History, Demographics and Master Plan
The goals of the Native American Advancement Family Farm is to create opportunities for all local citizens, through training and employment opportunities as well as to generate revenue from programs that benefit citizens that lead to individual social and economic self-sufficiency.
Outcomes of this Native America Advancement Family Farm will be to produce the highest quality fresh fish and vegetables at competitive prices to local and surrounding communities. Provide a new purchase experience for buyers. Build a profitable business within 18 months from launch of product.
The Native American Advancement Family Farm is an educational and a service oriented agency, based in Bridgeton NJ, Cumberland County, whose major purpose is to create opportunities for advancement for all Native American citizens, from Canada to South America, through training and employment opportunities as well as to generate revenue for programs that benefit citizens; through carrying out home rehabilitation programs, construction, maintenance and repair programs, and related trade oriented projects for all citizens in the Southern New Jersey service area.
Bridgeton is a city in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States, in the south part of the state, on the Cohansey River, near Delaware Bay. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 25,349, reflecting an increase of 2,578 (+11.3%) from the 22,771 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,829 (+20.2%) from the 18,942 counted in the 1990 Census.[i] Similar to other areas near rivers and the bay, this area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European contact, Lenni-Lenape Native Americans lived in the area, following a seasonal pattern of cultivation and hunting and fishing. The state-recognized Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey maintain a cultural center here, serving a community of 12,000 in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.[ii]
The city suffered an economic downturn in the 1980s with the loss of its remaining manufacturing sector jobs in glass and textiles. Agricultural employment, however, has continued to attract immigrant workers largely from Mexico, creating new challenges and opportunities for revitalization. Immigrants work primarily in nurseries and in agricultural processing occupations near the city, which are among some of the most productive in New Jersey. The downtown has been made more lively by new businesses, as well as other businesses, such as a coffee shop/arts venue, a vintage clothing boutique, an arts gallery, and others. With the collaboration of the Bridgeton Main Street Association (the oldest Main Street Association in the state, founded 1990) the City recently declared its downtown a Culinary Arts district and is highlighting downtown economic redevelopment through the food and cooking-related retail sector. [iii] The Nanticoke Lenape families have resided on traditional homelands, primarily in Cumberland and Salem Counties of New Jersey, as a distinct Tribe for over 400 documented years. The NLLI tribe was selected by the state of New Jersey as a State Designated American Indian Statistical Area (SDAISA) for the 2000 and (SDATA) for the 2010) census. The boundaries of the current tribal territory were documented at that time. (Please see attached SDAISA map). About 80% of the current tribal population resides in Cumberland and Salem Counties of New Jersey, with a majority of this number residing within the defined SDATA area for the Tribe. Bridgeton, located in Cumberland County and a Federal Empowerment Zone, is a small downtown business district where Native American Advancement Corporation resides on Pearl Street and the tribe’s service offices and tribal government headquarters are located at 18 East Commerce Street.
For generations native families were farmers, fishermen, and carpenters. The high cost of living and enforced regulations has forced these families into poverty, the education system is falling short culturally and the elders are unable to live off the land after years of existence; even with the knowhow.
According to the 2010 United States Census Data and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Bridgeton ranks 700 out 702 of the poorest cities in New Jersey, with per capita of $10,917 only outranked by Fort Dix and Camden, and Cumberland ranks 21 of 21 of the poorest counties with per capita income of $21,883.[iv]
As a direct result of our current economy, this generation of less then fifty-five years of age is finding it difficult to survive. However, those over that age have skills and techniques that afford them the ability to survive on less by taking advantage of natural resources. They have the ability to stretch and preserve items of the local community by canning, freezing and dehydrating. With the passing of each elder our community loses valuable information that is un-retrievable. It is fact that most elders, although going through a depression in the twenties, were not affected by the sad state of the country because of their ability to preserve food.
Objective One will be to create a family farm including an aquaponic greenhouse to produce fresh foods and fish for feeding the local community and preserving food as well to eliminate the disparity of hunger.
Objective Two will be the intergeneration of a product by preserving foods with canning, freezing and dehydration that will be produced by the aquaponic greenhouse.
The mission of the Native American Advancement Corp. (NAAC) Community Involvement Program is to advocate and strengthen early and meaningful community participation during NAAC program development of aquaponics.
NAAC uses Community involvement to identify its process for engaging in dialogue and collaboration with communities serviced by NAAC. Its purpose is to give people the opportunity to become involved in the Agency‘s activities and to help shape the decisions that are made.
NAAC community involvement is not a public relations effort to sell the Agency or its plans to the community, nor is it just the communication of information. Community involvement is the vehicle NAAC uses to get community concerns and interests analyzed as follows:
A) Ensure the public has appropriate opportunities for involvement in a wide variety of potential site decisions, including site analysis and characterization, alternatives analysis
B) Determine, based on community interviews, appropriate activities to ensure such public involvement. We will keep the public well informed of ongoing and planned activities.
C) Explain to citizens how NAAC considered their comments, what NAAC plans to do, and why NAAC reached its decision.
Hopefully, this family farm and aquaponics project will be the beginning of an entire community renewal. The long-term benefits of this project can include the creation of more jobs, improvement in community relations, community empowerment, heightened economic status, environmental restoration and enhancement of the quality of life in our neighborhood.
Community involvement will be a very important aspect of NAAC’s aquaponics. We will generate not only ideas for aquaponics and implementation, but also ideas to further improve existing project features. We will find out what the community needs, what will benefit the community, what has been tried in the past, and what could be done to improve past ideas. Community members will be given an opportunity to be informed and involved in the aquaponics process, and will be a critical factor to a project’s success.
Community Involvement activities include:
- Performing a community assessment
- Reaching consensus from diverse backgrounds and their needs
- Accommodating interests and within the goals of this project
- Conducting community involvement or participation among the local residents, who have competing priorities/language barriers
- Building trust among various partners
- Effectively conveying to local residents others involvement and support of the aquaponics process
- Educating residents about the goals of the project/process
- Communicating technical information in an easy to understand manner
- Identifying partners that can represent a diverse population, and represent these constituencies at public meetings and planning sessions.
Some association’s will be the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe, PathStone in Vineland; which builds family and individual self-sufficiency by strengthening farmworker, rural and urban communities, Sweet Water Organics; Urban Fish and Vegetable Farm, Milwaukee, WI, Rutgers Food Innovation Center, Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences-The Cousteau Center at Bridgeton, Cumberland Regional HS - Ag program, Rural Development, USDA, Local churches, and Hispanic civic organizations.
NAAC’s family farm goal is to raise an undetermined amount of fish based on the research and availability of the facility and produce several hundred pounds of organic produce all within a greenhouse. The fish and produce are expected to be sold at local farmers markets and through area fish markets. Surplus output will be donated to local emergency food providers.
NAAC is in the infancy stage of this plan and will demonstrate the potential of recirculating aquaculture for water-efficient and ecologically sound fish production. The project fits into NAAC’s larger goals of social and economic self-sufficiency through our dominant methods of food production and could become a model for local entrepreneurs and backyard hobbyists.
Aquaponics combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soil-less plant production), a process in which the fish waste becomes fertilizer for the growing plants. The system produces two income streams: from fish and from vegetables and greens.
NAAC plans to renovate an unused warehouse, located in Cumberland or Salem County. This program will be recorded and serve as an example for future generations and other community organizations.
Objectives will be by the end of 12 months we will have the aquaponic greenhouses, to produce fresh foods and fish, for preserving as well as aid to eliminate the disparity of hunger. Also, by the end of 12 months we will have conducted the intergeneration activities which include preserving the art of canning, freezing and dehydration of foods that will be produced by the hydroponic greenhouse.
[i] Bridgeton, New Jersey,Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[ii] Bridgeton, New Jersey,Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia HISTORY
[iii] Bridgeton, New Jersey,Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia HISTORY
[iv] New Jersey locations by per capita income, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia