Tyrell Smith and friends

Juneteeth Success!

The OEA celebrated Juneteenth in Mill Hill Park by presenting a Black Farmers Market. Tapping into our farmer network from this past spring’s Agrihood Internship Program, and a few online searches, we were able to bring 7 black farmers and some amazing local vendors together on June 18. Our goal with the Black Farmers Market was to raise the visibility of farmers of color in and around the Trenton area. Additionally we wanted to convey to the public that there is a rich history of African Americans in agriculture that exist, and have existed, before and after slavery.

Farmers like Kyle Smith of Smith Poultry Farm, drove for over an hour from Williamstown NJ to be with other black farmers in Trenton. “It’s important for our community to know that we are out here and have been out here.”

Bonetta and Hasaan Adeeb, along with a cohort from Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance, came up from Maryland to join the Juneteenth festivities to share the cultural importance of seeds from the African diaspora and physical benefits for people of color to connect with the land and our agricultural past.

Local farmer Tomia MacQueen of Wildflower Farm in Pennington sold multicolored chicken eggs representing the 5 breeds of chickens she raises on her 42-acre farm. In addition to chickens, Farmer Tomia raises sheep, turkeys, ducks and geese.

Iby Ikotidem of Roots, Yards and Blooms in Flemington shared about her large garden in Hunterdon county that helps to feed people in that community as well as her work with teaching members of a leper colony in her native Nigeria to grow their own food and to sell it at the local market.

Desmond Hughes of Geogreens in Hamilton, shared the vision of hydroponic farming as an alternative option to provide fresh produce in urban areas where traditional farming may be challenging.

Community gardener Tyrell Smith of the Trenton South Ward Neighborhood Association – Lamberton Street Garden, was on hand to promote community gardens and how changing the food choices in a community can affect health outcomes and habits in our urban areas’ most vulnerable residents.

Arlee’s Raw Blends, a new Trenton favorite, was on hand to promote their 100% raw juices and other plant based products. Their focus is to promote better eating, and provide better food by using real vegetables and other organics in communities and neighborhoods where these options are rarely available.

Dana Moorhead from Farm and Wilderness shared information with youth and others about opportunities to experience and learn about nature and farming through an overnight camping experience.

Big thanks, Samara Mcauliffe, Dana Patterson and the rest of the gang from our sponsor organization Princeton Hydro, for supporting and participating in the OEA Black Farmers Market for this year’s Juneteenth Celebration.

Thank you to Farmer Rob Flory and team at Howell Living History Farm for providing grits and grain for our interns to sell at the OEA table.

And a very special thank you to Rob Marino for generously lending 5 tents from Next Level Soccer Academy and to Central – A Christ Centered Church for also lending tents to our Black Farmers Market vendors!

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