This summer, join us as we gear up for a second season of our “Plant a Row” program designed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to our Community Food Pantry and Kosher Food Pantry clients. Green thumb or not, there are many ways to get involved!

Volunteers plant and harvest vegetables throughout the spring and summer. Monocacy Farm offers a volunteer program to tend vegetables for JFS; volunteers are also encouraged to plant a row for JFS in their own gardens.

Delivery is the next step in the process. There are many opportunities to transport produce from community farms or the JCC to the food pantry.

With your help, 130 families a month will receive fresh produce from our food pantry. Donations – store bought or home grown – may be dropped off at JFS during regular business hours or at the JCC front desk.

Do you have a little extra growing in your garden or from your trip to the grocery store or farmers market? We are proud to accept donations of fresh produce including:

Green Beans 
Fresh Herbs
...and more!


Items may be dropped off at our office during regular business hours or at the JCC Welcome Desk.


Learn more about our Community Food Pantry

Want to get your hands dirty?


Monocacy Farm is in need of volunteers. Read more here or contact Bob Drake at 610-867-8494 or


Congregation Brith Sholom is seeking volunteers to help tend its beds at Monocacy Farm and sponsors to help families in need. Call 610-866-8009 or visit to learn more.

From the Farm


Join volunteer Jennifer Lader to learn more about farming and gardening in her podcast series brought to you from Monocacy Farm in Bethlehem.


Episode 2: Meet the Farmer - Bob Drake



The congregation Bob mentions is Brith Sholom in Bethlehem.

Jennifer: Okay, so we’re here with Bob Drake, who’s the project manager for the farm. Bob, what’s going on on the farm today?

Bob: Well, I had volunteers from your congregation helping to till and then seed an entire new bed. In this case, we were planting turnips, which grow well in this soil, and in about 90 days, we’ll have full-fledged turnips to donate to the 10 organizations that we support.

Jennifer: Okay, now I know that a lot of the weeds here are the thistles, and they grow in rugged terrain. Does that have anything to do with why turnips can grow well here too?

Bob: Not that I know of. The thistle, as most weeds, can grow anywhere, unfortunately, so we’re fortunate to have different congregations and organizations like your own that have adopted the various beds. So, I have about 10 beds adopted, and they tend to the weeds, as opposed to our using plastic covering to subdue the weeds. I don’t think anything’s wrong with it, but I tend to shy away from using plastic if I can avoid it.

Jennifer: There’s some benefits to good old hard work and a little bit of sweat, right?

Bob: Yes.

Jennifer: It’s a beautiful day here on the farm, actually.

Bob: It is, and we’re very fortunate because we wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of what we do without the help of volunteers, so we’re really appreciative to your congregation.

Jennifer: Could you use any more volunteers?

Bob: Certainly. The more I have, the more I can plant. The more help that we have in terms of volunteers adopting beds, the more I can plant, and in turn the more we can donate. We donate – we make weekly donations to the 10 organizations that are listed in our profile.

Jennifer: Do you still have several beds that are left to adopt?

Bob: Yes, we do.

Jennifer: Okay, and what have you got growing in some of them?

Bob: So far we have kale, we have two varieties of kale, we have three varieties of cabbage, we have broccoli, brussels sprouts, maybe six varieties of tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, bush beans, which are a type of string beans, onions, carrots and beets.

Jennifer: Okay, well, that sounds pretty mouthwatering. Thanks for visiting with us and we’ll check in in a future week.

Bob: Thank you very much.

Episode 1: Broccoli



Did you ever wonder where broccoli comes from? I’m here today at Monocacy Farm taking a look at some of the plants that are coming up through the soil here this spring aimed for families who would otherwise not have access to fresh produce, and especially organic fresh produce. This is a little broccoli plant, it’s one in a long couple of rows of broccoli plants, and we’re going to watch it through the season and see what happens. Right now, we just see leaves, but I have a feeling before long we’re going to see what looks like broccoli coming off the top there. If you’d like to take a closer look, we’d welcome some extra hands here, helping at the farm. There is a volunteer program and Bob Drake out of Rodale is in charge of that, and he can really find a job for any level of ability in terms of farm work, whether you’re able to pull weeds, water, wash vegetables once it’s time to harvest that broccoli, you would be most welcome. Jewish Family Service has an adopt a row program. If your organization would like to help out by doing that, or if you would like to otherwise support JFS, just visit the website at