Reestablishing the Maker Economy
The New Ark Farms mission is to help rekindle the once powerful Newark economy by actualizing the potential of a lost generation of workers. Equipped with skills in leadership, eco-literacy, and self-determination, these men and women will have the capacity to lead the charge to reestablish Newark as the nation’s center of locavore manufacturing.
Story of Place
Our approach to urban renewal begins with a story of place. Newark was America’s first industrial city and has always been solidly working class. The city’s explosive growth in the 18th and 19th centuries came from its role as the epicenter of the country’s manufacturing sector. Throughout its history, Newark was home to a wide range of industries. And its first, along with quarrying, was the making of hard apple cider for export to New York City and beyond.
The finest Newark Cider was made from Harrison and Canfield apples—varieties that sprang from the 18th century orchards of two of the founding families of Newark. This historic and cultural connection between the city and cider makes the revival of Newark Cider, and the return of its prized cider apples, the logical foundation upon which to build meaningful jobs around the production of place-appropriate goods.
At its core, Newark is about making and transporting things—giving true meaning to the phrase “made in America.” From its earliest days, Newark was engaged in the “new work” of the nation—attracting generation after generation of immigrants seeking work, and the better life it would inevitably bring. Although the country has shifted away from a manufacturing economy, Newark’s basic productive capacity remains—undervalued but intact. Though repressed by disinvestment and social hardships, this workforce still has the power to act as a true catalyst to reclaim Newark’s position in the nation’s economy. Ever since its lowest ebb in the late 1960’s, the city has been slowly and continually rebuilding. It seems inevitable that Newark will rise again – its situation is simply too rich, too favorable for it not to do so.
Newark has a lot of good, hard-working people who are having trouble just getting by. If unemployed or working part-time for minimum wage, it’s just about impossible to muster the resources needed to turn one’s life — or community– around. That’s why creating well-paying jobs for Newark’s most vulnerable residents is crucial to the city’s long-term health. Rather than bringing in businesses that extract wealth out of the city, we are building Newark-based businesses that provide good jobs for residents and that invest resources back into the community. Our intention is to create a thriving, engaged workforce that is instilled with the desire and ability to create more opportunities within Newark for entrepreneurship and success. This regenerative approach, we think, will deepen the city’s capacity for self-renewal and growth. And it will enrich the city’s cultural and social life–thus creating more opportunities for success.