Camden, NJ has 77,344 residents according to the 2010 Census. The per capita income for the city is 1,967 and 35.4% of the population live below the poverty line. Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Camden has been ranked the nation’s most dangerous city in 2004, 2005 and 2009, based on crime statistics in the six categories of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft. In recent years, the lack of grocery stores and supermarkets has contributed greatly to the food and health crisis among residents of Camden, NJ, not to mention its struggling economy and poor standard of living.
10/16/18 – Will continue work on the smart irrigation system.
|First Assessment||The Camden Project Team formed in September 2011 to assess how we could best implement a water acquisition system for these community farm lots. On January 11, 2012, we traveled to Camden and met with the Camden Children’s Garden leadership, Stefan Erwin, and two Water Resource Program Associates who work in Newark and Camden. After the project site assessment with Rutgers Water Resources Program staff, we determined that only one of the lots had a suitable collection and placement area for a rainwater system. We hope to install a non-freezing locking post hydrant on the farm lot without the rain-water collection system to meet the remaining water demand.|
|Follow Up||On Saturday, April 14th, 2012, the EWB Camden Project Team made a pre-implementation trip to the two farm lots on Danahower Street. These two lots collectively produced several thousand pounds of vegetables. Much of this food is donated to the community members in need. The farmers make 100 weekly five-gallon bucket trips to a fire-department refill station (about 1200ft. total distance) in order to sustain their produce. On this April 14th pre-implementation trip, we also assessed two other lots recommended by the Camden Children’s Garden to receive assistance.|
|Implementation||On May 12, 2012, the EWB Camden Project Team made the implementation trip and successfully completed installation of the rain barrel system at the Camden Agricultural Community Gardens.|
|Moving Forward||After implementing the first rainwater collections system on 122 Danahower street, the next step is to expand to several different community farm lots. We are currently working with Camden Children’s Garden, Camden Agricultural Coalition, and HULT MSE to provide community outreach and education on the importance of these rainwater systems along with operation and maintenance. A comprehensive operations manual along with a video tutorial on setting up the rain barrels are currently under development.|
|February 2014||Currently at Engineers without Borders Camden project, we have started working on a rain-barrel system for a new vegetable garden in the community. We are trying to update the design for the system to suit the needs of this lot and solve a few problems we encountered. In addition, we’ve been thinking of new pipe designs to rectify the leaking problem from the previous garden. We are working through the daunting amount of paperwork right now, but this puts us one step closer to being reviewed and approved.|
Praveen Sakthivel & Andrew DelRocini
Water Resources Program staff of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension