Radishes, Spinach, Calaloo, Raspberries,Herbs, Greens, Cabbage and have 10 varieties of fruit trees growing. The farm is also the site of our compost operation that includes food waste from Juice Basin, Pulp AP, High Voltage Cafe, Booskerdoo, Nitro Brewing as well as local residents and other businesses.

Bethel AME Food Pantry Garden

In 2019 we began cultivating the vacant lot next door to the greenhouse on Atkins Ave. The lot, owned by the Bethel AME Church, manages a food pantry on the site (open Wednesdays and Fridays). Working alongside the Bethel YPD (Young Persons Department) we cultivated and planted a garden on the lot, the produce from which is donated to its food pantry and directly to residents. Here we planted Collard Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, Okra, Shishito Peppers, Cantaloupe, Watermelon Radishes, Christmas Beans, 4 varieties of apple trees, strawberries, herbs and began building the soil with mulch and compost for the years to come.

Community

One of the most rewarding aspects of helping to grow the Kula Urban Farm is the sense of community. Participants have the opportunity to take this project and make it their own. From job training, to visiting a workshop or dinner, it can feel very rewarding to be a part of this amazing community.

Community compost

In 2017 we began collecting compost from local residents and businesses that were interested in reducing their waste and have no space to compost on their own. We built a series of compost bins along the back side of the old Turf Club on Atkins Ave (South of Springwood Ave) where it is easy for folks to pull their car over and dump their bag of compost into our pile. Through word of mouth and local online discussion boards, people have learned about our accessible compost pile.

Food waste makes up nearly 20% of landfills, by composting we are directly participating in the recycling process, sending less materials to the dump and creating rich organic matter that can be returned to the soil.

How we compost

We begin by layering fresh green materials (vegetable and fruit scraps) and browns (hay, straw, dried leaves) along with coffee grinds in equal parts. The piles are turned at least once every week. The more you turn the faster the materials break down. In the heat of the summer compost can be ready in less than 1 month.

In 2019 we began taking compost from Juice Basin, dramatically increasing the tonnage of food scraps we process. Other businesses that embrace this environmentally friendly practice include Good Feeling Farms, Pulp, High Voltage, Booskerdoo and NITRO Beverage Co. We highly value and appreciate the effort and conscientiousness that it takes for these businesses and for individuals to compost.

If you are an individual and would like to start bringing your compost to our site please start right away! We welcome everything that is easily compostable: clean fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds & filters, grass clippings, hay, straw and leaves.

PLEASE NO yard waste containing weeds or plants that have been treated with pesticides, also no pet waste, meat or dairy. Some single use products claim to be compostable, however they can take decennia to break down. No plastics please! If you are a local business and have any questions you can reach us at info@kulafarm.org or stop by the farm to talk.

 

 


The Interfaith Neighbors Network