Rancocas Creek Farm
Learn about PPA’s farm and how we are addressing stormwater problems.
By Becky FreeMay 7, 2020
Rancocas Creek Farm is the new sustainable farm that Pinelands Preservation Alliance has launched on the 72-acres of land donated to PPA in 2019 by Cindy Yingling, Louis Eni, and Chris Eni. The land, which immediately adjoins PPA’s property, had been conventionally farmed for decades in soy.
The goals for the Rancocas Creek Farm are to solve severe stormwater runoff into Vincentown Village and Rancocas Creek; heal damaged soils that do not infiltrate and treat stormwater as they should; create habitat for pollinators and grassland birds; and launch an economically productive chemical-free farm.
In March, we received a Roots for Rivers grant allowing us to address some of the stormwater issues on the property. This program, funded by The Watershed Institute and The Nature Conservancy, helps restore floodplains through reforestation in the state of New Jersey. They provide technical assistance to design restoration projects and funding to cover the cost of plants and materials. Planting the native trees and shrubs in floodplains reduces stormwater runoff, improves water quality and provides pollinator habitat.
In addition to growing organic vegetables, we are fixing a severe stormwater runoff problem impacting Rancocas Creek and creating habitat for pollinators and grassland birds.
Thanks to this grant PPA staff, board members and a few volunteers honored the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by planting over 1,100 native trees and shrubs. This was done in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
The trees and shrubs we planted will provide much needed stormwater management, a reduction in soil erosion, carbon sequestration, bird and pollinator habitat and windbreak for the farm. The trees, provided by Pinelands Nursery, are all native species suitable for wetter soils. This planting is part of our long-term goal to build soil health and increase biodiversity on the farm.
There are flooding problems on portions of the property as you can see in this picture. See how much standing water is here after a storm in the next slide.
Twenty-five native species were planted including red maple, sweetgum, sour gum, birch, oak, meadowsweet, viburnum, blueberry, and more. Staff, trustees, and volunteers planted the trees and shrubs, put protective tubing around each plant to stop deer predation and mulched the planting.
You can see this project from the roads around our offices because of the protective plastic tubing. The tubing needs to stay on for a few years so that we do not lose all this hard work and financial investment to deer and other creatures.