23 January 2024

Successful Tabling Event

As an Urban Community Engagement Fellow, I recently had my first tabling event. Its goal was to promote a new organization dedicated to the creation and maintenance of green spaces in Atlantic City, which is known as the Green Coalition of Atlantic City. The organization was formed this past December by one of my supervisors; the Refuge Manager of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, and several community organizations and leaders of Atlantic City. I had the awesome opportunity to be a part of it. The community leaders that I am particularly familiar with as of today are the spearheads of the following organizations, which are partners of the Green Coalition: C.R.O.P.S., the Atlantic City Shade Tree Committee, and Reed’s Farm.  

C.R.O.P.S. stands for Communities Revolutionizing Open Public Spaces, and it supports small local businesses and is dedicated to urban agriculture. One of its main goals is to educate on and develop local community gardens with food that all residents of Atlantic City can collectively care for and harvest for free. The Atlantic City Shade Tree Committee is dedicated to planting trees in the city that are native to the area (trees that can ultimately withstand the salinity and overall harsh conditions of a beach environment, since Atlantic City is a beachy area and is on the coast). Reed’s Farm, otherwise known as A Meaningful Purpose, is a regenerative agriculture farm that is focused on growing and making healthy organic foods, and also on educating the community about agriculture. Though Reed’s Farm is not in Atlantic City itself, but rather twenty minutes away in Egg Harbor Township, they want to make their mark in Atlantic City with education and by also providing resources to the residents there. 

The Green Coalition of Atlantic City was developed from the combination of two separate organizations that happened to have the same goal; Atlantic City Open Space, and the Gardeners’ Coalition of Atlantic City (otherwise known as Atlantic City Gardeners Coalition). Atlantic City Open Space was the original (but unofficial) organization that the Refuge Manager at Edwin B. Forsythe National Refuge had made with the same intentions, and had been active for about one to two years. The Gardeners’ Coalition of Atlantic City was a new organization formed by a passionate community member and previous worker of the city (as well as Reed’s Farm), and had only existed for a couple weeks. A lot of the people that were in both organizations recognized that they were constantly seeing each other since most attended both meetings, so it was quickly decided that they should combine into one. The executive director of C.R.O.P.S., the Refuge Manager of the refuge I work in, and the passionate community member became the “heads” of the newly-formed Green Coalition of Atlantic City, and I as the support under the refuge manager’s lead, made sure to do anything in my power to help. Our first meeting, as a coalition, will occur in less than a week from today. 

With the opportunity to have our first tabling event before the first meeting, which was hosted by Reed’s Farm during their Holiday Market; an event where many community members gather, we were also able to spread the word about our mission and gain interest from the community to attend our meetings, so it won’t just be the organizations attending. I look forward to what the Green Coalition of Atlantic City can accomplish in the future. I also look forward to paving the path for future Fellows at Forsythe with the same task I have at the moment by being a part of it, and typing out guides for them.

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