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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Americas Grow a Row Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Human Services

Mission: America’s Grow-a-Row’s mission is to positively impact as many lives as possible through a volunteer effort of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce. At America’s Grow-a-Row we: • Provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need • Educate people of all generations about hunger and ways to help • Introduce our youth to farming and healthy eating • Cultivate in tomorrow’s leaders the habit of giving back • Contribute to the sustainability of agriculture

Results: We have delivered over 8.3 million pounds of free fresh produce (33.2 million servings) since 2002 to those suffering from hunger in NJ. In 2017 we donated over 1.5 million pounds of farm fresh produce to our neighbors in need, expanding our reach to New York City through our collaboration with City Harvest and into the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia through our partnership with Philabundance. Over 1,030 youth from the communities we serve enjoyed Grow-a-Row Kids Farm Days and over 9,100 volunteers participated in our program.

Target demographics: feed those in need free fresh produce

Direct beneficiaries per year: 175,000 people facing hunger

Geographic areas served: New Jersey, New York City, the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia

Programs: Provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need; Educate people of all generations about hunger and ways to help; Introduce our youth to farming and healthy eating; Cultivate tomorrow’s leaders to give back; Contribute to the sustainability of agriculture

Community Stories

81 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

The Finnertys have been involved with Grow a Row for the past 5 years because we are so impressed with their dedication to feeding the hungry while minimizing their administrative costa. Grow a Row is the most responsible non profit organization that we have ever worked with and we will continue to support them always. They are vital to our New Jersey community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Grow-a-Row for several years and it is always a rewarding experience. Whether I am harvesting crops, cleaning up the fields, or participating at a free farm market, the work translates into healthy food for my community members in need. All of the produce that is grown on their 200+ acre farms is donated to soup kitchens or directly to members of the community who would otherwise not have access to healthy food, or even any food at all. I enjoy making a difference in my own community and AGAR gives me a opportunity to do just that!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of volunteering with America's Grow-a-Row for the past several years. I have always found my experiences with Grow-a-Row to be rewarding. It's a great opportunity to give back to my community through planting, harvesting, gleaning, educational programs, and distributing food to those in need through the free farm markets, and I have been fortunate enough to participate in all of these aspects of the organization. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and dedicated to the cause. I always feel appreciated and welcome. They rely on their volunteers to meet their goals and communicate this effectively to the volunteers. They wrap up each harvest session by letting us know how much of an impact our short time in the fields has had on our community and all of the ways others will benefit from the work Grow-a-row does. I am looking forward to being involved with this organization for years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you for all your efforts and for helping the people in need. My son and I are very happy to be a part of this great cause. And we have fun harvesting crops with your enthusiastic and compassionate team and people volunteering. Americas Grow a Row is a wonderful non-profit organization! We wish you continued success in helping people and we will continue to support the mission.

- Chen's family

Kelly Anderson W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family has volunteered with AGAR numerous times over the years. Each experience has been well organized and rewarding! Most recently, my teenage son volunteered as a counselor over the summer. He loved working with kids of all ages gleaning produce, making a healthy snack, and sending them home with fruits and veggies for their families to enjoy. It was such a positive experience that he didn't even complain about the HOT temperatures and he can't wait to do it again next summer. AGAR is a wonderful organization that impacts communities near and far in so many ways!

Cheryl F.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel giving AGAR 5 stars is the least I can do to support the very important work they do in our inner city communities. I have been affiliated with them for 2 years. It's rare to experience so much heart in their commitment to get fresh produce to our communities that need it the most. The corporate staff work tirelessly with volunteers to make this happen, and they achieve this with a compassionate kind approach. I will continue to support their mission, because it is my personal mission aw well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you for your effort and for helping so many families. Happy to be a part of this great cause. Keep it up!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Spent the day harvesting corn with fellow co-workers during our MVP day at Mars Chocolate. For many associates it was their first time to America's Grow a Row and they really appreciated the opportunity to volunteer at a non profit with a mission is to serve families within NJ facing food insecurity. Learning the history and background behind AGAR is a great way to start the day and it gives you a purpose behind working in the field. I love working directly with the crops, you can really appreciate the hard work our farmers do everyday to provide food for our families. A great team building opportunity for co-workers scout troops and families.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped a young boy harvest, husk and eat an ear of corn in the field He will never have to ask why they call it sweet corn after that experience. Grow-a-Row operates a 200+ acre produce farm where 100% of the harvest is shared with those in need at no cost. Chip Paillex and his dedicated team work with a vast array of volunteers who harvest and deliver food across the area to free farmers markets, food pantries or community kitchens. During the winter they shift their focus to classroom education and gleaning produce from grocery stores. In retirement I focus on not-for-profit organizations (mostly community gardens and urban farms) who help address childhood obesity in NJ food deserts. Grow-a-Row is one of the best models I’ve seen in NJ. Please support them in any way you can.

Stephanie Seshagiri N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The food drop-off in East Orange allowed us to experience the excitement of the people, especially the children, who were so excited to get the beautiful vegetables and fruit from the fields. In addition, we have previously enjoyed harvesting produce, and showing my children what working on a farm would be like.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My two friends and I took our girls and a friend (all age 10) to pick peppers on 9/11/18. Chip told the whole group (about 30 people) about AGAR, its purpose, and a few stories about the people who receive the produce and how much they appreciate and need the food. It was so great for the girls to do something so meaningful, and actually see that they made a difference in people's lives. The conversations with the girls on the drive home were priceless--about how surprised they were about how many people don't have access to the foods they do, and how good it feels to volunteer. Wonderful program! We'll be back! http://amadisonmom.net/blog/americas-grow-a-row

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to volunteer in a variety of capacities at America’s Grow-a-Row - planting, harvesting and delivering produce to a Free Farm Market. I am so impressed with their operation, the people that work there and how much they are able to achieve. For a relatively small, local/regional charity I believe they had over 9,000 volunteers last year. That says something that so many people are willing to donate their time to help. I hope they continue to succeed and grow.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

America's Grow-a-Row is a wonderful organization. From what started as a fairly simple initiative, it has grown into a meaningful organization that is helping thousands of people in NJ that are food insecure or live in food deserts. I originally became aware of AGAR through my son's school when he did some volunteer work for them and then we got the whole family involved. It is one of the few charities where kids can get directly involved in helping out in addition to learning about the need for improving nutrition and access to fresh fruits and vegetables for those in need.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

America's Grow A Row is a non profit 'Star', successfully providing fresh produce to thousands in the tri-state region who rarely have access to fresh and healthy food options. Through successful fundraising efforts and strong corporate and community partnerships, AGAR is able to fulfill its mission at minimal cost. Throughout the planting, harvesting, educating about the benefits of good nutrition, and delivery to those in need , AGAR staff engages thousands of volunteers, who often come back to volunteer year after year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Grow-a-Row over the summer, in their Kids' Day program. I must say, it was an amazing experience. The staff and other volunteers were all so very wonderful, and the mission of the program is so inspiring. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I recommend that everyone at least donate to, if not volunteer for, this wonderful non-profit

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about Grow-A-Row! The idea of a charity farm is something revolutionary. The staff members are the most caring, down-to-earth people around. Grow-A-Row creates an opportunity for volunteers who are young and old, local and widespread to come together over a common goal... the need to provide fresh produce to those whom it is not accessible to! 1.2 million pounds of produce is astonishing! I am lucky enough to live local and volunteer during every community day from the early months of spring plantings season to the gleaning season of fall and will continue to support Grow-A-Row in every facet I can!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In our lifetime we don't always come across people who make significant impacts on our lives. However, at Americas Grow a Row, impacting lives is protocol. Chip Paillex, president and founder, has created an environment rarely encountered. As a volunteer, I have witnessed small miracles, moments of grace, and true acts of altruism.

"You have not lived a perfect day unless you have done something for someone who cannot repay you." Ruth Smeltzer

Live a perfect day with the team from Americas Grow a Row.

Jessica Silvestri

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Americas Grow a Row is an awesome place filled with awesome people. The work is always fun and you can be sure the food is going to people in need. Everyone always has a great time and many come back with friends/family.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We look forward to our visit from America's Grow a Row every year. They have incredibly talented and passionate staff that bring fun and enlightening lessons into the classroom for our students.

This year I had an opportunity to attend their Farm to Fork Gala. Wow! What a night! Not only was the venue beautifully decorated, but the variety of wines and farm fresh appetizers were fantastic. We're looking forward to being able to support this amazing organization again next year!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From volunteering as a child to being lucky enough to intern as a sophomore in college, America's Grow-a-Row (AGAR) has played an important role in my life as well as the life of thousands of others. As a volunteer and as an intern I was always told I would be doing work in the field, but it never felt like that. To me and to many that I have spoken to the "work" you do at AGAR is more like an opportunity. It is an opportunity to learn something new, it is an opportunity get outdoors, it is an opportunity to meet new people but most of all, it is an opportunity to help others. It is this opportunity to help others that makes America's Grow-a-Row stand out from the rest. During my internship experience I saw multiple corporate groups work until the very last second to finish the last sweet potato row or harvest a final row of zucchini just to get a few hundred more pounds of produce to our friends in other communities.

Behind all of this is a team that is truly dedicated to America's Grow-a-Row mission to positively impact as many lives as possible through a volunteer effort of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce. From educating children in the classroom about the benefits of healthy eating to setting up emergency gleaning efforts, AGAR's staff truly does care about helping as many people in as many communities as possible.

I love this organization and encourage as many people as possible to get involved and join in the mission and success of America's Grow-a-Row!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having volunteered with AGAR for a season, how vested they are stands out. The staff believes in their cause. They are also forward-thinking and flexible, unafraid to look at what did or did not work the season before. This I feel lends to their success.

America’s Grow-a-Row practices a full circle approach to the hunger crisis. They provide healthy recipes and teach food preparation. AGAR also educates all ages about agriculture and nutrition. They grow produce and rescue it. Truly a hand-UP, not a hand-out.

As if that weren’t enough, AGAR does not receive any State or Government funding! If you haven’t volunteered, you’re missing out on a whole lot of outdoor fun! Get out of your cubicle and into the farm. Go ‘Grow Something Good’!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned of America’s-Grow-A-Row (AGAR) through a nutrition class at Montclair State University. I made it out to the farm at my earliest opportunity with my three young children, who jumped right in to help pick 9,000 lbs. of corn one sweltering August afternoon two summers ago. This summer my teenage son and I volunteered during a week-long Kids Day Camp, which hosted young children (from food desserts) to the life on a real working farm through tours of zucchini and corn fields, and harvesting nectarines, donut peaches, and bags of green beans. They made delicious peach, zucchini, and cucumber salads that they ate up before visiting a “trick-or-treat” style farmer’s market to fill their bags to the brim with freshly harvests consisting of corn, zucchinis, peppers, and cucumbers.

What a great sight it was to witness young children pick and take their first bite of tree ripened peach, transformed by the taste and the whole experience. Equally satisfying was witnessing my teenage son completely engaged as a counselor then shifting to help harvest in the field. Sweaty, dirty and tired, yet he found his day at the farm satisfyingly fulfilling.

AGAR is a beacon of hope in countless lives. We are so fortunate to have you in our community. And, thank you, AGAR, for the opportunity to be a part of your amazing mission!